No Laughing Matter: Comedians Gave More Time Than News Shows to Climate Speech

Who would have thought the future of the environment was some kind of joke? It turns out comedians actually seem to care more about climate change than the people who produce real news programs do. 

Think Progress came out with an infographic yesterday (7/1/13) showing that the Sunday chat shows didn’t so much as mention President Barack Obama’s June 25 speech outlining a new climate change policy at Georgetown University. But a few late-night comedy shows and the Daily Show, a fake newscast on Comedy Central, found some time to cover the news. 

But let’s give the networks a fair shake, shall we? A better comparison with a fake nightly news show is a real nightly newscast. So we looked at ABC, CBS and NBC‘s 30-minute nightly newscasts to see how they covered the president’s speech.

The comedians still took global warming far more seriously than most of the supposedly serious newscastsABC World News (6/25/13) and CBS Evening News  (6/25/13) each dedicated a whole 19 seconds of coverage to the speech.

To its credit, NBC Nightly News (6/25/13) had a 2-minute-12-second segment on the climate speech, including soundbites of President Obama and an explanation of the possible implications from NBC environment correspondent Anne Thompson. Thompson also mentioned how she spoke with a CEO of a power company as well, ending the this portion of the show on a (kind of) positive note:

Now, as you can imagine, the coal lobby is not very happy, Brian, because they say that this is in effect declaring war on coal; that’s what the president is doing. But I spoke to one power CEO today, a power company CEO, Tom Farrell from Dominion Resources. And he says that with enough time and the right technology, he thinks the power industry can make this work.

Good for NBC. Its report was only a minute shorter than the one on the fake newscast.