Study Shows Bill Nye Was Right About CNN's Climate Coverage
CNN anchor Carol Costello recently asked  Bill Nye "The Science Guy" if he is "disappointed" that climate change is largely ignored in American political discourse. Nye responded: "Well if I'm disappointed, everybody, it's in you guys." And with good reason: CNN rarely mentions climate change, even while reporting on its consequences -- as a new Media Matters study  shows.
Scientists warn that human-induced climate change will increase  the frequency and severity of extreme heat events like last month's historic  heat wave. But a Media Matters analysis  finds that the major television outlets largely overlooked climate change in their coverage of record-breaking  July heat. Overall, only 9% of heat wave coverage mentioned climate change. CNN's coverage was among the worst: in 111 segments, only four mentioned climate change.
This is not the first time CNN has failed to connect the dots between climate change and related extreme weather events. Media Matters reported  last month that although seven out of nine fire experts contacted agreed that journalists should explain how climate change increases  the risk of wildfires in the Western U.S., CNN mentioned climate change in only 1% of Western wildfire coverage.
CNN has also turned a blind eye to the related threat  of ocean acidification, another consequence of rising carbon dioxide emissions. In 2011 and the first half of 2012, CNN covered  ocean acidification once. During the same period, the network covered the Kardashians more than 250 times.
The vast majority of scientists say  the public should be worried about the threat manmade climate change poses to human well-being and the environment. If politicians are ignoring their warnings, the media's role is to challenge them -- as Nye rightly noted. Now that CNN's Candy Crowley has been selected  to moderate a presidential debate in October, will CNN press the candidates on what they plan to do to address climate change?