Curtis Houck, who documents liberal media for the Media Research Center, says climate change stories are a natural fit for the news media. That is because doom-and-gloom stories interest reporters who know those stories will get noticed. So reporting on another forest fire or a hurricane, and blaming it on climate change, is hard to resist.
“They take individual weather events – hurricanes, an individual flood, a wildfire – and say this thing happened because of manmade climate change,” Houck complains.
That tactic is not isolated to the news media because climate activists do it, too, but a grim-faced reporter can report live from a scene of devastation and tell viewers their lifestyle is responsible for a charred neighborhood in California and a wiped-out city block along the Gulf Coast.
“There’s no accountability,” Houck tells AFN. “ABC said in 2008 that New York City could be underwater by climate change in 2015. Well, here we are in September 2023 and that, obviously, has not been the case.”
Trump vs 'political will'
During his one term in office, when terrible fires swept across California year after year, President Donald Trump blamed the state’s environmental-obsessed leaders for failing to thin tens of millions of acres with prescribed burns. Trump was mocked and criticized for doing so in stories by the BBC News, Politico, NPR, The New York Times, PBS, and others.
“Trump ignores climate science in California wildfires briefing,” blared a PBS headline in September 2020.
In that tense meeting, with the “smell of California’s wildfires in the air” according to PBS, Trump angered and frustrated state officials when he refused to blame climate change. Joe Biden, then running for the White House, called Trump a “climate arsonist” for denying climate change was the cause of the destruction.
One year later, after Trump was out of office, an NPR story reported California had signed an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to reduce vegetation on 1 million acres of public land. That agreement was just a start, the liberal news outlet admitted, because there were “tens of millions of acres” statewide to burn. A lack of “political will” was among the reasons for failing to do so, the story said.
Compare that admission to an NBC News story published last week. In a segment about California's "megafires" and climate change, the news network lauded CalMatters reporter Julie Cart for a four-part series that praised California's exhausted and overworked Cal Fire firefighters. Those firefighters are experiencing mental health challenges due to their demanding, non-stop work, NBC News said, and the reason they are being worked so hard is because of climate change.
Cart's reporting on the firefighters won her a "Covering Climate Now" journalism award.
“Audiences need to know not only that the planet is on fire but why that’s happening and what can be done about it," Kyle Pope, publisher of Columbia Journalism Review, said of Cart's reporting.