Media Matters' Andrew Seifter On Living On Earth: “Surprising” That Climate Coverage Is Down “Given That ... 2015 Was The Most Newsworthy Year For Climate Change In History”

From the March 18 edition of Public Radio International's Living on Earth:

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STEVE CURWOOD (HOST): 2015 was a big year for climate news, but you wouldn't know it from commercial television network news. Despite such major stories as the President's Clean Power Plan, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Pope's encyclical on climate change, on average NBC, CBS, and ABC all cut coverage of global warming. Media Matters for America has been monitoring climate coverage for the last few years, and Andrew Seifter is its Climate and Energy Program Director and a co-author of this year's study. Thanks for joining us, Andrew.

ANDREW SEIFTER: Thanks for having me on, Steve.

CURWOOD: So talk to me a bit about this study. Now you been looking at climate change in the media since, what, 2009? What did you find this year?

SEIFTER: Well, we found that the total amount of coverage on the nightly newscast and the Sunday shows combined was down five percent from last year which was certainly a surprising finding given that, I think, by any measure we could say that 2015 was the most newsworthy year for climate change in history.

CURWOOD: So which network dropped it the most?

SEIFTER: ABC really stood out in that regard. They had a 59 percent drop in their coverage. They dedicated 13 total minutes all year long to climate change coverage. And just to put that in perspective, you know, their Sunday show this week had Bernie Sanders on several times and he actually brought up climate change on his own four different times; whereas the host and reporters of this week only brought up climate change twice all year, so Bernie Sanders, even when he wasn't even asked about climate change brought it up twice as often as the journalists themselves.


STUDY: How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2015

Minnesota Public Radio Highlights Media Matters Study Finding A Dearth Of Climate Change Media Coverage In 2015