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  • Majority of top U.S. newspapers fail to mention landmark climate change report on their homepages

    After new U.N. IPCC climate report comes out, only 22 of the top 50 U.S. newspapers' homepages made note of it

    Blog ››› ››› TED MACDONALD


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A United Nations scientific panel released a major new climate change report on the night of October 7, warning of dire consequences if world governments don’t take unprecedented and dramatic steps in the next decade to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. The next morning, the majority of top U.S. newspapers failed to mention the report on their homepages.

    IPCC report warns that fast, sweeping action is necessary to fight climate change

    At 9 p.m. EDT on October 7, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its long-awaited special report about what will happen if the average global temperature rises more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and what would be required to prevent such a rise. The average temperature has already risen 1 degree C worldwide, and we will see dramatic and deadly impacts if it rises 2 degrees or more, which is now considered extremely likely. The IPCC report was requested by world leaders as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The report emphasizes the need for unprecedented action in the coming years to prevent the worst effects of climate change, and warns of the dire impacts if humanity fails to take that action.

    The majority of top U.S. newspapers neglected to cover the IPCC report on their homepages

    Between 9 a.m. and noon EDT on October 8, Media Matters analyzed the homepages of the top 50 U.S. newspapers as ranked by average Sunday circulation. Twenty-eight of the papers did not mention the report on their homepages at all:

    Of the above newspapers, 10 serve cities that are listed among the "25 U.S. Cities Most Affected by Climate Change" in a 2015 weather.com report: Baltimore, Buffalo, Columbus, Denver, Louisville, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, and St. Paul.

    Other major newspapers in cities heavily affected by climate change also failed to highlight the IPCC report. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest newspaper in Nevada, did not note the report on its homepage. Las Vegas is ranked third in the weather.com list. The Miami Herald also did not mention the IPCC report on its homepage, though it did link to an article about how the risk of sea-level rise threatens real estate prices. Miami will be particularly affected by sea-level rise; a study published last year in the journal Nature concluded that rising seas as a result of climate change could cause more than 2.5 million Miami residents to flee the city.

    Only 22 of the top 50 U.S. newspapers mentioned the IPCC report on their homepages

    These are the papers that linked from their homepages to articles about the IPCC report:

    A few of the newspapers featured the IPCC report prominently on their homepages, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, but most of homepage mentions of the report were just headlines. Here's how the Star Tribune featured the report: 

    Methodology: Media Matters searched for the terms “climate change,” “global warming,” “IPCC,” “report,” and “scientist” on the homepages of the top 50 highest-circulation U.S. newspapers between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. EST on October 8. The list of newspapers was taken from the recent Pew Research Center report State of the News Media.

  • STUDY: How Media Advanced Conservatives' Misleading "War On Coal" Narrative

    ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    A Media Matters analysis of major U.S. newspapers reporting on the alleged "war on coal" found that newspapers provided one-sided coverage of the issue and seldom mentioned the coal industry's negative environmental and health impacts or its efforts to fight regulations. Out of 223 articles published in major U.S. newspapers this year mentioning the phrase "war on coal," more than half failed to mention underlying issues that account for the coal industry's decline and the need for regulations. Further, less than 10 percent of articles mentioned harm caused by the coal industry or how the coal industry is fighting against regulations aimed at protecting miners and reducing pollution.

  • VIDEO: What The Press Is Missing About Midwest Floods

    Blog ››› ››› JILL FITZSIMMONS

    As Midwestern states assess the damage wrought by record flooding in recent weeks, scientists tell Media Matters that the media has missed an important part of the story: the impact of climate change. A Media Matters analysis finds that less than 3 percent of television and print coverage of the flooding mentioned climate change, which has increased the frequency of large rain storms and exacerbated flood risks.

    Seven out of eight scientists interviewed by Media Matters agreed that climate change is pertinent to coverage of recent flooding in the Midwest. Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer told Media Matters it is "not only appropriate, but advisable" for the press to note that rainstorms in the Midwest are increasing in frequency and that climate models "suggest this trend will continue," which will contribute to more flooding. Aquatic ecologist Don Scavia added that this is the "new normal," and that the media is "missing an important piece of information" by ignoring this trend.

    Indeed, climate change has been almost entirely absent from national and local reporting on the floods. Only one of 74 television segments mentioned climate change, on CBS News. ABC, NBC and CNN never mentioned the connection.

    Meanwhile, USA TODAY was the only national print outlet to report on Midwest floods in the context of climate change. USA TODAY also created a video, featured above, explaining the connection as part of a year-long series on the impacts of climate change.  

  • STUDY: Media Ignore Climate Context Of Midwest Floods

    ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL & JILL FITZSIMMONS

    The Midwest has experienced near record flooding this spring, resulting in four deaths, extensive property damage, and disruptions of agriculture and transportation. Evidence suggests that manmade climate change has increased the frequency of heavy downpours, and will continue to increase flooding risks. But in their ample coverage of Midwestern flooding, major media outlets rarely mentioned climate change.

  • Voter ID Resurfaces In State Legislatures, But ALEC Remains Incognito In Media Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    As conservative legislators in nine states renew the push for restrictive voter ID laws, their efforts have been aided by state media outlets that continue to ignore or misinform readers on the issue.

    Republican lawmakers in several states  -- Alaska, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin -- have stated that new or more restrictive voter ID rules will top their agendas in 2013. (Republicans control both houses of the legislature in all those states but New York and West Virginia. In Virginia, the GOP controls the House and maintains a 50/50 split with Democrats in the state Senate.) These proposals come just weeks after the 2012 election, in which there was no evidence of massive voter fraud.

    Media Matters analysis of the largest newspapers in each state found that coverage of these new voter ID initiatives has been largely devoid of context about the overstated dangers of voter fraud or of the significant influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy organization dedicated to pushing a homogeneous conservative agenda state-by-state. Only four of the nine newspapers covered the 2013 initiatives at all, and only one mentioned ALEC.

  • "He Said/She Said" Reporting Legitimizes Breitbart's Deceptive Smear Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

    Through he said/she said journalism, the media gives Andrew Breitbart's debunked videos legitimacy they don't deserve. Exhibit A: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that "a pair of heavily edited videos" shows two professors "appearing to condone the use of violence in labor negotiations." At the end of the article, they note:

    Officials at UMKC say they have been reviewing the video but thus far have expressed support for their professor.

    They have criticized the Internet videos, saying their editing put the instructors' comments out of context.

    Well, were they? The Post-Dispatch does not have to take the school officials' word for it -- they can see for themselves. With a little bit of research, they can show their readers that, yes, Big Government was taking Professor Don Giljum out of context when they edited out the portions of his comments that show him rejecting violence (in bold):

    I tend to agree with you, because I think if you look at labor's history over the years, you'll find that, you know, we've had a very violent history with violent protests and reaction to suppression. OK? But as time has changed, the tactics have changed, or the need for those have changed. OK?

    Now, you know, that's not to say that in certain instances, strategically played out and for certain purposes, that industrial sabotage doesn't have its place. I think it certainly does. But as far as -- You know, and I can't really honestly say that I've never wished, or have never been in a position where I have haven't wished real harm on somebody or inflicted any pain and suffering on some people--

    STUDENT: We're all human.

    GILJUM: --who didn't ask for it, but, you know, it certainly has its place. It certainly makes you feel a hell of a lot better sometimes, but beyond that I'm not sure as a tactic today, the type of violence or reaction to the violence we had back then would be called for here, and I think it would do more harm than good.

  • Update: Meet Rush in St. Louis? – Post-Dispatch sports columnist: NFL should think twice on Limbaugh

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    We've been discussing radio host Rush Limbaugh's quest to purchase the NFL's St. Louis Rams for the past few days here on County Fair.

    Now, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bryan Burwell has jumped into the fray with one hell of a column, in which he writes:

    Though I think it is his right to take a shot at becoming part of a new Rams ownership group, Limbaugh's American Dream is a potential nightmare waiting to happen for the Rams, the city and the National Football League.

    "Look, let me put it to you this way: The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

    Those are Limbaugh's words. So are these:

    "I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."

    I know how those words play out in Idiot America. They are embraced as gospel. But inside the locker rooms of the NFL, where the overwhelming majority of the players are descendants of slaves, Limbaugh's ignorant ramblings resonate with entirely different emotions.

    His money might be green, but his words are colored with hate and intolerance. Bringing Limbaugh back into the NFL family will ultimately be met with the same disastrous effects from the last time it was tried.

    […]

    That's why I keep scratching my head and wondering why so many people foolishly believe that at some point Limbaugh's mouth won't cause another embarrassing situation for the Rams and the league. This isn't about conservative politics. If that's all you could say about him, it certainly doesn't disqualify him to be a potential NFL owner. In fact, that makes him highly qualified to join the club. He would fit right in with the rest of the exclusive boys club of ultra-wealthy, ultra-conservative white men who rule the ownership suites of most professional sports leagues.

    But even if he fit in with his politics, let's hope he doesn't fit in with his polarizing, racist demagoguery. And yes, that is exactly what it is, no matter how many of his blindly loyal supporters want to put the "politically incorrect" party dress on it.

    "The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

    Again, those are his words. I wonder how Roger Goodell, the no-nonsense NFL commissioner whose primary personal directive is to "protect the (NFL) shield," will cope with an owner as potentially combustible as Limbaugh. If Goodell has issues with the embarrassing antics of some of his players, what will he do when Limbaugh inevitably crosses the line of good conduct?

    Did you notice that I didn't say "if"?

    I didn't say "if" because anyone who is even marginally familiar with Limbaugh's act knows it's only a matter of time before he says something that is at the very least embarrassing but will most likely top out at downright hateful.

    So Rush Limbaugh wants to own the Rams. Well good for him. That's his right as an American. But I just wonder if the NFL has learned its lesson from the last little dance with him. Dancing with Limbaugh is like dancing with a snake. Eventually, the snake will bite you. That's his nature.

    Be sure to read Burwell's column in its entirety.

    UPDATE: In his October 14 column, Burwell writes in part:

    Limbaugh apparently wasn't so keen on becoming the poundee after excelling for so long at being the pounder.

    One particular quote seemed to bother him the most:

    "Let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."

    That particular quote was reported in the 2006 book by Jack Huberman, "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America." I repeated it in a column last week. The quote was so in character with the many things that Limbaugh has said before that we didn't verify it beyond the book. The quote was repeated in the ensuing days as NFL players began to express their uneasiness with Limbaugh as a potential owner.

    Limbaugh at first said he couldn't remember saying it, then after his researchers were unable to find any evidence beyond the book — which listed no sources — he stepped up his game and on his Tuesday radio broadcast said the quotes were lies. In an e-mail to the AP on Tuesday, Limbaugh said, "The totally made-up and fabricated quotes attributed to me in recent media reports are outrageous and slanderous.''

    Fine, let's play along for the time being and take him at his word that he was inaccurately quoted in the Huberman book. Heck, let's go along for the full ride and believe that it was all a horrible "fabrication."

    So what are we left with?

    Well, essentially, I think we just threw a deck chair off the Titanic.

    There is still a huge pile of polarizing, bigoted debris stacked up on the deck of the good ship Limbaugh that he can't deny or even remotely distance himself from.

    "Look, let me put it to you this way: The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it." He does not deny saying this, because it's on his own website's audio archives. He also does not distance himself from his remarks that characterized life in "Obama's America" as a place where "white kids" get beat up on school buses and black kids cheer about it. There is plenty of tape of that, too.

    The bigoted nonsense is hard to ignore, which is why at Tuesday's NFL owners meetings in Boston, people like Goodell, Irsay and Blank voiced reservations about someone with Limbaugh's inflammatory point of view joining their select club.

    UPDATE 2: The following editor's note has been added at the top of Burwell's October 14 column:

    A quote from the following column attributed to Rush Limbaugh about the merits of slavery in the United States came from the 2006 book "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America" by John Huberman. The book does not provide specific details about the quote.

    Limbaugh, who is part of a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams, said Monday that he did not make that statement, which has been widely reported in recent days.

    The Post-Dispatch continues to research the origin of the quote. -- Reid Laymance, Sports Editor

    For more on Limbaugh's history of racially charged comments, read this.