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Friday, October 21, 2016

There is no longer any legitimate debate that climate change is having dramatic effects on Planet Earth — except on cable news.

While 97 percent of climate scientists agree that the Earth’s temperature is warming due to human activities, a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists finds that CNN, MSNBC, and especially Fox News are failing to reflect the scientific consensus.

According to the report, released Monday, much of the major networks’ coverage has been abysmal. MSNBC has the best record of the three; it ran 132 segments mentioning climate science in 2013, 92 percent of which were accurate.

CNN covered climate science 43 times, and 70 percent of its coverage was accurate.

Fox News brought up the rear; it ran 50 segments on climate change, just 28 percent of which were truthful.

UCS chart

The networks also varied in the ways in which they misled viewers. All 11 misleading segments on MSNBC overstated the effects of climate change. By contrast, the majority of CNN’s misleading coverage came in debates that falsely suggested that there is no scientific consensus on the issue; according to the report, if CNN had avoided these debates altogether, its overall accuracy would have increased to 86 percent.

Fox News also aired many misleading debates, in addition to dozens of segments that understated climate change’s impact. On 12 separate occassions, Fox News hosts and guests openly disparaged climate science itself.

Fox’s coverage was not equally terrible across the board; in fact, one particular show — The Five — accounted for a full 53 percent of the network’s misleading coverage in 2013. According to the report, if The Five didn’t exist, Fox News’ accuracy rating would have been 45 percent.

Shockingly, Fox News’ dismal 28 percent accuracy in covering climate science is actually a major improvement from 2012. That year, only 7 percent of the network’s coverage was accurate.

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ study used Lexis-Nexis to search CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC transcripts for the terms “climate change” or “global warming” between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013. The study’s full methodology can be read here.

Screenshot: YouTube

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Sand_Cat

    How can someone “overstate” the effects of climatic warming when almost all qualified scientists say it’s difficult to predict the effects accounting for all the unknowns other than that they’re almost certain to be bad and likely worse than originally thought, especially given the indifference with which the warnings about them have been greeted by those with the power to do something about them.

  • JDavidS

    28% was accurate? There’ll be hell to pay at Faux Noise…They’ll want to know just why was it so damned high! They keep this nonsense up and they’ll soon get a reputation as being “Fair and Balanced”!

    • johninPCFL

      Yeah, ya gotta ‘member they came UP from 7%.

  • paulyz

    Actually there have been studies that show MSNBC is 85%Opinion and 15% facts, while Fox News & CNN are 80 to 85% Facts and only 15 to 20% Opinion. Again, more misleading statements by the National Memo.

    • Bill Thompson

      You would need to vote up for yourself, no one else will.

      • BillP

        Bill this is the same bs. pauyz wrote a couple of weeks ago. He will never offer proof or reply to people questioning his unfounded and ignorant comments. He always is the only up vote on what he writes.

    • Billie

      Actually, there have been several studies of Fox news and they all came up with the same findings. If you only watch fox news and nothing else, then you are either uninformed or misinformed.

  • jointerjohn

    Because they all make the largest portion of their money offering “infotainment” rather than news, they despise consensus. Conflict and controversy keep the subject up and lively, so bringing on crackpots to take cheap shots at anything is good for ratings. Sort of the factual news meets Jerry Springer approach.

  • Pirates44

    When liberals start selling their beach homes for pennies on the dollar I might considered believing in the “seas are rising”. The average Americans are really seeing the bogus in manmade global warming doctrine or is it climate change now ….sounds more like a cult. Historical data has shown catastrophic events such as volcanic or astronomical events caused climate changes is certain regions of the world or has alter earth climate. The only manmade event that equals the power to alter earth’s climate would be total nuclear war and then no one would survive to say I told you so.

    • DennisRL

      I usually just ignore people like you because you’re foolish and ignorant. You sound like someone probably sounded back in the middle ages when people who didn’t know any better made fun of science and put all their faith in religion. Let me get this straight. Your willing to discount the 97% of scientists who obviously know a heck of a lot more that you and do nothing about climate change therefore dooming your children and grandchildren to a world that we can’t imagine. Wouldn’t it be better to support doing all you can to save the planet even if you’re right rather than doing nothing and being wrong and causing global calamity. Your thinking is totally illogical.