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  • How the Russian concept of "info-noise" can help American outlets cover Trump

    Substantive policy changes can -- and should -- be kept separate from statements that are merely inflammatory

    Blog ››› ››› TALIA LAVIN


    Melissa Joskow/Media Matters

    “Infoshum” -- or “information noise” -- is a term that has recently gained attention in Russian-language media analysis. Pioneered by TV channel RTVI, the concept applies to meaningless, inflammatory news items and attempts to differentiate them from those with substance. American outlets covering President Donald Trump would serve their audiences better if they learned the difference.

    As independent Russian media analyst Oleg Kashin put it last month in a column for Republic.ru, “Infoshum is not fake news or post-truth” -- rather, it is news that draws on provocative statements, conjectures, or social media controversies to build stories designed for maximum clickability and minimum informativeness. Kashin’s take translates as: “For every piece of news that’s made of clear, intense, high-quality reporting work, ... there’s one for which success is virality for the sake of virality, and what used to be sent out in boring press releases is now mined and sold as a valuable exclusive.” To further illustrate the principle, Kashin used examples of journalists calling up Russian senators in the Duma who are known for making inflammatory comments and extracting “one detail that turns it into real anti-journalism” -- some sensational statement which then becomes a news story in its own right. Writing up provocative tweets by political figures elides even this faint journalistic effort.

    In the Trump era, it’s hard not to see the problem of infoshum as familiar and, these days, fundamental to the way American news outlets operate. Idle, inflammatory musings from the president are quickly spun into headlines. On October 30, Axios’s Jonathan Swan engaged in what Kashin might call “anti-journalism” by inducing Trump to assert, with characteristic truculence, that he planned to end birthright citizenship and then publishing Trump’s resultant vague comments about ending it, packaged uncritically as an “Exclusive.”

    Trump is an infoshum-dispatching machine -- he has a singular ability to signal-jam mainstream news sources by offering a constant stream of bizarre, bellicose statements designed to whet the appetites of click-hungry editors. And even when he hasn’t had Fox News airtime to put forth half-baked provocations, reporters themselves often engender such cycles of controversy with their questions; the president has never met an incendiary query that he didn’t like. Could liberal philanthropist George Soros be funding the migrant caravan? Sure. Banning birthright citizenship? We’re looking into it. As Deadspin editor David Roth put it in a recent piece, “Reporters shout something at Trump about a thing he said or did or his response to someone’s else response to something, and then he shouts that he did it because he felt like it or actually didn’t do it at all,” a ritual that repeats itself over and over again amid press scrums on the White House lawn. “If there is a purpose here,” Roth wrote, “it is the theater of it—the theater of Trump’s strange fey boorishness and the towering and obvious lies he tells.” The headlines generated by fragmented, aggressive statements during Trump’s freewheeling and infrequent press conferences are information-noise too; there is little to add beyond the easily verified fact that the president said something and that it had little substance but much fury. 

    Perhaps the ultimate example of Trumpian infoshum is the issue of the caravan -- a group of migrants headed toward the U.S. border seeking asylum -- which became a singular focus of Trump’s screeds leading up to the midterm elections. Trump’s aggressive anti-immigrant tweets and statements were dutifully picked up and accelerated by his loyalists at Fox News, and subsequently bled over into mainstream outlets where caravan coverage surged, as Media Matters’ Matt Gertz has illustrated. In this way, a partisan talking point thrummed into the national consciousness via an ongoing stream of info-noise issuing from the White House.

    RTVI contends with infoshum by siloing it in a separate section tagged as “noise,” reserved for stories that are thinly sourced and make inflammatory claims -- such as “The US is on the brink of a new civil war” or “Improvements in cell phones provokes the development of cancer.” While it’s tempting to cover presidential statements with gravitas that would preclude this treatment, Trump’s well-established penchant for furthering baseless conspiracy theories, inciting shallow but debasing cultural conflicts, and generally inducing a click-driven news cycle to gravitate in his sullen orbit means that such treatment is well-warranted. Absent material policy changes -- whose substance, consequences, and impacts on different communities should be reported on with appropriate seriousness -- most of Trump’s eruptions should be treated as exactly what they are: Noise.

  • Scorecard: Only 29 percent of key Senate and gubernatorial debates featured a question about climate change

    Moderators and panelists asked candidates about the climate crisis in just 23 of 78 debates Media Matters analyzed

    Blog ››› ››› EVLONDO COOPER


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    This page was updated on November 6, 2018, after the completion of all debates.

    Out of 78 key Senate and gubernatorial debates this year, only 23 featured a question about climate change, or 29 percent. Media Matters analyzed debates in close Senate and gubernatorial races to determine whether a moderator or panelist asked the candidates a climate question.

    This year's percentage was a modest improvement over 2016, when only 22 percent of key debates we analyzed included a moderator's or panelist's question about climate change.

    The percentage of debates this year that included a climate question went up dramatically after October 7, when the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a dire report explaining the extreme urgency of fighting climate change. In debates before the report came out, only 7 percent included a climate question. In debates after the report was released, 43 percent included at least one question about climate change from a moderator or panelist. For more analysis, see this post.

    For debates that featured a climate question, we have included video clips of the questions and answers below (and in some cases, links to transcripts). For all debates, we have listed the moderators, panelists, and sponsoring organizations, and posted links to full debate video or audio.

    We focused on competitive races -- those ranked by the Cook Political Report as being a "toss-up" or "lean R" or "lean D" as of September 19. Here are the races in which we tracked debates:

    Alaska governor Kansas governor North Dakota senator
    Arizona senator Maine governor Ohio governor
    Colorado governor Michigan governor Ohio senator
    Connecticut governor Minnesota governor Oregon governor
    Florida governor Minnesota senator Rhode Island governor
    Florida senator Missouri senator Tennessee senator
    Georgia governor Nevada governor Texas senator
    Illinois governor Nevada senator West Virginia senator
    Indiana senator New Mexico governor Wisconsin governor
    Iowa governor

     

    Alaska

    Climate threats: Alaska is at risk from extreme heat, coastal flooding, and wildfires, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Bill Walker (independent) -- incumbent -- (withdrew from race on October 19)
    Mike Dunleavy (R)
    Mark Begich (D)
    Billy Toien (Libertarian)

    debates:

    Date: September 5
    Hosted by: Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce, KINY-AM
    Moderator: Pete Carran (KINY-AM host)
    Audio: KINY-AMY
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: September 10
    Hosted by: Anchorage Chamber of Commerce
    Moderator: Tim Thompson (Alaska Airlines spokesman)
    Video and partial transcript: Anchorage Daily News
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 2
    Hosted by: Alaska Airmen Association
    Moderators: Corey Hester (Alaska Airmen Association executive director), Adam White (Alaska Airmen Association government and legislative affairs director)
    Video: Anchorage Daily News
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 15
    Hosted by: Union of Students of the University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage Daily News, University of Alaska Anchorage Economics Club, Atwood Foundation, Seawolf Debate Program
    Moderator: Steve Johnson (Seawolf Debate Program director)
    VideoAnchorage Daily News' Facebook page
    Climate questions: There were no climate-related questions asked during the debate.

    Date: October 25
    Hosted: Alaska Public Media, KTUU
    Moderated by: Lori Townsend (Alaska Public Radio Network news director), Mike Ross (KTUU anchor)
    Panelists: Andrew Kitchenman (KTOO reporter), Richard Mauer (KTUU reporter)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Ross noted that climate change is driving Arctic warming before asking the candidates how they would balance Alaska's reliance on fossil fuels with the need to reduce carbon emissions. Panelist Mauer followed up by pressing the candidates further on how they would address climate change. Watch the video:

    Arizona

    Climate threats: Arizona is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and wildfires, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Martha McSally (R)
    Kyrsten Sinema (D)

    debate:

    Date: October 15
    Hosted byThe Arizona Republic and Arizona PBS
    Moderators: Maria Polletta (Arizona Republic reporter), Ted Simons (Arizona PBS host)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Polletta asked McSally and Sinema whether they believe climate change is a human-caused problem and how they plan to combat it. See the transcript and video:

    Colorado

    Climate threats: Colorado is at risk from drought and wildfires, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Walker Stapleton (R)
    Jared Polis (D)

    debates:

    Date: October 5
    Hosted by: Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver Business Journal
    Moderator : Ed Sealover (Denver Business Journal reporter)
    Video9NEWS.com
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 5
    Hosted by: Colorado Public Television, CBS Denver, KOA Newsradio, The Colorado Sun
    Moderator: Shaun Boyd (CBS Denver political specialist)
    Panelists: Dominic Dezzutti (Colorado Public Television vice president of content), Marty Lenz (KOA Newsradio host), John Frank (The Colorado Sun reporter)
    VideoCBS Denver’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 6
    Hosted by: Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Mesa University, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
    Moderator: John Ferrugia (Rocky Mountain PBS managing editor)
    Panelists: Charles Ashby (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reporter), Dennis Herzog (Colorado Mesa University adjunct lecturer)
    VideoRocky Mountain PBS’ YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 8
    Hosted byThe Pueblo Chieftain, 2020 Commission's Governance Task Force, Pueblo Community College's Center for New Media, Colorado State University-Pueblo
    Moderator: Steve Henson (The Pueblo Chieftain editor)
    VideoFOX21News.com
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 13
    Hosted by: KOAA-TV, The Gazette
    Moderator: Rob Quirk (KOAA-TV anchor)
    Panelists: Joey Bunch (Gazette political reporter), Elizabeth Watts (KOAA-TV anchor)
    VideoKOAA’S YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 17
    Hosted by: The Coloradoan, KUSA-TV, Colorado State University
    Moderators: Kyle Clark (KUSA anchor), Marshall Zelinger (KUSA political investigative reporter)
    Video: KUSA’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: Moderator Clark noted the recent United Nations report on climate change, then asked Stapleton about Colorado’s decision to adopt California’s auto emissions standards and asked Polis about his support for a carbon tax. Watch the video:

    Date: October 23
    Hosted by: The Denver Post, ABC 7, University of Denver’s Center on American Politics
    Moderators: Anne Trujillo (ABC 7 anchor), Nic Garcia (The Denver Post political reporter)
    VideoTheDenverChannel.com
    Climate questions: Moderator Garcia asked the candidates about their plans to address climate change during their first year as governor, noting that climate was "the No. 1 topic" the public wanted to hear about. Moderator Trujillo followed up with a second question about climate change for Stapleton. See the transcript and video:

    Connecticut

    Climate threats: Connecticut is at risk from inland flooding and coastal flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Bob Stefanowski (R)
    Ned Lamont (D)
    Oz Griebel (independent)

    debates:

    Date: September 12
    Hosted by: Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, The Day
    Moderator: Ann Nyberg (WTNH-TV anchor/reporter)
    Panelists: Paul Choiniere (The Day editorial page editor), Izaskun E. Larrañeta (The Day deputy managing editor), Mark Davis (WTNH-TV chief political correspondent)
    VideoYouTube
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: September 17
    Hosted by: Connecticut Association of Realtors, WTNH-TV
    Moderator: Michael Barbaro (Connecticut Association of Realtors president)
    Panelists: Mark Davis (WTNH-TV chief political correspondent), Kristi Olds (CTR.tv spokesperson), Russell Blair (The Hartford Courant content editor)
    VideoWTNH-TV YouTube page
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: September 26
    Hosted by: WFSB-TV
    Moderator: Dennis House (WFSB anchor)
    Panelists: Emilie Munson (Hearst Media capital reporter), Chris Hanna (Daily Campus editor-in-chief)     
    Video: WFSB.com    
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 18
    Hosted by: Connecticut Broadcasters Association
    Moderator: John Dankosky (WNPR news director)
    Panelists: Jennifer Bernstein (WTIC anchor), Keisha Grant (NBC Connecticut anchor), Dennis House (WFSB anchor), Keith Kountz (WTNH anchor)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Dankosky referenced the United Nations’ recent report on climate change and noted that 60 percent of Connecticut residents want the governor to act on climate change, then asked the candidates what they would do about the problem. Watch the video:

    Date: October 30
    Hosted by: Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, WTNH-TV, The Hartford Courant
    Moderator: Ann Nyberg (WTNH-TV anchor)
    Panelists: Keith Kountz (WTNH-TV anchor), Daniela Altimari (The Hartford Courant correspondent), Joe DeLong (Connecticut Conference of Municipalities executive director)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: November 5
    Hosted by: WPLR
    Moderators: Chaz & AJ (WPLR hosts)
    VideoWSFB.com
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Florida

    Climate threats: Florida is at risk from extreme heat, inland flooding, and coastal flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Ron DeSantis (R)
    Andrew Gillum (D)

    debates:

    Date: October 21
    Hosted by: CNN
    Moderator: Jake Tapper (CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent)
    Video: CNN
    Climate questions: Moderator Tapper asked about climate change in his first question of the debate. See the transcript and video:

    Date: October 24
    Hosted by: Leadership Florida, Florida Press Association, Broward College
    Moderator: Todd McDermott (WPBF 25 News anchor)
    Panelists: Isadora Rangel (public affairs and engagement editor at Florida Today), Anthony Man (political writer at the Sun-Sentinel)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Senate candidates:

    Rick Scott (R)
    Bill Nelson (D) -- incumbent

    debate:

    Date: October 2
    Hosted by: Telemundo
    Moderators: Marilys Llanos (WSCV-TV reporter and presenter), Jackie Nespral (WTVJ-TV anchor)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions

    Georgia

    Climate threats: Georgia is at risk from extreme heat, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Brian Kemp (R)
    Stacey Abrams (D)
    Ted Metz (Libertarian)

    debate:

    Date: October 23
    Hosted by: Atlanta Press Club
    Moderator: Lisa Rayam (Georgia Public Broadcasting capital correspondent)
    Panelists: Greg Bluestein (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter), Elwyn Lopez (WXIA reporter), Frank Malloy (WMAZ anchor)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Illinois

    Climate threats: Illinois is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Bruce Rauner (R) -- incumbent
    J.B. Pritzker (D)
    Kash Jackson (Libertarian)
    Sam McCann (Conservative)

    debates:

    Date: September 20
    Hosted by: NBC 5 (WMAQ-TV), Telemundo Chicago, Union League Club of Chicago, Chicago Urban League
    Moderator: Carol Marin (WMAQ-TV political editor)
    Video: YouTube
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 3
    Hosted by: WLS-TV, Univision, League of Women Voters of Illinois Education
    Moderator: Alan Krashesky (WLS-TV anchor/reporter)
    Panelists: Craig Wall (WLS-TV political reporter), Erika Maldonado (Univision Chicago anchor)
    Video: ABC 7’s YouTube channel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 11
    Hosted by: WGEM, Illinois Broadcasters Association
    Moderator: Gene Kennedy (WGEM evening anchor/producer)
    Panelists: Natalie Will (WGEM anchor), Bobby Oler (HOI News), Caitlin Knute (WEEK-TV anchor), James Stratton (WREX anchor), Doug Wilson (Herald-Whig senior writer)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderators and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Indiana

    Climate threats: Indiana is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Mike Braun (R)
    Joe Donnelly (D) -- incumbent
    Lucy Brenton (Libertarian)

    debates:

    Date: October 8
    Hosted by: Indiana Debate Commission
    Moderator: Anne Ryder (Indiana University Media School senior lecturer)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Ryder asked Braun, Donnelly, and Brenton what the U.S. government should do to address climate change. See the transcript and video:

    Date: October 30
    Hosted by: Indiana Debate Commission
    Moderator: Amna Nawaz (PBS NewsHour anchor)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Nawaz told the candidates that several voters were not satisfied with answers they gave about climate change during a previous debate. She then read a viewer question asking the candidates to detail what they would do specifically to combat climate change. Watch the video:

    Iowa

    Climate threats: Iowa is at risk from drought, inland flooding, and extreme heat, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Kim Reynolds (R) -- incumbent
    Fred Hubbell (D)

    Debates:

    Date: October 10
    Hosted by: The Des Moines Register, KCCI-TV
    Moderators: Steve Karlin (KCCI anchor), Kathie Obradovich (The Des Moines Register)
    VideoKCCI’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 17
    Hosted by: KTIV-TV, KTTC-TV, KWWL-TV
    Moderator: Matt Breen (KTIV anchor)
    Panelists: Tom Overlie (KTTC anchor), Ron Steele (KWWL anchor)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderators and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 21
    Hosted by: KCRG-TV, KWQC-TV, The Quad-City Times
    Moderator: David Nelson (KWQC anchor)
    Panelists: Jenna Jackson (KWQC anchor/reporter), Forrest Saunders (KCRG anchor/reporter), Erin Murphy (Lee Enterprise Des Moines bureau chief)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Jackson referenced the recent United Nations report on climate change before asking the candidates if they accepted the science of climate change and the impact it will have globally. Watch the video:

    Kansas

    Climate threats: Kansas is at risk from extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Kris Kobach (R)
    Laura Kelly (D)
    Greg Orman (independent)

    debates:

    Date: September 5
    Hosted by: Johnson County Bar Association
    Moderator: Nick Haines (KCPT-TV news host/executive producer)
    Video: KCPT-TV YouTube page
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: September 8
    Hosted by: Kansas State Fair, WIBW
    Moderator: Greg Akagi (WIBW farm and sports broadcaster)
    VideoWIBW’S Facebook page
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 16
    Hosted by: KOFO        
    AudioKOFO’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 25
    Hosted by: Southwest Kansas Chamber of Commerce
    Moderator: Marieta Hauser (Grant County Chamber of Commerce director)
    AudioKSCB News.net
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 30
    Hosted by: Nexstar Broadcasting Group
    Moderator: Jeff Herndon (KSN anchor) 
    Panelists: Jessica Schaer (KSN anchor), Bob Beatty (KSNT political analyst)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.
     

    Maine

    Climate threats: Maine is at risk from extreme heat, drought, coastal flooding, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Shawn Moody (R)
    Janet Mills (D)
    Terry Hayes (independent)
    Alan Caron (independent) (withdrew from race on October 29)

    debates:

    Date: September 10
    Hosted by: Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
    Moderator: Beckie Conrad (Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce president)
    VideoLewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Facebook page
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: September 13
    Hosted by: Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech)
    Moderator: Carol Coultas (Portland Press Herald business editor)
    VideoGoogle Drive
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions, despite the fact that the debate was focused on the topics of energy and the environment. But the candidates did address climate change in their answers to some questions.  

    Date: October 3
    Hosted by: Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
    Moderator: Quincy Hentzel (Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, CEO)
    VideoPortland Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 10
    Hosted by: Portland Press Herald, University of New England
    Moderator: Carol Coultas (Portland Press Herald business editor)
    Panelists: Bill Nemitz (Portland Press Herald columnist), Greg Kesich (Portland Press Herald editorial page editor)
    Video: Portland Press Herald’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: Panelist Nemitz and moderator Coultas asked questions that spurred a discussion about climate change and renewable energy. See the transcript and video:

    Date: October 25
    Hosted by: WMTW Channel 8
    Moderator: Meghan Torjussen (WMTW anchor)
    Panelists: Paul Merrill (WMTW political reporter), John Small (WABI assistant news director), Katie Zarrilli (WAGM reporter)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Panelist Small asked the candidates to discuss their plans to address the impacts of climate change and transition Maine to renewable energy. Watch the video:

    Date: October 28
    Hosted by: Maine Public
    Moderator: Jennifer Rooks (Maine Public public affairs host/producer)
    Panelists: Steve Mistler (Main Public chief political correspondent), Mal Leary (Maine Public political correspondent) 
    VideoMaine Public.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: November 1
    Hosted by: WGME
    Moderator: Gregg Lagerquist (WGME anchor)
    Panelist: Mike Shepherd (The Bangor Daily News reporter)
    VideoThe Bangor Daily News’ Facebook page
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelist did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Michigan

    Climate threats: Michigan is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Bill Schuette (R)
    Gretchen Whitmer (D)

    debates:

    Date: October 12
    Hosted by: WOOD-TV
    Moderator: Rick Albin (WOOD-TV political reporter)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 24
    Hosted by: WDIV-TV
    Moderators: Kimberly Gill (WDIV-TV anchor), Devin Scillian (WDIV-TV anchor) 
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Scillian referenced the United Nations report on climate change, then asked the candidates if they agreed with the 14 governors who pledged to abide by the terms of the Paris agreement and what their approaches would be to combating climate change. Watch the video:

    Minnesota

    Climate threats: Minnesota is at risk from drought and extreme heat, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Jeff Johnson (R)
    Tim Walz (D)

    debates:

    Date: August 17
    Hosted by: Twin Cities PBS
    Moderators: Cathy Wurzer (Almanac host), Eric Eskola (Almanac host)
    VideoTwin Cities PBS.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Wurzer asked Johnson and Walz how they would enable cities to respond and adapt to climate change. See the transcript and video:

    Date: August 31
    Hosted by: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)
    Moderator: Mike Mulcahy (MPR political editor)
    VideoMPR News Facebook page
    Climate questions: Moderator Mulcahy asked both Johnson and Walz about their positions on climate change. See the transcript and video:

    Date: September 19
    Hosted by: TwinWest Chamber of Commerce
    Moderator: Nick Halter (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal senior reporter/broadcaster)
    VideoYouTube
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 9
    Hosted by: Minnesota Corn Growers Association, WCCO Minnesota AgriGrowth
    Moderators: Chad Hartman (WCCO host), Blois Olson (WCCO political analyst)
    AudioWBRN Radio’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 21
    Hosted by: Metropolitan State University
    Moderators: Paul Folger (KSTP anchor), Leah McLean (KSTP anchor/reporter)
    VideoWDIO’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: November 2
    Hosted by: Twin Cities PBS
    Moderators: Cathy Wurzer (Almanac host), Eric Eskola (Almanac host)
    VideoTwin Cities PBS.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Wurzer asked the candidates if they would increase renewable energy standards and encourage new technologies or let the free market decide the best way to meet state goals for greenhouse gas reduction. Watch the video:    

    Missouri

    Climate threats: Missouri is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Josh Hawley (R)
    Claire McCaskill (D) -- incumbent
    Jo Crain (Green)
    Craig O’Dear (independent)

    debateS:

    Date: September 14
    Hosted by: Missouri Press Association
    Moderator: David Lieb (Associated Press correspondent)
    VideoHawley’s Facebook page
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 18
    Hosted by: St. Louis Public Radio, KSDK-TV's 5 On Your Side, Nine Network of Public Media
    Moderator: Judy Woodruff (PBS NewsHour managing editor) 
    Panelists: Jo Mannies (St. Louis Public Radio reporter), Mike Bush (5 On Your Side anchor)
    VideoPBS NewsHour’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions, although an audience member did.

    Date: October 25
    Hosted by: KMBC  
    Moderators: Kris Ketz (KMBC anchor), Micheal Mahoney (KMBC correspondent)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask a climate-related question.

    Nevada

    Climate threats: Nevada is at risk from drought, extreme heat, and wildfires, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Adam Laxalt (R)
    Steve Sisolak (D)

    No debates were held.

    Senate candidates:

    Dean Heller (R)
    Jacky Rosen (D)

    debate:

    Date: October 19
    Hosted by: Telemundo, News 4 (KRNV-DT), News 3 (KSNV-TV)
    Moderator: Denise Valez (KLAS anchor)
    Panelists: Steve Sebelius (KLAS anchor), Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix (KINC anchor)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Panelist Sebelius noted the United Nations’ recent report on climate change and listed some of the dangers of climate change like droughts, extreme heat, and poverty, then asked the candidates what policies they would support to address climate change. Watch the video:

    New Mexico

    Climate threats: New Mexico is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and wildfires, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Steve Pearce (R)
    Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

    debates:

    Date: September 19
    Hosted by: KRQE-TV
    Moderator: Dean Staley (KRQE-TV anchor)
    VideoNews 13 (KRQE-TV) YouTube page
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 16
    Hosted by: KOB Channel 4
    Moderators: Tessa Mentus (KOB anchor), Steve Soliz (KOB anchor)
    Video: KOB.com
    Climate questions: There were no climate-related questions asked during the debate.

    Date: October 24
    Hosted by: KOAT-TV, Albuquerque Journal
    Moderator: Doug Fernandez (KOAT anchor)
    Panelists: Shelly Ribando (KOAT anchor), Kent Walz (Albuquerque Journal senior editor)
    VideoKOAT.com
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    North Dakota

    Climate threats: North Dakota is at risk from extreme heat and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Kevin Cramer (R)
    Heidi Heitkamp (D) -- incumbent

    debates:

    Date: October 18
    Hosted by: North Dakota Newspaper Association
    Moderator: Korrie Wenzel (Grand Forks Herald publisher)
    Panelists: Steve Wagner (Grand Forks Herald editor), Cecile Wehrman (Journal Publishing president), Owen Piehl (The MHS Courier editor)
    VideoGrand Forks Herald.com
    Climate questions: Panelist Wagner asked the candidates what the United States should do to address global climate change given that North Dakota’s economy relies on oil and coal development. Watch the video:

    Ohio

    Climate threats: Ohio is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Mike DeWine (R)
    Richard Cordray (D)

    debates:

    Date: September 19
    Hosted by: University of Dayton, Cox Media Group Ohio
    Moderator: James Brown (WHIO-TV news anchor)
    Panelists: Jim Otte (WHIO-TV investigative reporter), Laura Bischoff (Dayton Daily News reporter), Christopher Devine (University of Dayton assistant professor of political science)
    VideoCBS News YouTube page 
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 1
    Hosted by: Marietta College
    Moderator: Colleen Marshall (NBC 4 anchor)
    Video: NBC 4’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: There were no climate-related questions asked during the townhall.

    Date: October 8
    Hosted by: Cleveland State University, Ohio Debate Commission
    Moderator: Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio and Television statehouse bureau chief)
    Panelists: Jackie Borchardt (Cincinnati Enquirer Columbus bureau chief), Jerry Revish (WBNS-TV anchor)
    VideoWLWT’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Senate candidates:

    Jim Renacci (R)
    Sherrod Brown (D) -- incumbent

    debates:

    Date: October 14
    Hosted by: Ohio Debate Commission
    Moderators: Ann Fisher (WOSU Public Media host), Russ Mitchell (WKYC-TV anchor)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Fisher asked Renacci and Brown for their reactions to the recent United Nations report on climate change. See the video and transcript here:

    Date: October 20
    Hosted by: WCMH, WOSU
    Moderator: Colleen Marshall (WCMH anchor)
    Panelists: Mark Allan (WDTN anchor), Mike Jackson (WCMH anchor), Mike Thompson (WOSU director)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Panelist Jackson referenced the United Nations' recent climate report before asking Renacci if he agreed with President Trump's climate denial. Watch the video:

    Date: October 26
    Hosted by: WLWT
    Moderator: Sheree Paolello (WLWT anchor)
    Panelists: Ashley Kirkien (WLWT anchor/reporter), Curtis Fuller (WLWT anchor/reporter), Dr. John Forren (Miami University (Ohio) associate professor)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.
     

    Oregon

    Climate threats: Oregon is at risk from drought, wildfires, extreme heat, coastal flooding, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Knute Buehler (R)
    Kate Brown (D) -- incumbent
    Patrick Starnes (Independent Party of Oregon)

    debates:

    Date: October 2
    Hosted by: Children First for Oregon, KOIN-TV, Pamplin Media Group
    Moderators: Jeff Gianola (KOIN-TV anchor), Shasta Kearns Moore (Portland Tribune education reporter) 
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: There were no climate-related questions asked during the debate.

    Date: October 4
    Hosted by: KOBI-TV
    Moderator: Craig Smullin (KOBI/KOTI news director)
    Panelists: Kristin Hosfelt (KOBI/KOTI executive producer and anchor), Patricia Smullin (KOBI/KOTI president)
    Video: KOBI-TV’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 9
    Hosted by: KGW-TV, The Oregonian
    Moderator: Tracy Barry (KGW anchor)
    Panelists: Steve Duin (Oregonian columnist), Hillary Borrud (Oregonian reporter), Laural Porter (KGW anchor)
    Video: KGW’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: Panelist Duin asked both Buehler and Brown about leadership in addressing climate change, and a voter asked a question about clean energy. See the transcript and video:

    Rhode Island

    Climate threats: Rhode Island is at risk from extreme heat, coastal flooding, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Allan Fung (R)
    Gina Raimondo (D) -- incumbent
    Joe Trillo (independent)

    debates:

    Date: September 27
    Hosted by: Roger Williams University
    Moderator: Danielle North (WPRI-TV anchor) 
    Panelists: Tim White (WPRI-TV investigative reporter), Ted Nesi (WPRI-TV political/economic reporter) 
    VideoWPRI-12’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 15
    Hosted byThe Providence Journal, The Public's Radio, University of Rhode Island
    Moderator: Ian Donnis (The Public’s Radio political reporter)
    Panelists: Patrick Anderson (The Providence Journal reporter), Lianna Blakeman (The Good Five editor-in-chief)
    VideoThe Providence Journal’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: Moderator Blakeman, a student journalist, mentioned the recent United Nations' report on climate change and asked the candidates how they would protect the state's coastline. Watch the video:

    Date: November 1
    Hosted by: WJAR, American Democracy Project
    Moderator: Gene Valicenti (WJAR anchor)
    VideoWPRI.com
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.
     

    Tennessee

    Climate threats: Tennessee is at risk from extreme heat, drought, inland flooding, and wildfires, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Marsha Blackburn (R)
    Phil Bredesen (D)

    Debates:

    Date: September 25
    Hosted by: The Tennessean, League of Women Voters of Tennessee, WTVF-TV, WNPT-TV
    Moderators: Rhori Johnston (WTVF-TV anchor), David Plazas (The Tennessean opinion engagement editor)
    Video: The Tennessean’s YouTube page
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 10
    Hosted by: Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, Nextar Media Group
    Moderator: Katina Rankin (WATN anchor)
    Panelists: Richard Ransom (WATN anchor), Kristin Farley (WATE anchor), Bob Mueller (WKRN anchor)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Texas

    Climate threats: Texas is at risk from extreme heat, drought, coastal flooding, and wildfires, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Ted Cruz (R) -- incumbent
    Beto O’Rourke (D)

    debates:

    Date: September 21
    Hosted by: Southern Methodist University, The Dallas Morning News, KXAS-TV
    Moderators: Julie Fine (KXAS-TV political reporter), Gromer Jeffers (The Dallas Morning News political writer)
    Video: NBC News YouTube page
    Climate questions: The moderators did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 16
    Hosted by: KENS Channel 5
    Moderators: Sarah Forgany (KENS 5 news anchor), Jason Whitely (WFAA senior reporter)
    Video: C-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: Moderator Whitely asked Cruz about his history of climate change denial. See the transcript and video:

    West Virginia

    Climate threats: West Virginia is at risk from extreme heat and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Senate candidates:

    Patrick Morrisey (R)   
    Joe Manchin (D) -- incumbent

    Debate:

    Date: November 1
    Hosted by: West Virginia Broadcasters Association
    Moderator: Hoppy Kercheval (MetroNews host)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Wisconsin

    Climate threats: Wisconsin is at risk from extreme heat, drought, and inland flooding, among other threats.

    Governor candidates:

    Scott Walker (R) -- incumbent
    Tony Evers (D)

    debates:

    Date: October 19
    Hosted by: Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
    Moderator: Jill Geisler (journalist)
    Panelists: Leigh Mills (WMTV anchor), Jessica Arp (WISC reporter), Emilee Fannon (WKOW reporter), Lupita Montoto (La Movida Radio host)
    VideoC-SPAN.org
    Climate questions: The moderator and panelists did not ask any climate-related questions.

    Date: October 26
    Hosted by: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Moderators: Charles Benson (WTMJ-TV anchor), Shannon Sims (WTMJ-TV anchor), Mitch Teich (WUWM-FM host)
    VideoWisconsinEye’s YouTube channel
    Climate questions: Moderator Sims asked a reader question submitted via Twitter that noted extreme weather in Wisconsin and inquired how the candidates would mitigate the effects of climate change. Watch the video:

  • Former Sinclair TV reporter: “Anything that went against anything that corporate wanted was just shot down.”

    Veteran reporter Suri Crowe details to BuzzFeed how Sinclair management insisted on false balance in news stories about climate and guns

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF



    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Former Sinclair reporter Suri Crowe provided BuzzFeed with a detailed account of how Sinclair Broadcast Group’s far-right agenda has affected local news coverage of stories from climate change to gun safety.

    Sinclair is the largest TV station owner and operator in the country, with about 190 stations, including affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, that reach approximately 38 percent of American homes. The conservative media company is awaiting final approval of its $3.9 billion bid to buy Tribune Media, which owns 42 TV stations, including in the major markets of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

    Media Matters has documented Sinclair’s rapid growth and its alliance with the Trump campaign and administration. If Sinclair completes its planned purchase of Tribune, the company’s right-wing bias and disregard for journalistic ethics could inform what 72 percent of American households see on their local news. Its reach is already so pervasive, Media Matters created a tool to inform viewers about the stations near them that Sinclair now owns or could soon acquire.

    Sinclair takes an aggressive approach to ensuring local viewers are exposed to the company’s agenda, Media Matters has found. It forces local stations to air corporate-mandated “must-runs,” which include segments from the company’s chief political analyst, and former aide to President Donald Trump, Boris Epshteyn.

    Crowe’s account to BuzzFeed about her time at WSET-TV, an ABC-affiliated station owned by Sinclair, provides an in-depth look at how local station operators can undermine or quash stories that run counter to the conservative ideological agenda of the company’s owners and executives. 

    Beginning in 2015, the veteran reporter was reprimanded by news directors who insisted her stories on climate change and gun legislation include more “balance.” Crowe, who won a Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters award in 2016, was ultimately forced out of her job in 2017.

    From BuzzFeed:

    Sinclair Broadcast Group executives reprimanded and ultimately ousted a local news reporter who refused to seed doubt about man-made climate change and “balance” her stories in a more conservative direction.

    [...]

    In one 2015 instance, the former news director of WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia, Len Stevens, criticized reporter Suri Crowe because she “clearly laid out the argument that human activities cause global warming, but had nothing from the side that questions the science behind such claims and points to more natural causes for such warming.”

    [...]

    Crowe told BuzzFeed News that before the October 2015 climate change segment aired, she was ordered by Stevens to include Donald Trump’s opinion on the matter. “When I instructed you to balance the story, by including some of [the] other argument, you insisted there was no need to add such balance to the story,” he wrote in her Jan. 22, 2016, performance review.

    A veteran reporter who has worked at news stations in Texas and Virginia, Crowe said she viewed the story as environmental — not two-sided or political. “I was always covering the flu. I don’t remember a time when for balance I went out to a group of 20 people who are nutjobs that say flu shots kill,” she told BuzzFeed News. The scientific consensus is that climate change is real and humans are largely to blame, but Crowe ultimately read the updated, “balanced” script on air. “That was the moment where I realized how things were going to go there,” she said.

    [...]

    “Your story on proposed gun legislation was not balanced,” Stevens wrote in Crowe’s performance review. “You wrote of the proposed gun restrictions, ‘Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, not to those in charge of passing new gun laws.’ And that tone is carried throughout the story. Another line: ‘Several polls show the majority of Virginians are in favor of tighter restrictions on gun purchases... But Republican lawmakers in Richmond... won’t go for it.’”

    On another gun story about the state attorney general’s decision to revoke a reciprocity agreement with other states for concealed carry permits, Stevens wrote that the sum total Crowe offered the other side was a single sentence: “The NRA on the other hand released a statement condemning the attorney general’s decision.” Stevens added that Crowe “had access to the press release sent by the NRA, yet included nothing from the actual statement... This kind of approach damages our reputation as a fair and balanced news organization.”

  • STUDY: EPA chief Scott Pruitt has given more interviews to Fox than to all other major TV networks combined

    Pruitt shares the Trump administration’s preference for Fox News and right-wing media

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has appeared on Fox News twice as often as on other cable and broadcast networks combined, and he has frequently granted interviews to right-wing talk radio shows and other climate-denying outlets, Media Matters has found.

    Pruitt’s media strategy is right in line with that of his boss. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump eschewed mainstream media outlets; it's a pattern his administration has continued since the election, favoring conservative and right-wing media outlets that are friendly to President Trump's agenda. By following the same approach, Pruitt has been able to push misinformation, avoid tough questioning, and appeal to the president’s political base.

    Pruitt appeared on Fox News twice as often as he did on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC combined

    Scott Pruitt has been a guest on Fox News a total of 12 times since his confirmation. From February 17, when he was sworn in, to August 14, Pruitt made twice as many appearances on Fox News (12) as he did on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC combined (6).* With the exception of two appearances on Fox News Sunday, Pruitt rarely faced tough questions on Fox News and was able to use the network as a platform for pushing misleading talking points without rebuttal. Pruitt appeared most frequently on Fox & Friends, Trump’s favorite show, which some journalists have criticized as “state TV” and “a daily infomercial for the Trump presidency” for its sycophantic coverage of the president and his administration. Pruitt made the following appearances on Fox News:

    By comparison, Pruitt made only six appearances on the other major cable and broadcast television networks combined. From the time Pruitt took the helm at the EPA through August 14, he was a guest just six times total on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and NBC, and he made no appearances at all on CBS. On each of these non-Fox programs, Pruitt faced questions either about whether Trump still believes climate change is a hoax or about Pruitt's own views on climate change. In response, Pruitt either avoided answering the question or repeated his “lukewarmer” stance that climate change is happening but we don’t know how much is human-caused. In all but one of these appearances, Pruitt repeated false or misleading talking points about the Paris climate agreement. Here are Pruitt's guest appearances on cable news and broadcast networks other than Fox:

    • One appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room on February 28.
    • One appearance on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper on June 1.
    • One appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on June 6.
    • Two appearances on ABC’s This Week on March 26 and June 4.
    • One appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on June 4.

    *Pruitt’s appearance on Meet the Press aired on both NBC and MSNBC, but for the purposes of this study, we only counted it as an NBC appearance.

    Pruitt has been a frequent guest on national right-wing talk radio shows

    Pruitt has also been a frequent guest on nationally broadcast right-wing talk radio shows since his confirmation, Media Matters found. We examined the top 10 shows listed on Talkers.com's Top Talk Audiences list, as well as numerous shows broadcast on the SiriusXM Patriot channel, and found the following:

    • Three appearances on Salem Radio Network’s The Hugh Hewitt Show on March 29, May 11, and June 2.
    • Two appearances on Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade Show on April 27 and May 19.
    • One appearance on SiriusXM Patriot’s David Webb Show on April 26.
    • One appearance on SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily on June 5.
    • One appearance on Westwood One’s The Savage Nation on June 1.

    All of these hosts or outlets have denied climate change:

    • Hugh Hewitt has a years-long record of climate denial: He wrote in a 2011 blog post that “we don’t know” how much humans contribute to global warming or “if it will be harmful or if there's anything we can do about it.” Hewitt also downplayed the threat of climate change in a September 2016 episode of his show in which he said that warming might be "a real problem over 500 years."
    • Brian Kilmeade has denied climate change, both as a host on his radio show and as a co-host on Fox & Friends. On a 2013 episode of his radio show (then called Kilmeade & Friends), Kilmeade suggested that only “corrupt” climatologists accept human-caused climate change. On the same day, Kilmeade disputed on Fox & Friends that it is “settled scientific collective thought” that human activity causes climate change. 
    • On the January 12, 2017, episode of the David Webb Show, Webb cast doubt on the scientific consensus around climate change, arguing that it's not significant that the vast majority of climate scientists publishing peer-reviewed research agree on the human causes of warming: "You can have 99 percent of peer-reviewed, but it doesn’t mean that the one percent like that guy named Copernicus won’t be correct about the fact that the Earth was not flat and we were not the center of the universe.”
    • Breitbart.com has a long track record of pushing blatant climate science misinformation and attacking climate scientists and climate science, calling researchers “talentless low-lives” and “abject liars” and climate change a “hoax.” Breitbart is also a go-to outlet for fossil fuel industry-funded academics who want to get publicity for their work.
    • Michael Savage has echoed Trump’s position on climate change, calling it a “scam” and a “hoax,” and has urged the president to continue denying that humans are the cause of global warming. During his June 1 interview with Scott Pruitt, Savage repeated the denier argument that human-made climate change is disproven by samples from the Vostok ice core in Antarctica and criticized Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for promoting “fake science.” In response, Pruitt appeared to endorse Savage’s views and floated the idea of having a "red team" of skeptical scientists debate a "blue team" of mainstream climate scientists, a proposal Pruitt pushed again a few days later on Breitbart’s radio program:
    MICHAEL SAVAGE (HOST): Please explain to me how come ancient core samples from the Antarctic show that there was climate change going on hundreds of thousands of years before man industrialized. [Whitehouse] would not have an answer for us, Mr. Pruitt. The science is fake science that they’ve been foisting upon a gullible public.
    SCOTT PRUITT: You know what’s interesting, Michael? There was a great article in The Wall Street Journal to your point, by Steven Koonin, a scientist at NYU, called “red team/blue team.” I don’t know if you saw it or not. But he proposed that we should have a red team/blue team approach with respect to CO2. We should have red team scientists and blue team scientists, in an open setting, debate, discuss, and have an open discussion about what do we know, what don’t we know, and the American people deserve truth.
    SAVAGE: Amen to that, because we’ve had no debate whatsoever. All Obama told us was 98 percent of scientists agree. So what? There was a time when 100 percent of scientists said the Earth is flat. Did that make them right?
    PRUITT: No, look, I mean the reason there’s not consensus, through policy in Washington, D.C., is because, truly, the American people don’t trust what has happened in the past several years with respect to regulatory policy and this issue.

    Pruitt’s right-wing radio appearances have extended beyond nationally broadcast shows. E&E News reported in May that Pruitt appeared on “the local morning talk radio show of a North Dakota blogger who described the Obama administration's EPA as an enemy to the well-being of his state.” ThinkProgress noted that during a “state listening tour” in North Dakota earlier this month, “Pruitt stopped by the conservative talk radio show What’s On Your Mind to share his thoughts on a number of EPA-related issues.” During that conversation, Pruitt referred to the “so-called settled science” of climate change.

    And on August 10, Pruitt appeared on a Texas radio show, Politico reported, where he said his staff will assess the "accuracy" of a major federal climate report that's been drafted by scientists from 13 agencies. “Frankly this report ought to be subjected to peer-reviewed, objective-reviewed methodology and evaluation,” he said, ignoring the fact that the report has already undergone extensive peer review. Pruitt also used his appearance on the show to cast doubt on climate science in general.

    Pruitt has given interviews to other climate-denying outlets, including online publications and cable business shows

    In addition to his June interview on Breitbart’s radio show, Pruitt granted the Breitbart website an interview in March.

    Pruitt also sat for a lengthy video interview in July with the fossil fuel-funded Daily Caller, another denialist online outlet. And he gave an interview in May to The Daily Signal, an online news outlet run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that casts doubt on climate change.

    Besides his appearances on cable news shows, Pruitt also went on cable business shows and networks that serve as platforms for climate denial -- most notably CNBC’s Squawk Box, where he told climate-denying host Joe Kernen that he did not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. Pruitt has also frequently given interviews on Fox Business Network, which mirrors Fox News’ denialist stance on global warming. Pruitt made the following appearances on the Fox Business Network:

    Pruitt’s courting of conservative media is “on an entirely different level” from predecessors

    Scott Waldman of E&E News reported that after “weeks of blowback” from Pruitt’s appearance on Squawk Box, the EPA chief “shifted his media appearances to friendlier venues,” a move that “allowed him to tee off on a favorite series of talking points: Obama's energy policy was ‘America second,’ energy industry innovations have reduced the U.S. carbon footprint, the so-called war on coal is now over, EPA's job is to encourage business growth in concert with the environment, and the era of punitive action against energy companies is over.” Waldman also noted that Pruitt’s “courting of conservative media is on an entirely different level” from previous EPA administrators. From Waldman’s article:

    To be sure, all administrations seek out friendly press. President Obama talked about health care on the "Between Two Ferns" comedy program with Zach Galifianakis, which Republicans criticized as undignified. And former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy granted exclusive interviews to left-leaning outlets like Mother Jones and Grist.

    But critics say Pruitt's courting of conservative media is on an entirely different level.

    […]

    Liz Purchia, a former EPA spokeswoman under the Obama administration, said it's extremely unusual to place an administrator only on partisan outlets. She noted that McCarthy regularly interacted with reporters from outlets that produced coverage EPA officials did not appreciate.

    […]

    "Only talking to far right-wing media outlets, they are only talking to a small group of Americans that regularly follow them, and they are intentionally going to reporters who will only ask them questions they want to hear and aren't speaking to the broader American people about their actions," Purchia said.

    In Mother Jones, Rebecca Leber also reported that “since taking office, Pruitt has almost exclusively relied on a small number of conservative media outlets to tell an upbeat version of his leadership at the EPA, with occasional detours into the Sunday news shows,” creating “an echo chamber cheerleading the EPA’s regulatory rollbacks, Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, and its newfound anti-science denial.”

    Leber also quoted Purchia remarking on how Pruitt’s approach to media interviews “isolates him from most Americans and instead plays to Trump’s base”:

    Liz Purchia, an Obama-era EPA communications staffer, says the EPA’s attention to right-wing audiences resembles Trump’s tactics at the White House. “They’re tightly controlling [Pruitt’s] public events and interviews, which isolates him from most Americans and instead plays to Trump’s base,” Purchia said in an email. “They’re not trying to use communications tactics to reach a broad audience.”

    Charts by Sarah Wasko

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched the following terms in Nexis, iQ Media, and TVEyes to find Scott Pruitt's on-air TV appearances from the date of his swearing in as EPA Administrator on February 17 to August 14: “Pruitt,” "EPA administrator," "E.P.A. administrator," "EPA chief," "E.P.A. chief," "EPA head," "E.P.A. head," "head of the EPA," "head of the E.P.A.," "head of the Environmental Protection Agency," "Environmental Protection Agency Administrator," or "Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency." We did not count instances of networks airing Pruitt’s appearance at the White House’s June 2 press briefing.

    For radio appearances, Matters Matters searched the same terms in Veritone for the top 10 programs in Talkers.com's Top Talk Audiences list and the following programs that air on SiriusXM Patriot: Breitbart News Daily, David Webb Show, Brian Kilmeade Show, and The Wilkow Majority.

  • During record heat wave, major TV stations in Phoenix and Las Vegas completely ignored the impact of climate change

    The stations did not mention a new study connecting global warming to extreme heat, but found time to discuss climate change’s impact on coffee

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    Major television network affiliates in metropolitan areas most affected by a record-breaking heat wave in June failed to discuss how climate change exacerbates such heat waves or mention that it will make them more frequent in the future, and major national TV networks neglected to report on the connection too. Over eight days in late June, major TV affiliates in Phoenix and Las Vegas aired a combined 433 broadcasts that included a segment or weathercast about the heat wave, but only one of those mentioned climate change -- and that one downplayed its impact. The local affiliates also ignored a new study that found one-third of the global population already faces deadly heat waves for at least 20 days a year due to climate change, yet they aired segments focused on how climate change could affect the flavor of coffee.

    Phoenix and Las Vegas affiliates ignored alarming study about climate change’s impact on extreme heat, despite experiencing a record heat wave

    For more than a week in late June, much of the Southwest was hit by a brutal heat wave. In Phoenix, temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees above average and new temperature records were set for three days in a row from June 19 to 21, reaching as high as 119 degrees. Dozens of flights had to be canceled after higher temperatures made it harder for certain types of small planes to take off. Las Vegas saw similar record-breaking daily temperatures and tied its all-time high temperature record of 117 degrees on June 20.

    The heat wave overlapped with the publication of an alarming new study on June 19 in the journal Nature Climate Change that found that, because of climate change, almost a third of the world’s population faces deadly heat waves at least 20 days a year -- and that more than twice that percentage could experience the same by 2100. In his article on the study’s findings, Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press connected the study to the heat wave in the Southwest:

    Deadly heat waves like the one now broiling the American West are bigger killers than previously thought and they are going to grow more frequent, according to a new comprehensive study of fatal heat conditions. Still, those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them.

    A team of researchers examined 1,949 deadly heat waves from around the world since 1980 to look for trends, define when heat is so severe it kills and forecast the future. They found that nearly one in three people now experience 20 days a year when the heat reaches deadly levels. But the study predicts that up to three in four people worldwide will endure that kind of heat by the end of the century, if global warming continues unabated.

    Yet despite having ample reason to take note, regional media ignored this dramatic study during the heat wave. Media Matters examined news coverage on the Phoenix and Las Vegas network affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX over an eight-day period that spanned the hottest days of the heat wave for those cities, from June 17 to June 24.

    We found that the network affiliates did not air a single mention of the study -- but many of them found time to air segments on a different study published on the same day that found that climate change could lower the quality of Ethiopian coffee. In Phoenix, ABC affiliate KNXV and CBS affiliate KPHO both aired a segment about the coffee study, and in Las Vegas, NBC affiliate KSNV and FOX affiliate KVVU both aired a segment on the coffee study, while ABC affiliate KTNV aired three segments devoted to it. This focus reinforced the mistaken idea that climate change directly affects faraway developing countries, like Ethiopia, but not the U.S.  

    In a June 27 post, Ron Meador of MinnPost’s Earth Journal expressed surprise that regional media coverage of the heat wave neglected to mention the Nature Climate Change study, writing (italics original):

    But it is questionable whether [the heat wave of 2017] will really be one for the history books, driven as it was by climate factors that continue to progress in ways that will likely make many a future hot spell considerably worse.

    This was not an aspect that came in for much discussion in regional media last week so far as I could tell. I was surprised, for example, to see no mention at all of last week’s marquee findings about the likely surge in deadly heat days over the rest of this century.

    Who knows why? Maybe it’s too controversial, still. Maybe it’s considered bad taste to mention this before the instant suffering subsides. Or maybe most people understand and accept this hard truth already, which would seem to be reasonable, wise and unlikely.

    Phoenix and Las Vegas affiliate stations also failed to mention global warming’s impact on heat waves generally -- and in one instance downplayed the connection 

    The heat wave afflicting the Southwest was the sort of previously rare extreme phenomenon that global warming is making more common. As Pacific Standard magazine explained:

    The atmospheric culprit for the heat is a very intense high pressure, which is itself setting records. Though the statistical databases show this high of high pressure to be an approximately one-in-200-year event, these events have been occurring more often lately—with the last one happening just last year. In short, the background signal of global warming makes the entire atmosphere thinner and less dense, supporting stronger high-pressure centers like the one camped out over Arizona this week, which then tend to get stuck in place—cranking up the thermostat over a multi-state region.

    And Arizona State University professor David Sailor explained in an interview with The New York Times that climate change amplifies and exacerbates heat waves and can create a vicious “feedback loop” between climate change and local heat thanks to increased energy consumption:

    A spike in temperature across the Southwest has left many in Arizona gasping for breath.

    [...]

    David Sailor, a professor at Arizona State University and the director of its Urban Climate Research Center, said that such heat waves were to be expected in the summer, but that climate change amplified such spikes in temperature.

    “The science is showing that the likelihood and the magnitude of these heat waves is likely to be exacerbated by climate change,” he said.

    He also emphasized the connection between what he called “global drivers of local weather” and the weather itself.

    “When you have these heat waves, the residents in the area of course are using more air-conditioning than they would otherwise,” he said. “So there’s a lot more waste heat being dumped into the environment from their attempts to keep their buildings cool. That creates a kind of positive feedback loop between local heat and global climate change.”

    Yet over the eight-day time period Media Matters examined, none of the network affiliates based in Phoenix or Las Vegas explained that climate change exacerbates heat waves.

    Las Vegas affiliates did not connect heat waves to climate change in any of their 241 broadcasts on the heat wave. KTNV (ABC), KLAS (CBS), KSNV (NBC), and KVVU (FOX) aired 65, 54, 65, and 57 broadcasts, respectively, that included a segment or weathercast about the heat wave. None of them discussed the relationship between climate change and worsening heat waves.

    Coverage on Arizona affiliates featured a single instance of a journalist connecting the heat waves to climate -- and that was to downplay climate change’s influence. KNXV (ABC), KPHO (CBS), KPNX (NBC), and KSAZ (FOX) aired 45, 53, 36, and 58 broadcasts, respectively, that included a segment or weathercast about the heat wave. Yet in all those broadcasts, climate change was brought up only once, in a June 21 broadcast on KPNX in which chief weather forecaster James Quiñones reported on record temperatures and then downplayed the impact of climate change and misled viewers by stating, “In June of 2017, we got 119 [degrees] and June of 2013 we also had 119 degrees, too, so we’re slowly warming up. And if anybody wonders, ‘Oh, is it global warming, climate change?’ Here’s the bottom line is: Ever since the last Ice Age ended about 40,000 years ago, we’ve been warming. Ever since then. So we’re continuing-- and the Earth goes through these cycles where we cool and we warm, and that’s what we are right now. We’re on a warming trend.”

    Among national nightly news shows, PBS NewsHour was the sole program to discuss the relationship between climate change and heat waves

    The major national networks’ nightly news programs also failed to provide context about climate change when they reported on the Southwest heat wave. There were a combined 13 segments or weather reports about the heat wave on ABC (6), CBS (5), and NBC (2), yet none made a reference to climate change.

    PBS NewsHour, in contrast, aired a June 21 segment about the heat wave that directly connected it to climate change, referenced the Nature Climate Change study, and featured an interview with climate scientist Radley Horton, who explained, “If we look at the last decade or two, we are seeing twice as many record-breaking extreme heat events.”

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched iQ media and SnapStream for local news broadcasts in Phoenix and Las Vegas -- the two largest television markets in the region affected by the Southwest heat wave -- that included a segment about the Southwest heat wave, as well as national news segments about the heat wave, using the search terms (heat OR "heat wave" OR "heat waves" OR heatwave OR heatwaves OR temperature OR temperatures OR hot). A second search adding the term AND (“climate change” OR “global warming”) was used to identify any segments on the heat wave that mentioned climate change. We did not count teasers or rebroadcasts. Our analysis covered the time period from June 17 to June 24.

    Gabby Miller contributed research to this report.

  • North Carolina meteorologist calls out climate deniers, issuing challenge to “put up or shut up”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Frustrated by non-experts taking to the internet to dispute the science behind human-made climate change, North Carolina meteorologist Greg Fishel issued a challenge to climate deniers, urging them to “put up or shut up” and “submit your work the way real scientists do, and see where it takes you.”

    The News & Observer highlighted Fishel’s challenge, which he posted on Facebook, in a May 22 article, reporting that Fishel “went off on people who question the science behind climate change."

    The article noted that for most of his career, Fishel, who is the chief meteorologist for NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh, did not believe that humans contributed significantly to global warming. "But several years ago, he says he decided he wasn’t being open-minded about the issue and began to study what climate scientists were saying about it. He now approaches the issue on the air and on social media with the zeal of a convert.”

    Indeed, Fishel is among a growing number of meteorologists who acknowledge that human-caused climate change is real. Some of those meteorologists are urging their colleagues to discuss climate change on the air.

    Fishel concluded his post by challenging climate deniers to submit their findings to one of the American Meteorological Society’s peer-reviewed journals, adding, “So prove me wrong bloggers and essayists. Submit your work the way real scientists do, and see where it takes you. Uncover that bias and corruption you’re so convinced is present. If you end up being correct, society will owe you a huge debt of gratitude. If you’re wrong, stop muddying the scientific waters with ideological trash.”

    From the The News & Observer:

    For most of his 36 years broadcasting the weather in the Triangle, Fishel also held a contrarian view about climate change. He didn’t believe that humans had much to do with warming the Earth’s atmosphere and would say as much when the topic came up on the air.

    But several years ago, he says he decided he wasn’t being open-minded about the issue and began to study what climate scientists were saying about it. He now approaches the issue on the air and on social media with the zeal of a convert.

    If someone does have “a critical piece to the puzzle no other scientist has,” Fishel implored them to submit their findings to one of the American Meteorological Society’s peer reviewed journals for publication.

    “If they are rejected, and the author feels unfairly, then make public each and every one of the reviewers’ comments for the entire world to see,” Fishel wrote. “If there is bias and corruption in the peer review process, everyone needs to know about it so this flawed process can be halted and corrected.”

    But Fishel said he doubts any of the climate change deniers “has the guts to do this” and said he thinks they’ll continue “with their pathetic excuse for science education.

  • Oklahoma City Fox Affiliate Reveals EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Lied To Senate About His Emails

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    An investigative report by FOX 25 in Oklahoma City revealed that EPA administrator and former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt lied to a Senate committee about his use of a private email account during his Senate confirmation hearing.

    As part of Pruitt’s January 18 confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked Pruitt in writing, “Have you ever conducted business using your personal email accounts, nonofficial Oklahoma Attorney General email accounts, text messages, instant messenger, voicemails, or any other medium?” Pruitt submitted a response that read, “I use only my official OAG [Office of the Attorney General] email address and government issued phone to conduct official business.” During the hearing itself, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked Pruitt to explain why a nongovernment email with Pruitt’s name was listed as a business email. Pruitt replied, “There are no other email addresses, if that’s your question, Senator.”

    But on February 24, KOKH’s Fox 25 Primetime News at 9 aired an investigative report confirming that Pruitt had in fact used a private email account to conduct official state business. In the segment, investigate reporter Phil Cross reported that an email he had obtained “shows Pruitt was not only receiving copies of official emails but also conducting state business using an email address his office wants to hide,” adding that “[t]he [Oklahoma Attorney General’s] office confirms Pruitt did use a private email account for public business.”

    After airing the clip of Pruitt denying his use of a private email account during the Senate confirmation hearing, Cross explained, “Documents recently obtained by FOX 25 indicate his statement was a lie.”
     

    FOX 25’s report aired a week after Cross first revealed that documents obtained from the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office showed Pruitt “may have used a private email account to conduct state business.” Specifically, Cross noted that “on multiple documents both to and from Pruitt the email addresses for Pruitt are blacked out,” whereas “[t]his type of redaction does not occur on the email addresses from Pruitt’s official government email account.”

    The findings of FOX 25’s investigative report were subsequently corroborated by The Associated Press on February 27. The AP reported that “[a] review of Pruitt emails obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request showed a 2014 exchange where the Republican emailed a member of his staff using a personal Apple email account,” and added that “Pruitt's use of the private account appears to directly contradict statements he made last month as part of his Senate confirmation.” Both FOX 25 and the AP obtained Pruitt’s emails through public records requests.

    Pruitt is also facing scrutiny for a large batch of emails showing that he closely coordinated with fossil fuel companies to undermine federal environmental safeguards. The Center for Media and Democracy had requested those emails more than two years ago, but Pruitt’s attorney general’s office only turned them over after CMD filed a lawsuit and an Oklahoma judge ruled that Pruitt had been illegally withholding the documents. Senate Democrats had called for the Senate Republican leadership to postpone Pruitt’s EPA confirmation vote until the emails were released, but the Republicans refused to do so and he was confirmed by a 52-46 vote.

  • Final Scorecard: Climate Change Absent From Debates In Most Key Senate And Governors’ Races 

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    In late September, we launched a real-time scorecard to keep tabs on how often debate moderators and panelists in the presidential election and 18 tightly contested Senate and governors’ races were asking the candidates about climate change. We’ve been constantly updating the scorecard ever since, publishing transcript and video/audio whenever climate questions were asked. Check out our completed scorecard here.

    The November 4 Senate debate in Illinois was the last of the 55 debates we examined, and the final results are not pretty for those of us concerned about climate change. Here are the key takeaways from our scorecard of climate change questions in presidential, Senate, and governors’ debates:

    • Just 12 of the 55 debates held in these key races included questions about climate change (22 percent). If you exclude the three presidential debates and the vice-presidential debate, where the lack of climate questions was well-chronicled, the portion of debates with climate questions inches up to 24 percent.

    • Broken down by individual race, only eight of the 19 contests featured at least one debate question about climate change (42 percent). In addition to the presidential campaign, debate moderators completely ignored climate change in the following races: Arizona Senate, Indiana Governor, Missouri Senate, Missouri Governor, Montana Governor, Nevada Senate, New Hampshire Governor, North Carolina Senate, North Carolina Governor, and West Virginia Governor. Each of these states face serious climate-related challenges, some of which I detailed here.

    • Only races in two New England states -- Vermont and New Hampshire -- featured more than one debate with a climate question. The Vermont Governor race had four debates with questions about climate change, and the New Hampshire Senate race had two.

    • In six of the 12 debates with climate questions, the climate questions were asked because voters spoke up and asked them. The climate change questions generated by voters included a Twitter question in Wisconsin, two Facebook questions in Vermont, an audience question in Ohio, a question from the Open Debate Coalition website in New Hampshire, and a question in Indiana submitted to the Indiana Debate Commission using an online form.

  • How Florida Newspapers Helped A Utility Front Group Promote A Deceptive, Anti-Solar Amendment

    ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    A utility-backed front group deceptively named “Consumers for Smart Solar” has been campaigning for a misleading ballot initiative in Florida that is disguised to look pro-solar but could actually hamper the growth of rooftop solar power and protect utilities’ electricity monopoly. Florida newspapers have published over a dozen op-eds in favor of the amendment by representatives of this group without disclosing their utility industry ties.

  • Climate Silence Witnessed At Presidential Debates Extends To Key Battleground States

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    There were roughly 190 questions (including follow-ups) asked to the candidates during the presidential and vice presidential debates this year, and not one of them was about climate change. This stunning media failure has rightly drawn the attention of journalists, environmental groups, and at least one U.S. senator.

    But it’s also important to recognize that the climate silence we have witnessed on the national stage is not unique to the presidential election. Media Mattersdebate scorecard is tracking climate change questions in 18 of the most closely contested Senate and governors’ races across the country, and the results so far are troubling. We’ve found that just eight of the 37 debates held in these races through October 20 included questions about climate change. That's 22 percent.

    Climate change was not addressed in the Senate debate or any of the three governors’ debates in North Carolina, a state that was recently devastated by Hurricane Matthew, which featured record-breaking rainfall and flooding that scientists have linked to global warming. It was also ignored in the Senate debate in Arizona, which was recently identified as the western state that is most at risk from increased wildfires as a result of climate change, and in both governors’ debates in West Virginia, which suffered through flooding over the summer that was made worse by global warming.

    There have also been zero climate change questions in Senate or governors’ debates in Missouri, Montana, and Nevada, which are all among the states that are least prepared to deal with emerging climate-related threats, according to a report card produced by Climate Central and ICF International.

    The eight debates that have included climate change questions occurred in seven states: Florida (Senate), Indiana (Senate), New Hampshire (Senate), Ohio (Senate), Pennsylvania (Senate), Wisconsin (Senate), and Vermont (in two debates for governor).

    In more than half of these states, the climate questions were asked because voters spoke up and requested them. In Wisconsin, the climate question was submitted by a citizen via Twitter. In Vermont, the moderator asked a climate question submitted by a voter on Facebook. In Ohio, an audience member asked the climate question. And in Indiana, the climate question, while flawed, was submitted by a voter to the Indiana Debate Commission.

    The lesson from both the presidential debates and these Senate and governors’ debates is clear: If voters want to hear about climate change, they’ll need to continue to press moderators to ask about it and continue to take advantage of opportunities to make their voices heard.

  • Will Climate Change Come Up In The Second Presidential Debate?

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    By any reasonable measure, climate change is a serious issue that is worthy of significant attention during the presidential debates. Yet as our debate scorecard documented, the topic was ignored by the moderators of the first presidential debate and the vice-presidential debate, further heightening the need for ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper to lead a substantial climate discussion when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump square off on October 9.

    Global warming is having profound and wide-ranging impacts in the United States, and a climate question would be just as relevant to a discussion about national security, the economy, or public health as it would be to a discussion about environmental protection. And as climate scientist Michael Mann recently pointed out, climate change meets all the key criteria for a debate question:

    Indeed, the stakes for climate action are high this election year, and the gulf between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the issue is massive.

    The Obama administration has taken many important steps to combat climate change, including the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, and the historic international agreement to cut global emissions reached in Paris, which was recently ratified by enough countries to formally take effect. But the next president could either help these climate policies come to fruition or try to undercut them.

    Clinton has said she will “[d]efend, implement, and extend” key climate policies, including the Clean Power Plan, and “deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference.” Trump, meanwhile, has said he will “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, “rescind” the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, initiate a “targeted review” of the Clean Power Plan, and dismantle the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    Americans deserve to hear more detailed explanations of these proposals, and the upcoming debates provide the best and most high-profile opportunities before Election Day for that conversation to occur. But it can’t be taken for granted. In 2012, the presidential candidates were not asked about climate change in any of the general election debates. And this cycle, Trump has yet to field a single climate change question through one general election debate and 11 GOP primary debates (he skipped one).

    The story is much the same throughout the country, as our scorecard shows. Through the first 21 debates in the presidential election and closely-contested Senate and governors’ races, only two debates -- in New Hampshire and Vermont -- have included questions about climate change. Like the presidential election, these races could also have climate consequences. Newly-elected senators could propose new climate legislation, or they could seek to block the EPA from limiting carbon pollution. And newly-elected governors could either work constructively with the EPA, or fight tooth and nail against implementing the Clean Power Plan.

    Thankfully, it’s not too late for citizens to make their voices heard and convince moderators to ask about climate change in upcoming debates. The nonprofit and nonpartisan Open Debate Coalition notes that the ABC and CNN moderators of the next presidential debate have “agreed to consider the Top 30 questions voted up” on the coalition’s website. The following climate-related questions are currently among the top 30 vote-getters:

    Citizens can also request climate change questions in several Senate and governors’ debates. In Arizona, Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS, has an online form for submitting questions ahead of the October 10 Senate debate. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association told Media Matters that citizens can suggest questions on Twitter during the October 14 Senate debate, using the hashtag #wbadebate. In Ohio, WBNS-10TV is accepting video questions that may appear during its October 17 Senate debate. In Vermont, roundtable organizers will be crowdsourcing questions on Twitter in advance of the October 17 governors’ debate using the hashtag #innov802. And in Indiana, the Indiana Debate Commission has an online form for submitting questions for all of the state’s Senate and gubernatorial debates.

    We’ll be continuing to update the scorecard with additional information about upcoming debates right up until Election Day -- including an update soon on whether climate change comes up at the October 9 presidential debate.

  • Right-Wing Radio Host Howie Carr Defends Trump Immigration Plan With 30 Minutes Of Racism

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Boston Herald columnist and syndicated radio host Howie Carr spent the first 30 minutes of his August 31 radio show using anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim rhetoric to defend Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico and his proposed immigration policies. Carr, who has backed Trump throughout his campaign, also used anti-immigrant slurs such as “illegal alien” and “anchor baby” and said Mexican immigrants are “undesirables” who don’t work.