Day 13: Push the media
Today's action: Asking TV news to cover climate better
Today, we’re pushing to improve coverage of climate change by TV news shows. Take a few minutes to send an email to your favorite nightly news or morning show and ask them to increase and improve their climate change coverage. (See tips below for contact info and which one to contact if you don't watch any TV news.)
Here’s a draft message to make it easier. Just copy, paste, modify (if you'd like), and send:
SAMPLE MESSAGE → Hi, I’m writing about your coverage of climate change. I’m deeply concerned about climate change, and am dismayed by the relative lack of coverage of such an existential threat.
I write to ask you to continue to increase the breadth and depth of your climate change coverage, including by: linking the climate crisis to severe weather events; reminding viewers that there is unequivocal scientific consensus that climate change is caused by humans, due primarily to the burning of coal, oil, and gas; highlighting the dire consequences of continued political inaction; and offering solutions-oriented journalism.
I also ask that you please feature a diverse group of guests in your climate change coverage. Thank you!
To contact the TV networks, your best bet is sending a message via their online forms. For NBC news shows, use this link. For ABC News, use this link and choose "submit programming feedback." For CBS news shows, use this link (but for this form, you may have to type your message directly in the form instead of copying and pasting the message).
If you don't watch any TV news, send a message to ABC News by clicking here. (See screenshot at bottom of this post if you need further guidance.)
Why this action? TV news shows routinely ignore climate change, which is bad because lots of Americans (and people in other countries) get their news from television. Although many media outlets are now trying to increase their climate coverage, they need to up their game. After failing to sufficiently cover climate change for decades, mainstream media is now failing to consistently convey that we’re in a true climate emergency. Not so helpful at a moment when we need all hands on deck!
Looking for more? Read on for more info and actions.
Learn and reflect:
For more on US media inattention to climate change, read this 2019 article (“The media are complacent while the world burns”), as well as this article (spoiler: in 2019, major news networks devoted less than 1% of their coverage to climate change!) and this study (spoiler: networks’ coverage DECREASED in 2020).
But! They’re improving! Many media outlets are now partnering with Covering Climate Now to improve their climate coverage. And national news networks did better with their coverage in 2021 (though there’s still a lot of room for improvement).
If you haven’t seen it yet, the movie Don’t Look Up, which came out at the end of 2021, is a satire that skewers the media and politicians for their inattention to a crisis that threatens the fate of humanity. It got mixed reviews, but climate scientists and climate writers say that it seemed all too real.
Check out AllForClimate’s seven recommendations for media regarding climate coverage.
If you notice inaccurate or insufficient reporting on climate, call the media out! Send an email or message, flag the problem on social media, or write a letter to the editor. (See here for tips on writing letters to the editor.)
Check if your favorite news organization has signed the Covering Climate Now statement on the climate emergency. If not, write and ask that they sign on.
Sign the petition asking ABC to do more to cover the climate emergency (you can do this even if you wrote them for your daily action!).
Read and support media and journalists providing good climate change coverage and analysis. Some options:
Heated newsletter by journalist Emily Atkin
Drilled News, which provides reporting focused on climate accountability
Covering Climate Now, which helps media produce more informed climate stories
Floodlight News, an environmental news collaborative that partners with journalists and investigates corporate interests that prevent climate action
If you're trying to submit feedback to ABC but need help, do this:
Once on that page, choose "submit programming feedback" as seen in this screenshot:
Fill out the form. For "brand," pick "ABC News." For "shows," pick either "ABC World News tonight" or "ABC News other." Add your message to the "description" field. And then hit "submit"!