Last year was the hottest year on record and 2016 is expected to be even warmer, but you wouldn't know it from watching CNN. In fact, in a single week CNN aired 23.5 minutes of fossil fuel ads and only to five minutes of climate change reporting: That was the week we learned 2015 was the hottest year on record. Sign here to tell CNN to #ReportOnClimate.
Year after year, the realities of climate disruption are further revealed as our planet continues to break temperature records and climate impacts from wild fires to super storms become more frequent. Earlier this year, it was reported that 2015 was the hottest year on record and included the hottest and wettest month of December since record keeping began.1 The 2015 announcement confirmed the increasing trend of warmer temperatures, since it displaced 2014 as the hottest year on record, and just a few weeks later it was reported that 2016 had the warmest February in recorded history.2
But just while scientists were telling us that the world was burning up, CNN chose to give more air time to Big Oil than climate change. A study by Media Matters for America revealed that during the week we learned of 2015's record breaking temperature, CNN aired five times more oil industry adverting than climate coverage.3 This variety of corporate journalism fuels an iniquitous transmission of urgency and contributes to climate denial. Maybe that's why while over 70 percent of Americans believe climate change is real, only 27 percent of respondents in a recent poll understand that human activity is the main cause, and the need for vast changes in our energy and economic systems.4
That's why we're teaming up with an amazing coalition of organizations including our friends at Oil Change International, Climate Truth, Climate Hawks Vote, Honor the Earth, Daily Kos, Color of Change and others to deliver a simple message to CNN: #ReportOnClimate. Click here to help us send that message to the Cable "News" Network so that we can start getting climate change the coverage it requires.
Author Rob Nixon has referred to climate change as a form of "slow violence" stating, "The insidious workings of slow violence derive from the unequal attention given to spectacular and unspectacular time. In an age that venerates instant spectacle, slow violence is deficient in the recognizable special effects that fill movie theaters and boost ratings on TV." That's a good way to describe CNN's behavior and the fact that they are choosing Big Oil's crude cash over responsible journalism proves it.
We can't #ActOnClimate if our news sources don't #ReportOnClimate. And we certainly can't expect people to know that climate change impacts Latino, African American and Native American communities "First and Worst." Because if climate change is slow violence, it can also be characterized as slow racism or bigotry and the longer news outlets like CNN refuse to report this reality, the longer it will persist.
We need our news networks to draw public attention to our greatest common challenge so we can enact greater public action. And until CNN changes their ways, the will never be the Climate News Network that we need. Click here to tell CNN it's time to switch from being a Crude News Network to Climate News Now.
Thanks for sounding off,
Anthony for Environmental Action
1. Gillis, Justin. 2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say. The New York Times. January 20, 2016.
2. McKie, Robin. February was the Warmest Month in Recorded History, Climate Experts Say. The Guardian. March 19, 2016.
3. Kalhoefer, Kevin. Study: CNN Viewers See Far More Fossil Fuel Advertising than Climate Change Reporting. Media Matters for America. April 25, 2016.
4. Cama, Timothy. Poll: 70 Percent Believe in Climate Change. The Hill. January 5, 2016.