People Are Not Hearing From Scientists on These IssuesFor science, what matters is data. But for policy, you need to influence public opinion, and sadly, there's often a rift between what the scientific data shows and what public opinion knows. Part of the blame for that probably lays with the media, who's job it is - among other things - to relay information from scientists to most people. For democracy to work well, an informed citizenry is crucial.
Well, when it comes to issues that have to do with our planet's climate, the media isn't doing such a great job. Media watchdog Media Matters has been monitor the amount of coverage given to climate since 2009, and despite 2012 being the hottest year on record in the U.S., the numbers are rather disheartening.
Media Matters writes:
Sunday Show Coverage Continued To Decline. Since 2009, climate coverage on the Sunday shows has declined every year. In 2012, the Sunday shows spent less than 8 minutes on climate change, down from 9 minutes in 2011, 21 minutes in 2010, and over an hour in 2009. The vast majority of coverage -- 89 percent -- was driven by politics, and none was driven by scientific findings.
That last part is important too. It's fine to discuss the politics, but the science should get airtime too.
In Four Years, Sunday Shows Have Not Quoted A Single Scientist On Climate Change. Of those who were asked about climate change on the Sunday shows, 54 percent were media figures, 31 percent were politicians and not one was a scientist or climate expert.
That's the crux of the issue. Scientists might not always be the most telegenic people, but this is just crazy. There's this huge issue that will impact everybody on this planet and people aren't getting information from those who know this topic best and have spent years of their lives doing advanced studies in the field. This has to change!