Fox News runs segment on water shortages in the Southwest — without ever admitting it’s because of climate change
Once again, Fox's news side is erasing climate change from its coverage.
Wednesday’s edition of Special Report with Bret Baier featured a segment on the declining levels of water in Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, located in Nevada and created by runoff from the Colorado River via the Hoover Dam. According to the National Park Service, “about 25,000,000 people rely on water from Lake Mead, and it is unlikely that the Southwest could have developed as it has without it.”
Fox News correspondent Jonathan Hunt explained that Lake Mead’s level had fallen more than 140 feet since 2000 —as illustrated by the “bathtub line” of lighter rock that has been exposed over that time.
Hunt also said: “Last summer, I would’ve been fishing off of this pier — now more than 20 feet from the water. And just a few years ago, it would’ve been floating something like 100 feet further up the shore.”
But while Hunt provided this demonstration along with a chyron reading “Stark Evidence,” the segment itself gave no acknowledgment of what exactly this “evidence” was proving: The severity of climate change is a subject Special Report has routinely downplayed and misled its viewers about.
Experts have been warning about the impact of climate change on water supplies for years. As a 2009 report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program explained, “Runoff was reduced due to low winter precipitation, and warm, dry, and windy spring seasons that substantially reduced snowpack. Numerous studies over the last 30 years have indicated that the river is likely to experience reductions in runoff due to climate change.”
The report further explained another danger: “Huge reservoirs with large surface areas, located in arid, sunny parts of the country, such as Lake Mead … are particularly susceptible to increased evaporation due to warming, meaning less water will be available for all uses, including hydropower.”
This year, water management authorities in the Southwest have fully acknowledged the impact of climate change on Lake Mead’s resources. Moreover, scientists have been explaining since at least last year that climate change has fostered “megadrought” conditions in the Southwest.
Fox is still bad on the climate crisis – even the “news side”
Fox News has run a campaign of climate change denial and opposition to any environmental measures. The network’s purported “news side” segment should have demonstrated the real-world consequences of climate change — with communities in the Southwest having to police water usage for residents and farmers — except that the network didn’t acknowledge climate change as an underlying cause. Not doing so is another form of climate denial.
And it is not the first instance in a year of unprecedented climate-fueled events. Special Report also failed to connect the recent massive wildfires in the western United States and Canada even while its counterparts on CNN and MSNBC (as well as broadcast news programs) correctly linked them to the climate crisis on a number of occasions.