MSNBC host Chris Hayes released a documentary on climate change Friday, continuing relatively in-depth coverage of what he calls “the single greatest threat that we face.” In fact, Media Matters found that even prior to this documentary, Hayes dedicated over 1 hour and 40 minutes to climate change since the launch of his primetime show -- more than three times that of four shows on CNN and Fox News combined in that same time period. Including the coverage that Hayes dedicated to previewing and airing the documentary “The Politics of Power” on Thursday and Friday, Hayes has covered climate change for over 3 hours -- about nine times those shows combined.
From April 1, when the show All In with Chris Hayes premiered, to August 14, Hayes discussed climate change 19 times, devoting approximately 1 hour and 42 minutes to the issue*. By contrast, CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront only mentioned climate change once for about two minutes, Anderson Cooper 360 didn't mention it at all, and Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity only mentioned climate change dismissively, devoting twelve and seven minutes to the topic, respectively. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow also devoted more coverage than these other four primetime shows combined, discussing climate change eight times for a total of 32 minutes.
During this time period, President Barack Obama gave a major speech on climate change, carbon dioxide levels exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, wildfires in the West and flooding in the Midwest were worsened in the context of this carbon pollution, and Republican politicians made several colorful claims denying the overwhelming science on climate change as a pro-Obama group conducted a campaign to highlight exactly these types of remarks.
Unlike many other television news shows, Hayes has made sure to prominently mention climate change when discussing political issues related to it, including the Keystone XL controversy and the Environmental Protection Agency's potential standards for carbon pollution. Hayes has also brought up the impact of climate change while discussing relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy and other extreme weather events, providing scientifically accurate coverage even when the science indicated that there is not a clear link to climate change. Finally, Hayes has covered how energy issues from natural gas to electric cars are climate-related.
Hayes' special similarly provided a model on how the dangers of climate change and the potential solutions can be incorporated into many news topics while treating the extensive science backing climate change as a "given."
*METHODOLOGY: Media Matters searched Nexis for “climate change or global warming or carbon” for each show, and recorded the length of the segments or mentions using an internal archive.
Denise Robbins and Max Greenberg contributed to this report.