UPDATE: TV News plays catch-up on the climate-hurricane link.

Tapper top

September 16, 2017

Cable News awakens. Sort of.

By Peter Dykstra
The Daily Climate 

On Monday, I wrote about the near-total absence of mentions—or even questions—about the climate change-hurricanes link on TV.

Since then, cable news networks have awakened a bit from their climate nap. On Wednesday, CNN's Jake Tapper at least tried to question White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on the climate-hurricanes link. 

Mulvaney rejected any such discussion, pleading the climate equivalent of Taking the Fifth Amendment on the topic.

This is at least a feeble improvement from a few days earlier, when CNN's Chris Cuomo abruptly shut down a head of state, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, who tried to raise the role of climate change in the utter demolition of human structures on the island of Barbuda. 

"There's a broader discussion to be had, that is true," said Cuomo, before kicking the discussion back to a commercial break and more wall-to-wall coverage of wreckage shots.

As a rule as firm as unwritten rules get, cable news anchors don't shut down heads of state when they raise what they feel is an important point.

On Friday, however, Wayne Drash of CNN.com published a piece drawing a bright line from climate impacts to worsening storms.

While I didn’t watch much MSNBC, they took a different path, featuring climate discussions fairly regularly.

Conservative media teed up climate stories and talk segments solely for the purpose of shooting them down.

Cutting climate out of the discussion—or letting a Trump official do it for you—is bad journalism, especially when it's replaced by a little more of the 24-hour cycle of post-disaster porn. 

It's a little like doing all-out coverage of sexually-transmitted diseases, without seeing fit to mention sex as a possible cause.

The Daily Climate is an independent, foundation-funded news service covering energy, the environment and climate change. Find us on Twitter @TheDailyClimate or email editor Brian Bienkowski at bbienkowski [at] EHN.org

Top photo: CNN

  Find more Daily Climate stories in the TDC Newsroom

 Recent DailyClimate.org coverage