NBC aired an hour-long special on the effects of climate change, making bold connections to current extreme weather events and featuring several climate scientists. The network, which previously devoted scant coverage to climate change, is proving that it is taking important steps to improve its coverage of global warming.
On April 6, NBC aired an hour-long special titled "Our Year Of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?" Ann Curry took the reins, making important connections between extreme weather and global warming, and featuring a climate scientist on nearly every topic. From the special:
Media Matters found that broadcast networks, including NBC, have been lacking on climate change coverage in recent years -- Sunday shows devoted only 27 minutes to the topic in all of 2013, with NBC's Meet the Press failing to even substantially mention climate change last year. In response to this paucity of media coverage, a group of senators released a letter urging broadcast networks to devote more airtime to this "critically important issue."
And NBC's coverage on climate change has been improving. When the United Nations released a report assessing the impacts of climate change, a joint work of hundreds of top climate scientists and experts, NBC led its nightly news program with the story, featuring two climate scientists who contributed to the report. (Curry also frequently referenced this report during her climate change special). And NBC's nightly 2013 coverage on climate change was an improvement from 2012, covering the topic four times more than the year prior and giving greater time to scientists.
In "Our Year Of Extremes," Curry took viewers to see how climate change "is already being felt in every continent and across the oceans" -- the melting Arctic sea ice, an "unrelenting" California drought, the Colorado summer floods, western wildfires, and drowning coastlines. She emphasized the impacts on human welfare, such as rising food prices from a suffering agriculture industry in California, a deteriorating way of life for Arctic Inuits, and New York City homes destroyed by a hurricane exacerbated by climate change. In each case, Curry turned to climate experts on the topic, a welcome change. Throughout the hour-long special, Curry interviewed four climate scientists: glaciology expert Jason Box, Florida Atlantic University's Keren Bolter, Rutgers professor Jennifer Francis, and NASA's Tom Wagner.
By making hard-hitting connections between global warming and impacts being felt today, and turning to the work of established climate scientists, NBC's climate change special shows that the network is continuing to make strides on an issue of critical importance.
In a Dateline NBC report on Rev. Rick Warren, after noting Warren's support for California's Proposition 8, co-host Ann Curry reported that "Warren says he joined the fray out of a concern that if Proposition 8 wasn't passed, pastors would lose their right to preach about the biblical definition of marriage." Curry then added, "But many constitutional experts say that fear was totally unfounded, and gay rights leaders saw Warren's stance as an infringement on their civil rights." Curry had uncritically reported the previous day that Warren "was worried that this Proposition 8 would prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage."
On MSNBC Live, Ann Curry stated of Rev. Rick Warren, "One of the issues he said is that, you know, he cannot -- he was concerned that there would be an infringement on his freedom to speak about it, because if, in fact, he came out -- he was worried that this Proposition 8 would prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage." In fact, neither Proposition 8 -- which sought to overturn the California Supreme Court's ruling that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry -- nor the Supreme Court decision itself had anything to do with members of the clergy.
During an interview, Today co-host Ann Curry asked Cindy McCain about her refusal to release her tax returns, but did not challenge McCain's refusal by noting that John McCain's campaign has benefited financially from her wealth, and without noting that McCain supports the permanent extension of President Bush's tax cuts, from which those with capital gains -- something that would be indicated on Cindy McCain's tax returns -- benefit significantly.
NBC's Ann Curry did not challenge Cindy McCain, Sen. John McCain's wife, when she claimed, "You won't see [negative stuff] come out of our side at all," and asserted, "My husband is absolutely opposed to any negative campaigning at all." In fact, John McCain has a history of negative campaigning and has promulgated numerous falsehoods about his opponents during the 2008 presidential campaign.