Good News: There’s More Coverage of Climate Change. Bad News: It’s Because of Trump.

News shows are still giving scientists short shrift.

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Here’s the good news: Coverage of climate change on the major broadcast networks increased substantially last year. The bad news? The vast majority of that coverage was driven by the policies and global warming denial of President Donald Trump.

According to a new study from the liberal group Media Matters for America, the Sunday political shows and nightly newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox’s broadcast network devoted a total of 260 minutes to climate change in 2017. That’s a huge increase over 2016 and by far the most climate coverage since the group started tracking that data in 2009. (Media Matters used more search terms in its 2017 study to broaden the results, but it says the methodological change didn’t account for the large increase).

But when it comes to the actual content of all that coverage, Trump and his appointees largely drove the narrative. Seventy-nine percent of nightly news and Sunday show coverage focused on Trump’s statements and administration’s actions rather than on the impacts or science of climate change. And news shows didn’t always feature experts to rebut the president’s uninformed opinions. PBS frequently included the perspectives of scientists in it climate coverage, but other networks did so much less often.

 

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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