CNN Viewers See Far More Fossil Fuel Advertising Than Climate Reporting
By Kevin Kalhoefer
CNN aired almost five times as much oil industry advertising as climate change-related coverage in the one-week periods following the announcements that 2015 was the hottest year on record and February 2016 was the most abnormally hot month on record.
Specifically, CNN aired 23.5 minutes of American Petroleum Institute ads during its morning, afternoon and primetime coverage over those two weeks, compared to just five minutes of coverage about climate change or the temperature records. That disparity does not even account for dozens of Koch Industries ads that also ran on CNN, which were not energy-focused but did serve to boost the image of the oil billionaire Koch brothers' primary corporation.
Federal Agencies Announced Two Major Global Temperature Records
In January, NASA and NOAA Independently Confirmed 2015 Was Hottest Year on Record.
On Jan. 20, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that they had each independently determined that 2015 was the hottest year on record. In an online article, CNN.com reported: “While it wasn't necessarily a surprise that 2015 finished in first place, its margin of victory was startling—it lapped the field, with the average temperature across the entire planet 1.62 F (0.90 C) above the 20th century average, more than 20 percent higher than the previous highest departure from average." A NASA press release on the announcement noted that the increase in the earth's temperature since the late 19th century has been “largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere." [CNN.com, 1/20/16; NASA, 1/20/16]
In March, NASA and NOAA Determined That February 2016 Was the Most Unusually Hot Month on Record.
On March 17, NOAA released data showing that “[t]he combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for February 2016" was not only “the highest for February in the 137-year period of record," but also “surpassed the all-time monthly record" set in December 2015. As Time magazine reported, “NOAA's findings confirm those released earlier this month by NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency that both show February as the most unusually hot month on record." [NOAA, Global Analysis—February 2016, accessed 4/25/16; Time, 3/17/16]
After NASA and NOAA Announcements, CNN Aired Almost Five Times More Fossil Fuel Advertising Than Coverage of Climate Change and Global Temperature Milestones
Following Temperature Records, Big Oil Ads Outpaced Climate-Related Coverage on CNN By Nearly 5-To-1
This analysis examined CNN's morning, daytime and primetime (4 a.m. to midnight ET) coverage for the one-week periods following the announcements that 2015 was the hottest year on record (Jan. 20-26) and that February 2016 was the most unusually hot month on record (March 17-23). During those timeframes, CNN aired 23.5 minutes of ads by Vote4Energy, a project of the American Petroleum Institute (API), compared to approximately five minutes of coverage about climate change or the temperature records, a ratio of nearly 5-to-1. The Hill reported in 2015 that the Vote4Energy ad campaign, which features individuals claiming that producing more oil and natural gas will benefit Americans and the economy, is part of API's “attempt to convince voters to choose candidates who support the priorities of the oil and natural gas industry in 2016." [Vote4Energy, accessed 4/25/16; YouTube, 3/1/16, 3/1/16, 1/8/16, 1/8/16, 1/8/16; The Hill, 6/23/15]
In Week After Hottest Year Announcement, CNN Aired Less Than One Minute of Climate-Related Coverage and 13.5 Minutes of Oil Industry Ads.
From Jan. 20 to Jan. 26, CNN morning, daytime and primetime programming included only 57 seconds of coverage about climate change or the announcement that 2015 was the hottest year on record. Over that same time period, CNN aired 13.5 minutes of American Petroleum Institute ads. The climate-related segments included one on the January 21 edition of Early Start, in which anchor Christine Romans reported that 2015 was the hottest year on record and that officials say “the planet is still warming with no apparent change in the long term global warming rate." Additionally, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin briefly mentioned Republican climate science denial during a discussion of Hillary Clinton's emails on Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN host Fareed Zakaria noted that the “[t]he World Economic Forum said this year that the greatest global risk is the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation," during a Fareed Zakaria GPS segment about a study finding that humans have entered a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene. [CNN, Early Start, 1/21/16; Anderson Cooper 360, 1/20/16; Fareed Zakaria GPS, 1/24/16]
Following Announcement That February 2016 Was Most Unusually Hot Month Ever, CNN Aired Four Minutes of Climate-Related Coverage and 10 Minutes Of Fossil Fuel Ads.
In the one-week period beginning March 17, when NOAA released data showing that February 2016 was the most unusually hot month ever recorded, CNN aired only four minutes of coverage about climate change or the temperature record during its morning, daytime and primetime coverage. During that same time period, CNN aired ten minutes of American Petroleum Institute ads. On March 18, CNN anchors Christine Romans and John Berman delivered nearly-identical reports on February's “astounding" temperature record during the 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. editions of Early Start, respectively, but neither explicitly mentioned climate change or the role fossil fuel pollution and other human activities play in driving climate change. The March 20 edition of Fareed Zakaria GPS featured an interview with astronaut Piers Sellers about his climate change advocacy, followed by a brief report about International Energy Administration (IEA) data showing a decline in carbon emissions from energy production, which Zakaria described as “some good news on the climate front" and a “welcome update in the climate battle." Finally, on the March 20 edition of New Day Sunday, anchor Christi Paul reported that major cities around the world were participating in Earth Hour, an event meant to bring awareness to climate change, by switching off their lights. [CNN, Early Start, 3/18/16, 3/18/16; Fareed Zakaria GPS, 3/20/16, 3/20/16; New Day Sunday,3/20/16]
CNN Aired Two Additional Climate-Related Segments Between Midnight and 4 a.m. ET.
CNN aired two additional reports on climate change and the temperature records that were not included in this study because they occurred between midnight and 4 a.m. ET. Any fossil fuel ads that aired during these hours were also excluded. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 1/21/16, 1/21/16]
MSNBC Aired Far Fewer Oil Industry Ads—and More Climate Change Coverage—Than CNN.
During the two one-week periods examined in this study, MSNBC aired six minutes of American Petroleum Institute ads (all during Morning Joe broadcasts), which was far less than the 23.5 minutes of API ads that aired on CNN. This study did not fully examine MSNBC's climate change coverage, but one of MSNBC's climate-related segments alone—during the Jan. 21 edition of Hardball—lasted six minutes and 21 seconds, exceeding both the amount of time MSNBC aired the API ads (six minutes) and the total amount of climate-related coverage on CNN over the two weeks of programming (approximately five minutes). The Hardball segment featured interviews by host Chris Matthews with Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Chris Mooney, an energy and environmental reporter for The Washington Post. [MSNBC, Hardball, 1/21/16]
CNN Also Aired Dozens of Koch Industries' “We Are Koch" Ads.
In addition to airing the American Petroleum Institute ads, CNN aired dozens of Koch Industries ads during the two one-week periods analyzed in this study. The ads, which are part of Koch Industries' “We are Koch" campaign, tout work that the oil billionaire Koch brothers' company is doing in industries such as fertilizer production and clothing fibers. According to The Washington Post, the ads are an attempt by Koch Industries to “promote a warm, patriotic image of its multinational empire" and come at a time when “the company is adopting a more confrontational approach in the political arena, seeking to undermine its antagonists on the left." According to InfluenceMap, a non-profit that uses objective metrics to track corporate positions on climate change, Koch Industries earned an “F" because it “appears to be actively opposing almost all areas of climate legislation." [YouTube, 3/1/16, The Washington Post, 9/8/14; InfluenceMap, About our Scores, accessed 4/25/16; InfluenceMap, Koch Industries, accessed 4/25/16]
CNN Reports on Temperature Records Did Not Mention Fossil Fuel Pollution or Human Causes of Climate Change
Just One CNN Segment on Temperature Records Mentioned Climate Change—and None Mentioned Fossil Fuel Pollution or Other Ways Humans Impact Climate.
Of the three CNN segments about the hottest year or most unusually hot month on record that aired during the two one-week periods analyzed in this study, only one made any mention of “climate change" or “global warming"—and none addressed carbon pollution from the fossil fuel industry or any of the other ways in which humans are causing global warming. The one mention of global warming in a temperature record report came on the Jan. 21 edition of Early Start, when anchor Christine Romans reported that the latest figures from NASA and NOAA show that 2015 was the hottest year on record and added that officials say that “the planet is still warming with no apparent change in the long term global warming rate." CNN's two segments about February being the most unusually hot month, which aired during the 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. editions of Early Start on March 18, did not explicitly connect the temperature record to climate change or its human causes. [CNN, Early Start, 1/21/16, 3/18/16, 3/18/16]
Media Matters searched CNN transcripts in Nexis for coverage between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26 and March 17 to March 23 using the terms "(climate or global warming) or (hottest or warmest or temperature! or heat or (National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA or NOAA or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) w/30 (year! or month! or "on record")." We supplemented the Nexis search with similar queries on Factiva, IQ Media and CNN.com's transcripts page for coverage of climate change, global warming, 2015 being the hottest year on record and February 2016 being the most unusually hot month ever recorded. Media Matters used TV Eyes and IQ Media to identify instances when American Petroleum Institute or Koch Industries ads ran and to obtain timestamps for API ads and climate-related segments.
This study includes all API ads and climate-related segments that aired on CNN—and all API ads that aired on MSNBC—between 4 a.m. and 12 a.m. ET on the above-mentioned dates. It does not include ads or segments that aired between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. ET or climate-related reporting that only aired on CNN International. One climate-related segment that aired on the Jan. 26 edition of CNN International's Amanpour also aired on CNN, but did so on Jan. 27, which was outside of the one-week period assessed in this study.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Zahida Sherman
Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.
Falling in Love With Food All Over Again<p>Slowly, through my most intimate relationships with friends and partners, I began to see the beauty — and rewards — of cooking.</p><p>I got tired of giving in to defeat and always bringing chips or paper products to social gatherings. I started asking my mom to send me her Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes. I even volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner at my place.</p><p>Each time I heard my loved ones sing the praises of the foods I prepared for them, I felt a tinge more confident that I could carry out our traditions my way.</p><p>In reaching out to other relatives for their favorite recipes, I learned that they had a little help of their own. They didn't rely solely on their ancestral cooking instincts. They turned to Black chefs for guidance.</p><p>These 7 cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired my family and fed us in nutrients, joy, and spiritual sustenance. They're also helping me overcome my personal fears of cooking.</p>
Get CookingWhether you're in recovery from cooking fears like me, or are just looking to expand your culinary confidence with dishes honoring Black heritage, these Black chefs are here to support you on your journey.Turn on some music, give yourself permission to make mistakes, and throw down for yourself or your loved ones. Glorious flavors await you.
- 18 Cookbooks for Building a Diverse and Just Food System ... ›
- 19 Individuals and Groups Building Stronger Black Communities ... ›
- 8 Cookbooks We're Reading This Fall - EcoWatch ›
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.
- Here's How to Clean Your Groceries During the COVID-19 Outbreak ... ›
- Why Hand-Washing Really Is as Important as Doctors Say - EcoWatch ›
- If You're Worried About the New Coronavirus, Here's How to Protect ... ›
- Vodka Won't Protect You From Coronavirus, and 4 Other Things to ... ›
By Tara Lohan
The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.
The History<p>The Middle Fork Nooksack drains glacier-fed headwater streams that run off the icy summit of 10,778-foot Mt. Baker. The Middle Fork joins the North Fork and then the mainstem of the Nooksack River, which travels to Bellingham Bay and Puget Sound. The entire Nooksack watershed stretches 830 square miles across Washington and into British Columbia.</p>
A Plan Comes Together<p>The Middle Fork dam is not a pool dam built for water storage. Much of the time, water flows over the top until dam operators drop a floodgate to divert water to new locations. That water travels about 14 miles through tunnel and pipeline to Mirror Lake, then Anderson Creek, and to Lake Whatcom before finally being delivered to residents' taps.</p><p>Before removing the dam, engineers had to move the water intake 700 feet upstream and situate it at an elevation that still enabled city water withdrawals throughout the year, regardless of flow conditions.</p><p>They also needed to make sure that the rushing water didn't sweep up fish and accidentally send them through the water-supply system.</p><p>"The solution required a fairly complex design in the intake structure, including a fish exit pipe out of that structure to put fish back into the river in a way that meets current environmental permit standards," explains LaCroix.</p>
Project layout for the removal of the Middle Fork Nooksack diversion dam and rebuilding of water intake. City of Bellingham<p>Despite the cost and the work, she says, being able to continue to meet their municipal water obligations while opening up habitat for threatened species has been a win-win.</p><p>"I think there's a lot of benefits to having a dam removal versus fish passage — the main one being that you get a free-flowing river that can be a dynamic ecosystem and change over time," she says. "A static fish ladder just can't provide that same level of ecosystem benefit."</p>
Restoration Success<p>Despite local authorities' championing dam removal on the Middle Fork, the project has largely flown under the radar, overshadowed in the Pacific Northwest by heated discussions about a much larger potential project — removing <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/feds-reject-removal-of-4-snake-river-dams-in-key-report/" target="_blank">four federal hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River</a>, a major tributary of the Columbia River.</p><p>Proponents of dam removal there see it as the best chance for recovering threatened salmon populations, including Chinook, which could help starving Southern Resident killer whales. Those dams also provide irrigation water, barge navigation and hydropower, so there's been more pushback against removal efforts.</p><p>Previous dam removals around the country, however, have proved successful at aiding fish recovery and river restoration.</p><p>Most notably the 1999 demolition of <a href="https://therevelator.org/edwards-dam-removal/" target="_blank">Edwards Dam on Maine's Kennebec River</a> restored the annual run of alewives, a type of herring essential to the food web. The fish run has gone from zero to 5 million in the two decades since dam removal. Blueback herring, striped bass, sturgeon and shad have also extended their reach. And the resurgence has brought back osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife, too.</p><p>The overwhelming success of river restoration on the Kennebec helped to spur a nationwide dam removal movement that's now seen 1,200 dams come down since 1999. Last year a record <a href="https://www.americanrivers.org/conservation-resource/a-record-26-states-removed-dams-in-2019/" target="_blank">90 dams</a> were removed in 26 states, including <a href="https://therevelator.org/cleveland-forest-dam-removal/" target="_blank">20 dams in California's Cleveland National Forest</a>.</p>
Spider excavators remove on dam on San Juan Creek in California's Cleveland National Forest. Julie Donnell, USFS<p>The results have been seen in the Pacific Northwest, as well, which boasts the largest dam removal thus far in the country. In 2011 and 2014, the demolition of <a href="https://therevelator.org/elwha-dam-removal/" target="_blank">two dams</a> on Elwha River, which runs through Washington's Olympic National Park, opened up 70 miles of habitat that had been blocked for a century. Scientists have started seeing all five species of salmon native to the river coming back, particularly Chinook and coho. Bull trout, they've observed, have increased in size since the dams were removal.</p>
Benefits on the Middle Fork Nooksack<p>McEwan hopes to see a similar outcome on the Middle Fork.</p><p>Like the Elwha the Middle Fork Nooksack is a relatively pristine river with little development, and dam removal is expected to provide a big boost to fish. The additional miles of spawning habitat are important, but so is the temperature of that water.</p><p>The dam removal will open access to cold upstream waters, which are ideal for salmon and getting harder to come by as climate change warms waters and reduces mountain runoff.</p><p>"This is really great for the climate change resiliency for these species," says McEwan.</p><p>Steelhead will get back 45% of their historic habitat in the river, and scientists expect Chinook populations to increase in abundance by 31%.</p><p>That <em>could</em> help Southern Resident killer whales.</p><p>"When you get to the ocean, it's a little bit of a black box in terms of what you can model and say definitively is going to help, but more fish is better for orcas," McEwan says.</p><p>Upstream habitat will see benefits, too.</p><p>Oceangoing fish like salmon enrich their bodies with carbon and nitrogen while at sea. When they return to their natal rivers to spawn and die, the marine-derived nutrients they carry back upriver become important food and fertilizer for both riverine and terrestrial ecosystems — aiding everything from trees to birds to bears.</p><p>"Once the fish start making their way back, it will start changing the whole ecological system," says Delgado.</p><p><span></span>But any ecological benefit from salmon restoration, either in the ocean or the upper watershed, won't be immediate.<br></p><p>"The population of salmon on the Middle Fork is so low that we expect it's going to take quite a while to rebound," she says. "But the big picture is that what's good for salmon is good for the region — our history and our destiny are intricately intertwined."</p><p>After decades of work, that process of restoration has finally begun.</p>
- 4 Exciting Dam-Removal Projects to Watch - EcoWatch ›
- Jump-Starting the Dam Removal Movement in the U.S. - EcoWatch ›
- Boom: Removing 81 Dams Is Transforming This California Watershed ›
- Sea Level Rise Is Speeding up Along Most of the U.S. Coast ... ›
- Protecting Mangroves Can Prevent Billions of Dollars in Global ... ›
- Flooding Risk for U.S. Homes: Millions More Are Vulnerable Than ... ›
- 300 Million People Worldwide Could Suffer Yearly Flooding by 2050 ... ›
- Sea Level Rise Could Put 2.4 Million U.S. Coastal Homes at Risk ... ›
By Katie Howell
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.
By Manuela Callari
It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.
Building an Ocean Seahorse Destination<p>Seahorses are found in tropical and temperate coastal water worldwide, but are most abundant around Australia, China and the Philippines. </p><p>Trade in the tiny creatures is strictly regulated because of their use in traditional medicine, aquariums and their sale as dried curios. But because they are poor swimmers and cannot easily move elsewhere, habitat loss is a particular threat for these curious animals. </p><p>Seahorses wrap their tails around seagrass and corals to avoid being carried away on currents. They use the habitat to spawn and hide from predators such as crabs, while also feeding on riches of plankton and small crustaceans living in the reef.</p><p><span></span>Where corals aren't available, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aqc.1217" target="_blank">scientists</a> found seahorses taking up residence in fishing nets and old crab traps abandoned at the bottom of the ocean. </p>
Mixing With the Locals<p>Baby seahorse mortality is high in the wild because they are easily caught, so those bred in the protected environment of the aquarium weren't ready to be released into the wild until early May.</p><p>The team released 90 new arrivals into Sydney Harbor, placing some directly into the purpose-built hotels, and others onto a net that wild seahorses had already settled on.</p><p>Before setting them free, the researchers marked each young seahorse with a fluorescent tag with unique IDs inserted just beneath the skin to track how they get on in the different environments. </p><p>"The most exciting part was being able to put these animals into the wild and then go back a month later and still see them surviving and growing," said McCracken. </p><p>The seahorses will be old enough to mate and reproduce around October or November 2020. And researchers hope that by then, they will be able to breed with the wild population. </p>
Building a Global Seahorse Hotel Chain<p>With seahorses everywhere facing the loss of their coral reef homes, similar projects have sprung up in places like Greece and South Africa, home to the world's most endangered seahorse, the Knysna seahorse. </p><p>"The endangered South African seahorse is benefiting from something quite similar, even though it wasn't intentional," said Peter Teske, professor at the Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg.</p><p>In the South African <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322649251_An_endangered_seahorse_selectively_chooses_an_artificial_structure" target="_blank">case</a>, seahorses have bedded down in "Reno mattresses" — wire cages filled with rocks — that were used to build a new marina. Researchers from NGO Knysna Basin Project found the structures acted as a refuge for the animals.<span></span></p><p><span></span>While Teske describes the seahorse hotels as "a positive news story" and a great way to create public awareness of conservation, he added that establishing artificial habitats in some areas will only prevent the extinction of local populations.</p><p>"For a complete recovery, it is necessary to give the natural habitat a chance to regenerate," said the seahorse expert. </p>
Underwater Mascot<p>In Australia, the researchers hope the project could provide an opportunity to raise awareness not only of the plight of the Sydney seahorses but the other animals with which it shares its ocean habitat.</p><p>The waters around Sydney and the east coast are rich in biodiversity and include several threatened species like the weedy seadragon — a relative of the seahorse — and the grey nurse shark. Like the seahorse, they're also under pressure from pollution, ocean traffic and habitat loss through storms and coastal construction. </p><p>"It's a good thing to get people's support and interest. The seahorses are a useful vehicle to get people concerned if the harbor is in trouble," said David Booth, professor of marine ecology at the University of Technology Sydney who is also working on the project. </p><p>The hotels have become an attraction for divers hoping to catch a glimpse of these small but near mythical creatures. </p><p>"Everyone loves seahorses," added Booth, "they are so popular." </p>
- 7 Amazing New Fish Species Discovered in 2017 - EcoWatch ›
- Millions of Seahorses Wind Up Dead on the Black Market for This ... ›
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.
- Green New Deal Champion AOC Will Serve on Biden Climate Panel ... ›
- Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces Unveil Improved Climate Policy ... ›