Media Fails Again On Climate Change Coverage During Massive Heat Waves

North America just witnessed the hottest month in the history of record keeping (about 117 years). The month of July shattered every previous record, but was certainly not a freak occurrence. So far, the first 7 months of this year have been the warmest on average since records began over a century ago. Media outlets were abuzz with coverage of floods, droughts, fires, and storms, so naturally you’d think climate change would have played a massive role in their coverage.

You’d be wrong.

A great new study by Media Matters for America shows that our major media outlets – from cable news to print – almost completely ignored the role that man-made climate change played in our severe weather.

According to the study, only about 25% of print articles on the massive heat wave even mentioned climate change, while less than 9% of TV news stories about the weather mentioned climate change. Of the major cable outlets, MSNBC devoted the most time to discussing climate change, bringing up the issue in about 88% of their stories on the heat wave.

Not surprisingly, Fox News only mentioned climate change once, and the theory was quickly shot down by conservative hosts.

From the Media Matters report:

Of the six TV outlets included in our analysis, ABC mentioned climate change the least, in only 2% of coverage. Among the cable networks, CNN mentioned climate change the least, in less than 4% of coverage. MSNBC was the only television network to regularly incorporate climate change into primetime segments on extreme heat.

Fox Mentioned Climate Change Once, Only To Dismiss It. In six primetime segments on extreme heat, Fox News raised climate change once. The Five's only liberal co-host Bob Beckel noted that record July heat is consistent with global warming, and was promptly dismissed by co-host Greg Gutfeld, who routinely denies that manmade global warming is occurring.

Overall, the major print outlets mentioned climate change in just over a quarter of articles on extreme heat. The New York Times led the pack, mentioning climate change in more than half of its coverage (54.5%), and the Washington Post mentioned it in 26% of articles on July heat. But the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today mentioned it in less than 15% of coverage. The Wall Street Journal didn't mention climate change at all, although the paper had significantly fewer stories on extreme heat.

Only 8% Of Coverage Pointed Out That Human Activities Are Driving Climate Change. Only 6% of television segments and 12% of print articles noted that climate change is fueled by human activities including the burning of fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. The Associated Press, USA Today, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal never made that connection.

Media Matters also took the time to show that these events were predictable, and that they were consistent with the effects we were expecting with anthropogenic climate change:

A 2012 Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deemed it “virtually certain” that heat extremes will become stronger and more frequent on a global scale in the 21st century, and “very likely” that heat waves will increase in “length, frequency, and/or intensity … over most land areas.” The report noted that “[p]rojected changes at subcontinental scales are less certain than is the case for the global scale” and that “[m]ean global warming does not necessarily imply warming in all regions and seasons.”

A study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's James Hansen and other scientists found that land areas across the globe are “much more likely to experience an extreme summer heat wave than they were in the middle of the 20th century”.

But this isn’t the first time that the media has failed in their coverage of climate and environment-related events. In January of this year, Media Matters put together a report showing that media outlets were almost twice as likely to host Keystone XL proponents in their coverage of that issue. A report from the organization last year also showed that climate skeptics and anti-EPA carpers were more likely to receive airtime than those who acknowledge climate change science and support strong environmental safeguards.

The poor media coverage could be the main reason why American voters don’t believe that climate and environment issues are important in this year’s elections, with only 21% saying that combatting climate change is important to them. Canadians, on the other hand, have clearly learned more than Americans simply by observation, as a new poll shows that only 2% of Canadians believe that climate change is a hoax.


People are getting tired of hearing the endless catastrophic claims about Climate change and the lack of mainstream media coverage reflects this fact.

Only the Joe Romm’s of the world think that  non-stop barrage of dire warnings will advance the issue. People just don’t believe it anymore!


The Media is owned by powerful corporations that have grown used to huge profits. That they are missing the biggest story of this century (and perhaps of all time) shows their corruption of reality and humanity.

With a public disengaged by a bad economy, by Brittany Spears Tits, and the love lives of the Kardashians- its a sort of an inertia of stupidity in the USA in 2012.

When the crap hits the fan- where will the Media be?

If the warmist side would like to see more coverage of climate change, I would like to suggest that they agree to more debates. I think the single bigest thing that Al Gore could do to generate public interest in AGW would be to agree to a public debate with Christopher Monckton. Al Gore once generated a huge amount of interest in NAFTA by debating Ross Perot on Larry King’s CNN TV show. Here are some other debates that I think would draw large audiences:

Michael Mann vs Steve McIntyre

Naomi Oreskes vs Joanne Nova

Joe Romm vs Peter Huber (both MIT alums)

Bill McKibben vs Philip Stott

Peter Gleick vs Marc Morano

George Monbiot vs Matt Ridley

Thomas Freidman vs George Will

Chris Mooney vs Anthony Watts

I don’t think most of the figures on the right side of my list would need much convincing, to agree to debate. With the publics current low level of interest, what do the figures on the left side have to lose?

Conman, you haven’t a clue have you? Have you seen how dishonest deniers, Monckton, Plimer et al “debate”? They throw out lie after lie and do not give the honest scientist long enough to challenge the dishonesty they show.

Scientific debate is carried out by scientists in the scientific literature and at real i.e. not Heartland, meetings, by honest scientists.

Your bunch of dishonest cronies have nothing to offer, where are their scientific papers, their honest explanation of the facts? The reason they never discuss them is that they don’t have any only lies, misinformation, misinterpretation and obfuscation.

Soo… What you’re saying is that the guys who didn’t go to the debating club in school are supposed to go and debate with the guys that did?  To what end?

That’s silly.  I wasn’t tought that in university.  Its not even required.  I took statistics and math… Watts took….  Monkton took…  Hmm….

So what’s in a debate?

You do not win a debate with the biggest pile of facts.

Read the stuff on how to win… Eye contact…  Very important.  Not very fact based though.  Decidedly that must be in your favor.

When you say, “debate”, all I hear is, “I don’t want to look at the facts.”

By the way, there was a huge debate in my community about a construction project.  One person drove the negative side of the arguements.  Otherwise, there was no opposition.  When that person would ‘debate’, the pattern was obvious.  She would say something… expound on it… and as soon as you asked a question, she’d change the subject.  In my eyes its the clearest evidence that you have nothing to back you up.

Conman… this is what you and your kind do.  Yet you only need one real and solid fact.  All you’d need to do is harp on that same one fact over and over to win. Yet you can’t find one.  You guys have been reduced to throwing stones at the messengers.

Public Debate

First…the public couldn’t understand it.  I can see the eyes glazing over now.

Second… the public really wouldn’t understand it.

Third… you guys make stuff up.

This never gets old… Monkton debating Monkton… and loosing.

If Monckton is as bad as that video makes him out to be, Al Gore should be able to annihilate him in a debate. Neither of them are scientists, but they are both well known public figures with a lot to say about policy issues relating to AGW. There are a lot of us in the public who are interested in the issue and would like to see how these two would respond to each others attacks and assertions.

As for making stuff up, a debate is an opportunity to confront someone with their alleged fabrications. I agree with Joe Romm that his side did not do very well in the Intelligence Squared Debate that he critiqued. So why doesn’t he go and do some debating to show them how it’s done. He just wrote a book on rhetoric, for Christ’s sake!

Debating and science are unrelated…

One is based on eye contact, and one is based on facts.

It serves no purpose.

To my list of proposed debates, I’d like to add:

Peter Sincliar (Climate Crock of the Week) vs Elmer Bouregaurd (Minnisotans for Global Warming)