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Many Media Outlets Gave Cold Shoulder to Major Climate Policy Story

Jan. 10, 2019

Many Media Outlets Gave Cold Shoulder to Major Climate Policy Story

Report Finds Many National Media Outlets Glossed Over the Green New Deal in Late 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite numerous high-profile congressional candidates running, and winning, on a “Green New Deal,” and a surge of post-election interest and advocacy in creating a select committee on the proposal, many major media outlets gave it scant coverage, according to a report released today by Public Citizen.

From Nov. 1 to Dec. 27, major news networks largely ignored the proposal – that a U.S. House committee draft a plan to fix the climate crisis within 10 years of enactment using a program of clean energy jobs, infrastructure overhauls and other measures – during their morning and 4 p.m. to midnight blocks, with the exception of Fox News, which ran eight segments mentioning it. MSNBC ran three and ABC one. During the same period, only half of the top 50 U.S. newspapers printed anything that mentioned the proposal, with two of 25 papers running only letters to the editor.

A December poll conducted by researchers at Yale University and George Mason University found that 82 percent of registered voters had not heard of the Green New Deal, but that strong bipartisan majorities supported policies that likely would be included in such a package.

“The surge of interest in a Green New Deal was one of the most significant climate change stories of 2018, and many media outlets gave it little or no attention,” said David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “Climate change is one of the most urgent and terrible threats that humanity faces, and polls show that most Americans are concerned about it and a strong bipartisan majority supports solutions. It would be much easier to win those solutions if media outlets would give it the coverage that it merits.”

The report focuses on media coverage of the policy from the beginning of November until Dec. 28, when then-presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi effectively rejected calls for a House Select Committee on the proposal. Instead, she announced that she would form a different type of select committee on climate change. The report also provides analysis of mentions of the Green New Deal for all of 2018.

Read the full report.