Storm of Silence: Media Coverage of Climate Change and Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey Media Report

Public Citizen examined Hurricane Harvey coverage and found that major news outlets are falling far short of connecting climate to extreme weather events.

Summary

The study examined Hurricane Harvey coverage by 18 sources – 10 major newspapers, three weekly magazines and national programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox – from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1. It found that two major networks, ABC and NBC, did not mention climate change in the context of Harvey at all. One major newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, scarcely covered the issue in its news reporting and gave a platform to skeptics when it did.

In addition, the study found 72 percent of the pieces on Harvey that mentioned climate change were produced by just four of the 18 sources – CNN, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle and The New York Times.

We’ve heard a lot of talk about climate denial in the media. But underreporting and outright silence are a major problems too. Most Americans want, and deserve, more and better information about the story of the century – the threat of climate change and what we can do about it David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program