The Media Is Finally Paying Some Attention to Climate Change, Thanks to Trump

President Donald Trump and his devious team of climate change deniers may be taking drastic steps to thwart environmental action, but thereís one great, unintended consequence to come from their madness: the media is finally reporting on climate change!

Each year, Media Matters looks at network news (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) coverage and keeps track of how much time is devoted to stories addressing climate change. Comparing the totals from 2016 and 2017, the amount of climate coverage on these shows increased fivefold, from 50 minutes to 260 minutes once Trump took office.

We can give Trump the credit Ė if you want to call it that Ė because Media Matters also broke down how much of that coverage related to the Trump administration specifically. Of the 188 climate segments that aired on the networks, 68 percent of them directly related to actions or quotations coming from Trump and his officials.

Apparently, even the mainstream media couldnít ignore the bizarre comments coming from the White House in regard to climate change. (See: EPA Head Scott Pruitt and Scott Pruitt and Scott Pruitt.)

About half of the stories on climate change involved Trumpís decision to pull out of the Paris agreement. Obviously, itís big news when the U.S. breaks a deal with the rest of the world, particularly when the White House isnít able to furnish a substantial excuse for doing so.

Trumpís moves to kill environmental regulations established under Barack Obama and intentionally set back renewable energy also received some Ė but not a lot Ė of focus on the news programs.

On the flip side, how climate would be affected by Trump approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines didnít warrant a mention on any of the networks, evidently. Additionally, amidst all devastation caused by hurricanes in 2017, the media rarely connected the dots between climate change and extreme weather.

Iíve been keeping tabs on Media Mattersí study for the previous two years (2015 and 2016) and itís easy to see that Donald Trumpís disregard for the environment has actually raised the issueís profile. Thatís not to say itís a worthwhile trade what with so much environmental policy being trashed.

Thatís also not to commend the media for finally reporting on the issue. The public needs to know not just about Trumpís actions, but also about the looming health, economic and safety threats that climate change poses to society at large. There are still barely any stories on the news related to those issues.

Hopefully climate change coverage will continue to get more airtime in the years ahead, and not all just because the president is trying to destroy the environment. It shouldnít take a villainous leader to give climate change consideration; we needed to make this a larger issue during the Obama years, and under all future presidents as well in an effort to drive meaningful action. Without an informed public on climate change, weíre setting ourselves up for disaster.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

53 comments

John W
John W2 months ago

Yawn

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Ann B
Ann B3 months ago

the media does more harm than good.....and they NEED to drop Hollywood ALL TOGETHER... trash bombing shootings child abduction....animal abuse child abuse when is the last time they had a good thing to report>??????? oh and dont leave out OJ OMG

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 months ago

Trump and his circle of terrorists' psychosis is not just confined to killing people, the psychosis extends to killing all life on Earth. Not even ISIS has that on their agenda.

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Just H
Just Human3 months ago

So if Trump says something the opposite must be true. Seems logical.

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heather g
heather g3 months ago

An unintended consequence - perhaps he'll learn something

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Ramesh B
Ramesh B3 months ago

Thank you

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Clare O
Clare O3 months ago

The media in all the rest of the world regularly report on climate change issues. This article makes it sound as though no media anywhere report it. Also, US media like NYT, WP, Huff Post will be reporting.

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Clare O
Clare O3 months ago

th

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Cate S
Cate S3 months ago

The President (he who cannot be banned) is so dangerous.

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Lenore K
Lenore K3 months ago

ok

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