According to American media watchdog Media Matters, the level of climate change coverage on evening newscasts and Sunday shows across broadcast networks in 2016 decreased significantly, dropping by 66% compared to 2015 levels, amounting to a total of only 50 minutes of coverage for the whole year.
Despite significant global attention given over to climate change in 2016, and several notable big news stories — including the signing of the Paris Agreement and several climate-related extreme weather events — climate change coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox News Sunday decreased dramatically in 2016, with a combined 50 minutes of climate coverage — down 96 minutes from the level found in 2015, a drop of 66%.
Specifically, ABC aired the least amount of climate change coverage during its evening news program, covering the topic for an impressive 6 minutes — impressive, because at 6 minutes, it’s likely the team probably had to work at not covering climate change. All the networks obviously decreased their coverage, with NBC managing to decrease their coverage the most, from 50 minutes in 2015 down to only 10 minutes in 2016.
When you include PBS, it is clear that there is a significant bias in broadcast TV. PBS, for example, ran a total of 21 segments about the Paris Climate Agreement & UN Climate Summits, compared to a total of 13 by the other four networks/shows. PBS also ran 7 segments about the US Clean Power Plans, compared to 6 across all the other networks.
The full report by Media Matters is astonishingly extensive, and is well worth the full read.
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