Look, we like U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D–Hawaii. In fact, we can’t really think of any substantive issue in which we disagree. But the news release his office sent out today–damn, we just don’t now.
Apparently, there’s a new Media Matters report out that says broadcast TV networks just aren’t covering climate change in any rational, concerted effort (Wow, who knew?). Anyway, Sen. Schatz thinks this is just bogus, and wants it to stop. He even sent out a news release today with this very long quote from him just going off on network news:
In a year when nearly 200 countries around the world collectively recognized the threat of climate change and the United States made historic commitments to cut carbon pollution, major networks actually cut their media coverage of climate change. In 2015, the network Sunday shows devoted just 73 minutes to climate change, a ten percent decrease from the year before. What makes these findings even more troubling is the fact that with the little time devoted to climate change, these Sunday shows continued to mislead their audiences by including climate denial as part of the discussion. The facts are clear. Scientists, governments, and major corporations around the world have accepted the facts about climate change and are having real debates on solutions. In this consequential election year, it’s time for news broadcasters to do the same.
Hey, we like “facts” and “scientists” as much as the next guy, but has Sen. Schatz actually watched the TV news lately? Hell, the only person in the country that seems to understand modern TV news judgment these days is Donald Trump, and all he’s doing is running for president as Benito Mussolini but with one of those Star Trek Tribbles stapled to his scalp.
See, Trump understands what’s important to TV news–as true now as the earliest days, when viewers around the world first turned on the box in 1936 and saw Adolf Hitler’s mug at the Olympics: ratings beat everything. Trump dominates the news because he says and does outrageous, horrific things. And climate change gets the shaft because it’s based on scientific hypotheses and analyses that frighten TV news execs worse than any horror movie.
Now in 50 years, when climate change has led to vastly more superstorms and rising sea levels that have lay waste to the world’s coastlines and caused devastating food shortages and chaos, then maybe climate change will start playing a bigger role in TV news. But until then, American television media will content themselves to the garbage fire that is the Republican Party’s flirtation with fascism and whatever new developments spring up in the OJ Simpson case.
Of course, we can all just turn off the television and read newspapers and magazines and other sources of journalism, but where’s the fun in that?
Photo of Sen. Schatz: U.S. Senate/Wikimedia Commons