Major media outlets in the U.S. are doing a piss-poor job of covering climate change. But even when they do cover it, many of their audience members don’t believe them.
On Monday, Gallup released recent survey data showing that 42 percent of Americans polled believe news outlets exaggerate the seriousness of climate change.
As you might expect, there’s a big partisan divide on the question. More than two-thirds of Republicans think the media exaggerates, while nearly half of Democrats believe the seriousness of climate change is actually underestimated by the media.
Back in 2006, only about a third of Americans polled believed news outlets exaggerated climate change. The skepticism rose over the next four years and peaked in 2010, when 48 percent of those polled said the threat was exaggerated by the media. So at least now we’re down from the high point.
Many Americans are also clueless about the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. Just 60 percent of Americans polled realize that most scientists agree global warming is occurring, while 29 percent think most scientists are unsure. In fact, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans are causing climate change.