Climate Change ‘no longer newsworthy’ says Media in 2010

(8 am. – promoted by DDadmin)

The Daily Climate has a breakdown of the past decade of America’s corporate-held media’s coverage of climate change, where they found that 2010 was the year climate coverage ‘fell off the map’. Media coverage of climate change in 2010 dropped globally by 30 percent since 2009 and “slipped to levels not seen since 2005”.

Corporate broadcast news coverage of climate change was so insignificant that Robert Brulle, a Drexel University professor, who has analyzed nightly news coverage of climate change stories, said he is doubting his data. “I can’t believe it’s this little. In the U.S., it’s just gone off the map,” he said.

“The cycle of media interest in climate change has run its course, and this story is no longer considered newsworthy,” Brulle said. Total coverage of the UN climate talks in Cancun last month by the networks was a single 10-second clip, he said.

Coverage of climate change by the five major newspapers in the United States also show a similar drop:

Researchers at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado have tracked media coverage of climate change since 2000. In contrast, newspaper coverage of climate change news in 2010 in Europe was more than twice that of North America newspaper coverage, according to their findings.

Climate Progress decries this coverage drop:

The danger posed to the nation and the world by unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases is truly the greatest story never told…

It must be noted that mere lack of quantity is only one of the many unconscionable failings by the media. If the coverage continues to be as bad as it was in 2010, increasing it won’t change anything… The major flaws in climate science coverage are:

  1. Insufficient coverage for what is the story of the year, decade, and century, which is all but certain to be the story of the millennium if the media keeps ignoring it.

  2. Insufficient visibility for the coverage that there is… and prominence given to the ‘teach the controversy’ crap….

  3. False ‘balance” in individual stories… Can be balancing real climate scientists with ones who have been widely discredited or with non-scientists… Or it can be the classic misrepresentation of what the business-as-usual case…

  4. False balance in story choice.  This is actually one of the biggest, but least discussed, problems… Reporting science that confirms the IPCC that it is warming and humans are probably the cause or that confirms things are worse than the IPCC said is not ‘news’…

  5. Failure to connect the dots… Stories on the bark beetle devastation that don’t mention global warming are rampant… Stories on 1-in-a-1000-year deluge that don’t mention climate change…

The problem is systemic to the media and American crony capitalist system. The corporate media silence and poor reporting combined with the campaign of disinformation by wealthy corporate interests is having a significant impact on how willing Americans and their politicians are in tackling the very human causes of climate change.

According to Pew Research polling in October 2010:

A 53%-majority of Republicans say there is no solid evidence the earth is warming. Among Tea Party Republicans, fully 70% say there is no evidence. Disbelief in global warming in the GOP is a recent occurrence. Just a few years ago, in 2007, a 62%-majority of Republicans said there is solid evidence of global warming, while less than a third (31%) said there is no solid evidence.

Not surprisingly, Pew Research found that there is a wide partisan divide over global warming and 20 percent fewer Americans than just four years ago think there is “solid evidence that the earth is warming”. In July 2006, 50 percent believed the earth was warming due to human activity compared to in October 2010, only 34 percent held the same belief. That drop in viewing climate change as a major issue correlates with the drop in stories in U.S. newspapers and broadcast news from 2006 to 2010.

Yale University’s project on Climate Change Communication published a report in October 2010 on Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change (pdf).

The study also found important gaps in knowledge and common misconceptions about climate change and the earth system. These misconceptions lead some people to doubt that global warming is happening or that human activities are a major contributor, to misunderstand the causes and therefore the solutions, and to be unaware of the risks. Thus many Americans lack some of the knowledge needed for informed decision-making in a democratic society.

When Yale researchers graded Americans’ public knowledge of climate change on a straight scale, 52 percent of responders would receive an ‘F‘ grade. “These misconceptions lead some people to doubt that climate change is happening or that human activities are a major contributor, to misunderstand the causes and therefore the solutions, and to be unaware of the risks.”

These poor results “likely reflect the unorganized and sometimes contradictory fragments of information Americans have absorbed from the mass media and other sources.” Since the day-to-day impact of climate change isn’t explained, people ignore the issue.

With our media in such a sorry state, when Americans are interested in climate change, they must find their own sources to self-educate themselves. Sifting through the climate research and the disinformation campaign is not an easy undertaking.

The Yale study found that “large majorities of Americans say that schools should teach our children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming (75%) and that the government should establish programs to teach Americans about the issue (68%).”

The 112th Congress is as unlikely to meet either of those objectives as it is unlikely to pass meaningful controls on greenhouse gas emissions. Past advocates in the Republican party that once backed action on addressing climate change are now falling in line with their “global-warming-denying caucus-mates“.

Efforts to educate the American public seem to have gone backwards over the past four years with the assist by major corporate media outlets are ignoring or obfuscating the real story of climate change. Time for action ebbs away and each year of delay means greater impacts in the coming years and harder choices to reduce greenhouse emissions. Americans are choosing at their peril to ignore and deny climate change as a major and immediate problem threatening the security of the United States and the people of the world.


Cross-posted from Daily Kos.


  1. to see dd’s future in good hands.

  2. the framing of the Bernie Madoff Carbon Scamming Ponzi Pyramid plan.  From exploding the heads of school children ( to some Congressional retard saying Guam would tip over and fall into the Pacific Ocean.  It was all a bullshit marketing scam aimed at dumbed down Americans.

    Me?  I would prefer to continue the Nazisms of the Green Gestapo until violent revolt happens, and that is most likely the case anyway.  I also love pointing out to the kids the historical fallacy leading up to and including the reasons why they will have far less of a lifestyle than I did.  The global elite, the top 33 sociopaths who run the world actually want it depopulated, just so they can remain on top.

    • on January 6, 2011 at 14:07

    In European newspapers there are stories about climate change all the time. The same can be said about the newspapers here in Japan.

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