CHARTS: TV News Mentioned Donald Trump Nearly 20 Times More Than Fracking in 2011


A paltry 1.2 percent of headlines in prominent media outlets focus on environment. That’s the depressing finding from a study out today that surveyed headlines from 43 news and related organizations between January 2011 and May of 2012. Interestingly, Fox News devoted significantly more time to covering the environment, including healthy doses of climate change-denial, than did MSNBC and CNN:

 

A caveat: “Fox News is often criticized for having a blatant anti-environment bias,” the study notes, adding that “quantity is not a proxy for quality of coverage on this issue.” (The study used very similar methodology to Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and didn’t discriminate between biased and unbiased or misleading environmental news.)

What did most news outlets focus on? Crime and celebrities, mostly:

Headlines by media type

Notably, local newspapers were the only category of outlet that spent more time covering the environment than entertainment. On major newscasts (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox), LeBron James and other entertainment figures got far more mentions than most environmental issues. Even Donald Trump, arguably the topic America is most sick of hearing about, snagged almost 20 times as many headlines as fracking:

Among online news outlets, Huffington Post had the highest overall percentage of stories about the environment—about 3 percent in all. (Mother Jones was not included in the study sample.)

Percentage of online news sources

The findings are especially frustrating when you consider the recent finding that nearly 80 percent of Americans would like to see more coverage of environmental issues.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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