Media Matters’ Evlondo Cooper joins Hot Take to discuss why national TV news needs to talk about the drivers of, and solutions to, the climate crisis

Cooper: “This is the industry and the people that are driving this crisis. Here's why we need to transition away from that yesterday.”

Full episode here.

Evlondo Cooper on Hot Take podcast

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Citation From the August 26, 2022, episode of Crooked Media's Hot Take

AMY WESTERVELT (CO-HOST): Have you seen any good examples of media effectively counteracting these right-wing narratives? What are you seeing there? And then what do you think would help?

EVLONDO COOPER (MEDIA MATTERS SENIOR CLIMATE WRITER): I think, you know, it's a hard landscape for us to cover but we do try to dip in when we can. I think we've seen a lot of bad local coverage through Sinclair. But I think we've seen a lot of good local coverage, and a lot of it comes from meteorologists who – and it's a small step, but most people will never see climate science connected to something that's happening in their community, especially not on national TV or cable news TV. Having local trusted reporters report about extreme weather impacts with what the science says that'll look like in 10, 15, 20 years, different environmental justice issues when they arise, that gives me some hope because part of the reason why I think it's important to keep an eye on the media and to keep nudging the media is that I don't think it's too late to galvanize the public toward meaningful climate action, demanding meaningful climate action. I think the more informed people are, the more they’re informed about not just the consequences but the potential solutions, knowing that there are solutions that exist that could have a meaningful impact, positive impact on their lives. And I think you see a lot of that in local coverage. I think some of the national meteorologists have been doing a good job of just making the connection between climate change and extreme weather. And now we're pushing for them to just do one more little acknowledgment and say, you know, “Science says that the continuous burning of fossil fuels is what is driving these harmful climate impacts.” And just letting – so we can start having some accountability for the fossil fuel industry, because this stuff is not happening in a vacuum. I think that's my biggest hope is that we can move from climate science to climate accountability and saying, “This is why this is happening. This is the industry and the people that are driving this crisis. Here's why we need to transition away from that yesterday.” And I think you've seen some of that at the local level. You see some of it at the national level on some cable news outlets. You have people that try to do a decent job every now and then, but I don't think it's consistent enough to really break through.

WESTERVELT: You know, it's interesting though too because I think that the local level is where I think it's easier to reach people across a broad political spectrum, like especially at the national level, especially in the cable news realm. I just feel like the people who are watching cable news are self-selecting into ideologically tinged news channels. No one who is an avid Fox News watcher is just going to switch over to CNN and see what they're saying about climate, you know. It's just not realistic. But they might watch their local news at night, and that's where I think you might be able to reach some folks who are otherwise only consuming a steady diet of, you know, Fox News or maybe OAN.


WESTERVELT: You know, we don't have any more like a national news broadcast that everybody watches, right? Everybody just sort of chooses their own media diet that affirms what they already believe.