Major TV networks spent just 50 minutes on climate change — combined — last year.
That’s a dramatic, 66-percent drop in coverage from 2015 across evening and Sunday news programs airing on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, according to a new study from Media Matters. ABC, for one, spent just six minutes on climate issues in 2016.
The networks can’t claim there was a shortage of important climate stories to cover. Hurricane Matthew, the Great Barrier Reef’s continued slow death, record-shattering heat, and the official beginning of the Paris climate deal all took place last year.
Interestingly, the coverage drop doesn’t seem to be an election-year phenomenon. In fact, climate coverage increased by 43 percent during the previous election cycle, between 2011 and 2012.
Other insights from the study:
- Together, the networks aired five segments of climate science denial from Trump and his team — without rebuttal.
- No network covered climate change’s impact on national security or the economy.
- And none of them aired a single segment on the effect a Trump or Clinton presidency would have on the climate — until after the election.
Great to know that TV news is taking the defining issue of our time so seriously.