Report Shows TV Networks Downplay Role Of Climate Change In Hurricanes

Despite repeated warnings by climate experts, media networks failed to inform the public that hurricanes are supercharged with global warming.


A new research conducted by a non-profit organization showed major television networks fail to inform the public about the connection between climate change and natural disasters.

The analysis made by Media Matters for America, summed up that during the coverage of the Hurricane Florence, that killed at least 40 people, media networks hardly informed the public why these disastrous natural disasters are caused and how they can be prevented.    

The research found that “ABC failed to air a single segment that mentioned the links between climate change and hurricanes like Florence.”

On the hand, NBC and CBS also had next to none segments on the important topic, where NBC aired only one segment and CBS only had two. Similarly, CNN ran two segments whereas MSNBC aired four reports.

FOX News aired the maximum number of pieces comparatively. They ran a total of six pieces, however, they were specifically aired to downplay and dismiss the link between climate change and hurricanes.

The research also compared the coverage of media networks with the time of 2017 Hurricane Harvey. It showed coverage on the topic of climate change was a down from last year and news outlets did few segments during Hurricane Florence.

Climate scientists have repeatedly said that the circumstances of Hurricane Florence were very similar to Harvey’s. This means the disastrous storm was charged with global warming as heat from the ocean fueled the storm and the rising sea level made matters worse by affecting the storm surge.

Moreover, a stalled weather pattern and atmospheric moisture lead also played a significant part in forming the hurricane and flooding.

The entire situation that was created by Florence and what caused it were already predicted by these experts but the media didn’t run segments on them. It is the responsibility of media organizations to put that information out and create awareness among general public.

Despite repeated warnings by experts, media networks failed to inform the public that these hurricanes are supercharged with global warming.

This lack of information that lies on the shoulders of media outlets is misinforming the public in a way that a majority of people in the United States said they hardly ever hear about global warming.

Moreover, the misinformation further fans the narrative put forward by President Donald Trump and his administration that climate change is not an existential threat —it is.

After assuming office, the president withdrew the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement, the Paris agreement, to fight climate change.

During the campaign, Trump said the accord would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars with no tangible benefit. He has expressed doubts about climate change, at times calling it a hoax to weaken U.S. industry.

Climate change is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The fundamental right of media outlets is to inform the public of the current issues and how to prevent them. Therefore, it is important the U.S. media starts playing its part.

Thumbnail, Banner: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz

View Comments

Recommended For You