Cold Shoulder for Global Warming on Sunday TV

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 – A group of senators today asked network television executives why there has been “shockingly little discussion” about global warming on Sunday morning broadcast network news and interview programs.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) cited a new Media Matters for America study which found that only 27 minutes of air time was devoted to discussions about climate change during all of last year on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday – combined.

What the report called “paltry” coverage was a slight improvement over earlier years. Media Matters counted eight minutes of air time on climate change in 2012, down from nine minutes in 2011.

“Given the widely recognized challenge that climate change poses to the nation and the world, this is an absurdly short amount of time for a subject of such importance,” the senators said in a letter to network executives.

The letter also was signed by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate environment committee, and by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

All of the senators who signed the letter are members of a newly formed Senate Climate Action Task Force.

The letter cited the virtually unanimous view by scientists that climate change is occurring and that it poses the most serious environmental crisis facing the planet.

The senators noted that big oil and coal companies spend significant amounts of money advertising on the commercial television networks. “We hope that this is not influencing your decision about the subjects discussed or the guests who appear on your network programming,” they said. 

To read the letter, click here.