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August 15 2012


Media Fails Again On Climate Change Coverage During Massive Heat Waves

North America just witnessed the hottest month in the history of record keeping (about 117 years). The month of July shattered every previous record, but was certainly not a freak occurrence. So far, the first 7 months of this year have been the warmest on average since records began over a century ago. Media outlets were abuzz with coverage of floods, droughts, fires, and storms, so naturally you’d think climate change would have played a massive role in their coverage.

You’d be wrong.

A great new study by Media Matters for America shows that our major media outlets – from cable news to print – almost completely ignored the role that man-made climate change played in our severe weather.

According to the study, only about 25% of print articles on the massive heat wave even mentioned climate change, while less than 9% of TV news stories about the weather mentioned climate change. Of the major cable outlets, MSNBC devoted the most time to discussing climate change, bringing up the issue in about 88% of their stories on the heat wave.

Not surprisingly, Fox News only mentioned climate change once, and the theory was quickly shot down by conservative hosts.

From the Media Matters report:


Of the six TV outlets included in our analysis, ABC mentioned climate change the least, in only 2% of coverage. Among the cable networks, CNN mentioned climate change the least, in less than 4% of coverage. MSNBC was the only television network to regularly incorporate climate change into primetime segments on extreme heat.

Fox Mentioned Climate Change Once, Only To Dismiss It. In six primetime segments on extreme heat, Fox News raised climate change once. The Five's only liberal co-host Bob Beckel noted that record July heat is consistent with global warming, and was promptly dismissed by co-host Greg Gutfeld, who routinely denies that manmade global warming is occurring.

Overall, the major print outlets mentioned climate change in just over a quarter of articles on extreme heat. The New York Times led the pack, mentioning climate change in more than half of its coverage (54.5%), and the Washington Post mentioned it in 26% of articles on July heat. But the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today mentioned it in less than 15% of coverage. The Wall Street Journal didn't mention climate change at all, although the paper had significantly fewer stories on extreme heat.

Only 8% Of Coverage Pointed Out That Human Activities Are Driving Climate Change. Only 6% of television segments and 12% of print articles noted that climate change is fueled by human activities including the burning of fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. The Associated Press, USA Today, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal never made that connection.

Media Matters also took the time to show that these events were predictable, and that they were consistent with the effects we were expecting with anthropogenic climate change:

A 2012 Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deemed it "virtually certain" that heat extremes will become stronger and more frequent on a global scale in the 21st century, and "very likely" that heat waves will increase in "length, frequency, and/or intensity … over most land areas." The report noted that "[p]rojected changes at subcontinental scales are less certain than is the case for the global scale" and that "[m]ean global warming does not necessarily imply warming in all regions and seasons."

A study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's James Hansen and other scientists found that land areas across the globe are "much more likely to experience an extreme summer heat wave than they were in the middle of the 20th century".

But this isn’t the first time that the media has failed in their coverage of climate and environment-related events. In January of this year, Media Matters put together a report showing that media outlets were almost twice as likely to host Keystone XL proponents in their coverage of that issue. A report from the organization last year also showed that climate skeptics and anti-EPA carpers were more likely to receive airtime than those who acknowledge climate change science and support strong environmental safeguards.

The poor media coverage could be the main reason why American voters don’t believe that climate and environment issues are important in this year’s elections, with only 21% saying that combatting climate change is important to them. Canadians, on the other hand, have clearly learned more than Americans simply by observation, as a new poll shows that only 2% of Canadians believe that climate change is a hoax.

September 08 2011


The Second-Warmest Summer on Record

The average temperature in August was 75.7 degrees F, which is 3.0 degrees above the long-term average, while the summertime average was 74.5 degrees, or 2.4 degrees above average.

July 29 2011


Pay No Attention to the Heat Wave Behind the Curtain

Musings of a Malcontent: Naysaying the Naysayers“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash

Is it me or is it hot out there?


No place seems safe, especially in the US. Record temps and warnings all these last two weeks in case you haven’t noticed – for those of you living in caves or on a rapidly melting ice cap.

The scope of the recent heat wave was impressive, stretching over almost every state. So far 1,966 high temperature records have been tied or broken and 4,376 highest minimum temperature records were broken. Who cares if it reached 110 degrees when the low was 90? Soon there will be no low – just a constant roiling boil in which lizards rule the earth.

And they said Jurassic Park could never happen.

The basic word on the street – the scientific one anyway – is that this is likely going to be the norm. Frequent heat waves with high highs and high lows. I’m sure the mass turning up of air conditioning units will have no effect on all of this.

Right?Talk about ironic. The main methods we utilize for staying cool actually contribute to the problem. Excellent. I did read that the case for nuclear power is being pushed in the face of this new heat wave. We are funny – humans that is. Rather than change the habits causing all the problems in the first place, we choose to prolong the situation – with nuclear! Are we so far in that we do not see the madness of such a thing? In one article from CBS news the CEO of Westinghouse says that the new nuclear plants are twice as safe as required by law.

Only twice as safe?

I might feel ok about this if the other part of the statement was not “as required by law”. Remember this is the government that brought you FEMA – for starters – who thought it was fine to re-use the toxic Katrina trailers a couple months ago. I can only imagine what bare minimums are set for energy companies to make twice as safe.

  1. All operating plants must promise not to kill everybody – or at least try really hard.
  2. All plants must promise to not melt down too much – just a little – and if they do they must feel very bad about it.
  3. Plants must have pretty colors and catchy names.

Of course the paranoid aspect of my mind is trying to convince me that in fact it is the nuclear and coal industries purposefully causing these heat waves – with some big heat ray hidden on some conspiracy laden satellite circling above us. In an act of desperation for our air conditioners and mini fridges we will beg them to keep it all going. We will plead for them to rescue us – and they will – for the cost of everything I am afraid. Because even as the Midwest turns to a big desert and Salt Lake City becomes ocean front property – still we will not change.

I sigh and shake my head – because it is true.

Trust me – I have just spent the last three days at Disneyland – it is definitely true.

With all the crazy weather this year I have been hoping that the naysayers might finally acknowledge there is a problem going on. I mean does lava have to be flowing down the street before they say there is a problem? Probably. I am sure they will blame this most recent heat wave on solar flares or Satan or liberals. Or puppies.

I always knew puppy gas would get us in the end.

By the way, what is the benefit of being a naysayer? What actually does it get them? I have been writing this little entry now for a few weeks and this basic question keeps itching at the back of my brain. As you know these guys are aggressive when it comes to persuading everyone that the lava is in fact not running down the street. There are whole misinformation websites focused on confusing the issue just so that we just back off. There are literally sites posting false information on purpose – on purpose!

Again – why would they do that?

If it all crashes will it not crash on them too? This is the moment when I realize that all us simple folk are basically going to be on the short end of a very big stick – a stick that will be used to hit us over the head when the time comes by those with all the money and the connections. Get one of those Golden Tickets now because you will be left off the boat – so to speak.

The one thing that I guess I still trust in my heart is that if we can pull back the curtain enough times and show that the Great and Powerful Oz is really some corporate lackey – or lobbyist – then people will begin to wake up. Of course lava flowing down the street would also work, just not in time to make a bit of difference. Meanwhile I am going to retreat into my ice cave – made by special generators that only run on the burning of virgin rainforest – and eat some shark fin soup.

After all, I want to do my part.

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August 12 2010


Pakistani Site Tops Asian Heat Charts

On May 26, the temperature in ancient Mohenjo-Daro soared to 128 degrees Fahrenheit.

August 10 2010


On Our Radar: Russia's Heat Wave

Scanning the scientific record, meteorologists find no heat wave to parallel Russia's current one in the last 1,000 years.

August 04 2010


July 28 2010


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July 09 2010


The Heat Wave and the Climate Divide

As the weekend approached, the heat receded somewhat on the East Coast - but not before discussion had begun on what the temperatures meant to the climate change debate.

June 03 2010

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