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 Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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