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Major news networks devoted less than 4 hours to climate change in 2019. Total.

When it comes to climate change, television news is covering little more than the tip of the iceberg.

That’s according to a just-released report from Media Matters for America, which found that global warming garnered a tiny sliver — well under 1 percent — of overall broadcast news coverage. The progressive research nonprofit also found that, while these news outlets did cover climate change more often in 2019 than in the year prior, the quality of coverage was “generally shallow.” And when it came to giving voice to those hit first and worst by extreme weather and other climate-related disasters, the networks fell short: People of color were “massively underrepresented” in coverage.

“In spite of the increase in coverage from 2018 to 2019, climate coverage as a whole still made up only 0.6% of overall corporate broadcast TV nightly news in 2019, showing that these programs’ climate coverage does not adequately reflect the urgency and severity of the climate crisis,” the report found.

The study analyzed four nightly news programs and four Sunday morning political shows, focusing both on segments devoted to climate change as well as substantial mentions of the topic in other segments. Yet even with significant year-to-year increases in coverage — for example, a 180 percent increase in climate coverage on nightly news in 2019 compared to 2018 — corporate broadcasters failed to substantially improve the overall quantity and quality of their climate coverage, according to Media Matters.

The analysis focused on four nightly news programs — ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC’s Nightly News, and public broadcaster PBS’s NewsHour — as well as four Sunday morning political shows: ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday. Media Matters has produced variations of this analysis annually since at least 2012, including reports in 2018 and 2017.

Among the report’s key findings for 2019:

Although the volume of climate change coverage on the corporate broadcast nightly and Sunday morning news shows increased 68 percent from 2018 to 2019 (142 minutes to 238 minutes), the report noted that this was not difficult to achieve because the amount of coverage in 2018 was “so pitiful” that news shows had a low bar to meet the following year. This climate coverage represented just .07 percent of the overall broadcast nightly and Sunday morning news shows in 2019.

When it came to racial and gender diversity in their climate coverage, Media Matters found that broadcast television also failed: People of color were “massively underrepresented” as news guests, even though communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Just 10 percent of guests interviewed or featured in these news segments were people of color, and 2019 was the third year in a row that representation came in at this percentage or lower.

Scientists and women were also underrepresented by broadcasters, comprising 22 and 27 percent of guests, respectively. Women of color were featured even less prominently — a troubling reminder that women “typically play second fiddle to white men” in discussions of climate change, according to Media Matters. “A lack of women’s voices in media coverage of climate change is part of a pattern of racism and sexism that these broadcast networks need to address,” the report stated.

Not all of the findings in Wednesday’s report were grim. In 2019, more than a third of climate segments on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox mentioned solutions or actions to address climate change — a significant increase over the previous two years. The broadcasters focused most often on climate adaptation and renewable energy technologies when discussing solutions, but advocacy and direct action, such as youth climate activism, were also featured. The report cited studies showing that media coverage of climate change solutions can help spur collective action from viewers. “Much of this shift in public debate to talking about solutions is being driven by TV weathercasters, who are often trusted and knowledgeable members of local news,” the study added.

Media Matters praised PBS NewsHour for its climate coverage, noting that it has outpaced its broadcast counterparts in climate reporting for the past six years. PBS Newshour aired 121 climate segments in 2019, an average of 10 segments per month. “This is more coverage than we found from the ABC, CBS and NBC nightly news shows combined,” the report found.

The analysis also found that climate change coverage last year was driven in large part by reporting on the Green New Deal congressional resolution, extreme weather, climate activism, and the 2020 presidential election. Coverage of climate activism, which comprised about 16 percent of the overall climate coverage from these broadcasters, focused in large part on activist Greta Thunberg and climate strikes, which took place across the globe last year. The report also found that broadcasters did a “pretty poor job overall” covering the connection between climate change and specific extreme weather events.

Media Matters is hardly alone in its withering analysis of major media coverage of climate change — and news outlets’ failure to link global warming to wildfires and other extreme weather events that are becoming the new normal.

Some of those critics are starting to offer solutions. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor Leah C. Stokes and Ph.D. candidate Emily Williams have compiled a concise fact sheet intended to help journalists and citizens understand the scientific evidence linking climate change to wildfires. They are also working on a project with Climate Signals, a science information project from the nonprofit Climate Nexus, to help journalists more easily access academic journal articles on climate change, which are typically behind paywalls, according to a radio interview Stokes gave in September.

As Grist recently reported in a story about how local journalists are tackling climate coverage, a comprehensive approach to covering climate change should include going beyond analyzing the evidence supporting global warming. John Morales, a meteorologist at NBC6 in Miami, Florida, has been covering climate change for decades. He said that local news needs to cover “how fast things are changing, the links between the observed symptoms and causes of rising temperatures, and move on to ‘what do we do about this?’”

As Media Matters made clear on Wednesday, Morales is way ahead of television’s largest news providers.

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Major news networks devoted less than 4 hours to climate change in 2019. Total.

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Donald Trump and Amy Klobuchar threw down over climate change this weekend

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In the midst of a snowstorm on Sunday, Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that she is adding her name to a growing list of 2020 presidential hopefuls. It only took a few hours for President Trump to weigh in on her race.

During her speech, the Minnesota Democrat included some details about her climate platform, saying that she would rejoin the Paris climate agreement on her first day as president. The 2020 contender also pledged to “reinstate the clean power rules and the gas mileage standards and put forth sweeping legislation to invest in green jobs and infrastructure” during her first 100 days in office.

Klobuchar didn’t say anything about the Green New Deal during her announcement, but the senator, like many of her fellow Democratic contenders, is a sponsor of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and Senator Ed Markey’s recently introduced resolution calling for an economy-wide mobilization against climate change.

President Trump, who has a much different environmental record, took to Twitter hours after Klobuchar’s speech to belittle the candidate for bringing up climate change in the middle of a snowstorm. “Amy Klobuchar announced that she is running for President, talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard of snow, ice and freezing temperatures,” he tweeted, adding that she looked like a “Snowman(woman)!”

It didn’t take long for Klobuchar to hit back at the president. “I’m sorry if it still snows in the world but the point is that we know climate change is happening,” she said Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

If Trump didn’t catch her response on ABC, he probably saw her clapback on Twitter.

Don’t bring a combover to a climate fight, buddy!

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Donald Trump and Amy Klobuchar threw down over climate change this weekend

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Here’s a List of the Information Trump Has Promised but Not Released

Mother Jones

As the allegations of sexual assault piled up against Donald Trump this week, the Republican nominee promised that he would release a trove of exculpatory evidence “at the appropriate time.” On Friday morning, running mate Mike Pence said this other shoe would drop within “hours” and this information would disprove Trump’s accusers. By the end of the day, the only information that Trump produced was thin and bizarre.

The Trump campaign put forward a British man who claimed to have a “photographic memory” and who told the New York Post that he was on the flight with Trump and one of Trump’s accusers 30-plus years ago, that he remembered the entire incident, and that her story of being groped by Trump while sitting next to the mogul in the first class section was not true. The Brit claimed nothing had happened during the entire flight. (A Trump spokeswoman had previously claimed that Trump did not fly on commercial airlines during the 1980s, so this seemed to prove that Trump’s account was wrong.) The British fellow would have been about 18-years-old at the time and didn’t explain why he had been flying first-class. And two years ago, he generated British headlines by claiming that when he was 17 he procured young men for sex parties with British politicians. The Trump campaign also released a statement from the cousin of an accuser who had appeared on The Apprentice, and this man asserted that his cousin had for years not complained about Trump and had only raised these allegations after Trump recently declined an invitation to visit her restaurant.

None of this was the firm proof that Trump had promised. And this wasn’t the first time that Trump has vowed to release information and then failed to produce the goods. Here’s a quick guide:

Tax returns: At the height of his birther crusade in 2011, Trump offered a challenge to President Barack Obama: if the commander-in-chief released his long-form birth certificate, Trump would put out his tax returns. Obama did release a long-form birth certificate, after which point Trump told ABC that he would release his taxes “at the appropriate time.” That time never came.

Tax returns again: In January Trump said on Meet the Press that he would release his tax returns imminently. “We’re working on that now,” he said. “I have big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we’ll be working that over in the next period of time.” But after a month passed and he still hadn’t produced his tax returns, Trump said at a Republican primary debate that he couldn’t release his tax returns because he was under audit. (The IRS has said that an audit would not prevent Trump from releasing the returns.) Running mate Mike Pence and top surrogate Ben Carson have both said Trump will release the returns at “the appropriate time.” Which brings us to…

Proof he’s being audited: Trump promised to release a letter proving that he was under audit. In March, in response to to repeated inquiries and promises to release documentation pertaining to the audit, Trump produced a letter from his lawyer (dated three weeks earlier) saying that his returns from 2009 until the present were under review by the IRS. But Trump’s lawyers are paid by Trump. He has not produced any correspondence from the IRS that would confirm an audit was under way.

List of creditors: When NBC News’ Lester Holt asked Trump at the first presidential debate why he had not released his tax returns, Trump made a counteroffer: he would release a list of his creditors instead. “I could give you a list of banks,” he said. “I would—if that would help you, I would give you a list of banks. These are very fine institutions, very fine banks. I could do that very quickly.” Three weeks later, though, Trump has still not released that list.

Secret information in Hawaii: In 2011 Trump claimed to have sent investigators to Hawaii to uncover the truth about Obama’s birth certificate, and he said he would release the results of their investigation “at a certain point in time.” No grand announcement ever came. “He’ll reveal it when the time is right,” Tana Goertz, the co-chair of Trump campaign’s in Iowa, told MSNBC last summer. “If they found something, it will come out. The time isn’t right, and guess what? Mr. Trump does what he wants and he’s not going to do it on our time. He’s going to do it when the timing is perfectly strategic and it’s not now and it wasn’t the place for him to say it.”

Melania’s immigration documents: Following reports that Melania Trump had (illegally) worked in the United States under a tourist visa in the 1990s, Trump vowed to hold a press conference featuring his wife to set the record straight. No press conference ever occurred. Weeks later, the Trump campaign released a statement from her lawyer, but it was accompanied by no corroborating documents.

Medical records: In September, as Trump was claiming that Hillary Clinton was in poor health, ABC’ News’ David Muir asked why he didn’t release his own medical records. “I might do that, I might do that,” Trump said. “In fact, now that you ask, I think I will do that. I’d love to give full reports.” Trump had previously released a one-page letter from his gastroenterologist that was widely dismissed by medical experts as odd and unprofessional, and he later revealed additional medical details (from the same doctor) on Dr. Oz’s television show. But Trump has yet to produce a full medical report.

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Here’s a List of the Information Trump Has Promised but Not Released

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Watch This GOP Commentator Brutally Take Down Trump

Mother Jones

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Ana Navarro, a political commentator for CNN, ABC, and Telemundo, went off on former Donald Trump advisor Michael Caputo after he denied that Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants were racist.

“Ana, for you to sit here and call Donald Trump a flat out racist is outrageous,” Caputo said during a heated debate on Wednesday’s CNN Tonight.

Navarro doubled down, calling Donald Trump a racist not just in one language, but two. “Es un racista,” she said. “He is a bigot, he is a racist, he is a misogynist.” She later went on to Twitter to reinforce her views on the Republican candidate:

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Watch This GOP Commentator Brutally Take Down Trump

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Australia’s mangrove die-off was the worst one ever

down underwater

Australia’s mangrove die-off was the worst one ever

By on Jul 11, 2016Share

“G’day, mate!” is not something you want to say to Australia’s mangroves right now. And that’s not just because trees can’t speak to humans. It’s because they recently experienced their worst devastation in recorded history.

Aerial surveys reveal that the mangrove die-off spans more than 400 miles in the Gulf of Carpentaria along Australia’s northern coast, ABC reports. Mangroves — trees and shrubs that grow along the coast where the tide comes in — were already stressed out thanks to erratic rainfall and warming temperatures caused by climate change, and El Niño was the final straw.

It’s just one more way things are not looking bright Down Under. This year, massive coral bleaching killed off nearly a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef’s corals, and last week, we found 90 percent of kelp forests had been wiped out on Australia’s western coast.

Mangroves play a vital role in coastal ecosystems. They protect shorelines from erosion, shelter coral reefs, filter water that runs into the ocean, and are home to many fish species. Some affected mangroves areas may transition to salt pans — the ocean equivalent of a desert.

Mangroves, we’re going to miss you and your groovy intertidal moves.

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This week’s deadly flooding in Houston is just the beginning

A scene from 2015’s disastrous floods in Houston. REUTERS/Lee Celano

This week’s deadly flooding in Houston is just the beginning

By on Apr 19, 2016commentsShare

Houston is in the throes of a flood that is, according to recent headlines, “historic,” “deadly,” and “unprecedented.”

None of that is hyperbole. As of Tuesday, the floods had killed at least six people, destroyed miles of homes and highways, and displaced hundreds of residents. More than 17 inches of rain had fallen in Texas’ Harris County since the previous morning, according to ABC News. And it wasn’t over yet: The National Weather Service issued flood warnings into late Tuesday night. (Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner helpfully commented that there was “nothing you can do” in the face of “a lot of rain coming in a very short period of time.”)

Flooding has become an annual hazard in the city, which sits at just 43 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, it’s very likely that the situation will only worsen.

For starters, when floodwaters begin to recede, they bring their own set of hazards and dangers. A spokesperson for the American Red Cross noted the extreme toxicity of floodwater, reports ABC News, which constitutes a sludge of debris from cars, houses, and infrastructure — not to mention overflow from contaminated waterways like Texas’ Blanco River. The rising waters also disrupted wildlife — officials warned that aggressive snakes washing up on people’s properties were a risk factor. During cleanup, Houstonians will be exposed to a Pandora’s Box of mold and airborne toxins that could aggravate asthma or respiratory illness.

Plus, Houston is woefully underprepared for natural disasters, as an investigation by ProPublica and Texas Monthly revealed in March. The investigation, which relied on predictive meteorological models, found that the near-miss of Hurricane Ike in 2008 was a relative blessing for the city that no one should bank on occurring again. According to scientists interviewed for the project, the odds of Houston’s “perfect storm” happening in a given year exceed that of being killed in a car crash or by a firearm — both of which are fairly common occurrences in the U.S.

According to ProPublica, Houston is the fourth-largest American city and a major industrial hub that contains the country’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the Houston Ship Channel, and multiple rapidly expanding residential areas. If the storm hits at the wrong spot, all of those place would be at risk of being underwater or severely damaged by flooding. That’s a scenario that would halt supply chains all over the country and wreak havoc on the American economy.

But experts told media outlets this week that there was no way that Houston could prepare in time. “Could we have engineered our way out of this?” said Rice University engineer Philip Bedient, quoted in the Guardian. “Only if we started talking about alterations 35 or 40 years ago.”

Bedient went on to say that the best that Houston could hope for for was a good warning system. NASA might want to get on that — if only certain presidential candidates wouldn’t get in its way.



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In the future, you may never have to do laundry again

take a load off

In the future, you may never have to do laundry again

By on 24 Mar 2016commentsShare

Get a load of this: Coming soon to a closet near you, clothes that clean themselves.

That reality is inching closer with new research from Australia’s RMIT University, where scientists have been testing nanotechnology that eats away at grime on fabric.

The secret behind this technology: silver and copper-based nanostructures. When these itty-bitty structures are exposed to light, they create “hot electrons” — a tiny burst of energy that can break down organic matter. The researchers found they could durably attach these nanostructures to material by immersing the fabric in certain solutions. Later, when this nano-enhanced, crud-covered textile is exposed to light from the sun or a lightbulb, poof! Within six to 10 minutes, the fabric starts to clean itself.

This is all exciting because way we wash our clothes now isn’t perfect. Washing machines use up precious H2O, dryers are huge energy wasters, and detergents can leach a troubling concoction of chemicals into the water supply. If nanostructures can be cheaply produced, using less energy and water than all those endless spin cycles, they might spare us a whole load of dirty fossil fuel emissions.

But don’t toss out your vintage washtub and antique clothespin collection — I mean, “washer and dryer” — just yet. While these results could be the first inklings of the self-cleaning textile revolution, the technology isn’t ready to roll out on an industrial scale.

Meanwhile, the Australian team is looking into other super-fabrics. Next up, according to ABC: Seeing if similar nanotechnology could be used to create antibacterial materials (or should we say, “anti-bactematerials”? No? OK, we won’t) to fight superbugs.


Nanotechnology self-cleaning clothes are on the way, RMIT University researchers say

, ABC.


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There’s More Global Warming Coverage on Your Television

But that’s not always a good thing. A 2014 debate on NBC’s Meet the Press between Bill Nye and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a climate change denying Republican Screenshot: NBC News Here’s some good news: According to a new study, the major broadcast news networks are covering climate change more than they have in years. Now here’s the bad news: Much of that coverage includes misleading arguments from commentators who reject the scientific consensus that humans are warming the planet. The new analysis is set to be released Wednesday by the liberal group Media Matters for America. (Disclosure: I used to work there.) Media Matters reviewed 2014 climate coverage from the evening newscasts and Sunday morning talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Company. All told, the networks devoted 154 minutes to global warming last year—up 19 percent compared to 2013 and far more than any year since 2009. That increase is a big deal. Millions of Americans watch the networks’ evening news shows. And the Sunday shows—ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox News Sunday—frequently set the agenda for the week’s political reporting elsewhere in the media. The networks have been under pressure in recent years to pay more attention to the climate. After Media Matters reported last year that the Sunday shows had aired a combined total of just 27 minutes of climate change coverage in all of 2013, a group of Democratic senators sent a letter to network executives calling for a greater focus on the issue. They got their wish: In 2014, the Sunday shows tripled their global warming coverage to a combined total of 81 minutes. Each of the shows devoted about 20 minutes to climate. Among the evening news shows, CBS led the way with 35 minutes of climate reporting, followed by NBC with 25 minutes, and ABC with just 13 minutes. (Fox’s broadcast network, which is separate from the Fox News cable channel, doesn’t have an evening news program.) Of course, sheer quantity isn’t the only—or even the most important—measure of climate change reporting. For years, news outlets have been plagued by a tendency to balance the scientific fact that we’re warming the Earth with the very unscientific arguments of those who disagree. That was certainly the case on the Sunday shows last year. Nearly two-thirds of the climate coverage on NBC’s Meet the Press featured discussions that Media Matters classified as “false balance.” That included a debate between science educator Bill Nye and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who used the opportunity to argue that there is no scientific consensus on global warming. Both Nye and moderator David Gregory pushed back against Blackburn’s claims, but many viewers may have been confused by the segment. A far worse discussion aired on Fox News Sunday, where Washington Postcolumnist George Will and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel rattled off a series of climate denial talking points, with little pushback from anyone on the panel. “Of course the climate is changing; it’s always changing,” said Will. “[Global warming] became climate change when you couldn’t prove that there was much global warming anymore…as the temperature didn’t change,” said Strassel. In all, nearly half of the 2014 climate coverage on both Fox News Sunday and ABC’S This Week featured false balance, according to Media Matters. Of the four Sunday shows, only CBS’s Face the Nation managed to avoid false balance entirely. “The networks continue to provide a platform for climate science deniers—despite the fact that 97 percent of climate scientists agree human activities are causing global warming,” said Andrew Seifter, the director of Media Matters’ climate and energy program, in a statement. “We hope that the networks will better inform their viewers by putting an end to this false balance in 2015.” More here – There’s More Global Warming Coverage on Your Television

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Here’s a List of People to Follow on Twitter for the Latest on the Australian Hostage Crisis

Mother Jones

An armed assailant is holding an unconfirmed number of hostages in a cafe in downtown Sydney. Police have evacuated the area and are locking down a pedestrian thoroughfare, Martin Place. Here is a partial list of people and organizations you can follow on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the ongoing hostage crisis:

Buzzfeed Australia‘s breaking news reporter Mark Di Stefano is on the scene.
Channel 9 journalist Caroline Marcus is doing a great job covering the unfolding events.

Guardian Australia‘s Bridie Jabour has been running that site’s live blog and beta-testing the facts as they emerge.
Sydney police reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Lucy Carter, is also on the scene and tweeting.

Jess Hill is also doing a great job fact-checking the news as it breaks.

Cath Turner, a reporter for Seven News, a television company with studios within walking distance of the cafe.
You should already be following the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Mark Colvin for everything Australia-related.
For political ramifications, Fairfax reporter Latika Bourke is a great go-to.
The Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Newspaper
The New South Wales police, who are taking the lead on operations

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Here’s a List of People to Follow on Twitter for the Latest on the Australian Hostage Crisis

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The country could supply all of California with water if we fixed our leaky pipes

Water Woes

The country could supply all of California with water if we fixed our leaky pipes


As if California didn’t already have enough water issues to worry about right now, last week Los Angeles lost more than 20 million gallons – a day’s worth for at least 100,000 people – when a pipe that was installed a century ago finally broke. But it turns out geriatric pipes aren’t just a problem for the City of Angels. Aging infrastructure means that nationwide, pipes hemorrhage seven billion gallons of treated drinking water each day; enough to meet the daily water needs of the entire state of California.

From ABC News:

Much of the piping that carries drinking water in the country dates to the first half of the 20th century, with some installed before Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House.

Age inevitably takes a toll. There are 240,000 breaks a year, according to the National Association of Water Companies, a problem compounded by stress from an increasing population and budget crunches that slow the pace of replacement.

Which is why the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. water infrastructure a D grade last year, and the EPA says we need a $384 billion upgrade. Or, you know, as ASCE said in their report, we could do nothing and live with water shortages and higher rates.

Anybody know a good plumber?

Century-Old Pipe Break Points to National Problem, ABC News

Samantha Larson is a science nerd, adventure enthusiast, and fellow at Grist. Follow her on Twitter.

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The country could supply all of California with water if we fixed our leaky pipes

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