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MRC Research Director Rich Noyes on Fox Business Network at 5:55 p.m. ET

Facts Frozen Out: Network News and Global Warming


The theory that the earth is catastrophically heating up because of industrial pollution has become one of the leading environmental topics on network television news. Global warming is a highly controversial issue, with most climate scientists unconvinced that human actions are warming the planet, or that such warming would even be harmful. Such views, however, do not make it into newscasts. Instead, as with so many other issues, global warming is usually portrayed in a science-and-activists-versus-industry paradigm.

Media Research Center analysts reviewed all of the stories about global warming on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN World News (The World Today, after March 1996), and NBC Nightly News from January, 1993 through October, 1997. Researchers found 48 stories, which were not evenly distributed throughout the years. Global warming has become a bigger story lately, with more stories so far in 1997 (26) than in all of the other years combined (22). The heavy coverage so far in 1997 has been a result of White House public relations activities, such as inviting of the nation's local television weathermen for a presidential briefing. In 1993 and 1994, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House but didn't push for action on global warming, the networks were largely silent.