Today the power of the media is so strong than ever before. Thanks to social networks, podcasts and off-line streaming services we are constantly hit by news from everywhere.
We can not deny the fact that the media have the power to shape people’s opinions about a certain fact. Moreover, the media coverage around an event decrease or increase the sense of priority we give to that particular event.
Now, we all know that climate change or global warming are on the top of the world’s priority, or at least they should be. But, how do media act with respect to these issues? Are the media giving enough importance to the environmental problems of our planet? Are they doing enough efforts to align people’s idea to what the entire scientific community so strongly is shouting?
The answer presented is not satisfying at all!
Last year, 2015, the biggest media, such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox aired approximately 146 minutes of climate change coverage on their evening and Sunday news shows. Compared with 2014, there has been a 5% drop in coverage. This, despite the fact that 2015 has been a big year full of significant actions for climate change; Paris Summit, Pope Francis’ speak are just few examples.
Okey, we can understand that maybe speaking about climate change does not increase TV audience, and that there are also other topics that must be covered. News media are a business and they must follow more attractive news; right?!
However, there is another huge problem here.
In 2015 Sunday Shows hosted more programs with climate science denial than in 2014. In 2014, the Sunday shows aired four segments that included climate science denial. In 2015, that number increased to six segments. Climate denial surfaced in 50 percent of the climate-related segments on NBC’s Meet the Press(three out of six segments), 17 percent of the climate-related segments on CBS’ Face the Nation (one out of six segments), and 14 percent of the climate-related segments on Fox News Sunday (two out of 14 segments). ABC’s This Week did not feature any climate science denial, but the program only addressed climate change in two segments all year. [Media Matters, 1/28/15]
Well, we live in a democratic world and people have the right to deny a fact even if is a scientific fact! Still, is unacceptable from a TV channel, watched by millions, to give more space and time to who deny these facts! In this way they are sowing doubts in people mind about climate change, when the scientific community at all agree that there is nothing to doubt at all.
The fight against climate change has always had its biggest opponents in climate change deniers, and they have not been defeated yet. Not to forget, is very likely that United States may have as next president a climate change denier too! What is more scary?
Luckily, if mainstream media tend to be cautious and prefer not to take a strong commitment in the climate change battle, there are good news. Many big voices out there have spoken out loud in favour of the climate change battle, from politicians to singers, from writers to actors, there is an increasing number of people even not involved in governments that have taken action. And is to them we have to give the merit that more people are environmental concerned.
If the media do not want to raise public awareness about climate change, it is time for us to do that. Speak to your neighbours, share a video or an article on your Facebook timeline, anything can be useful, because if you can just reach one person today, he/she is going to make a huge difference in this fight.