CNN, Fox News and MSNBC are the three largest cable news networks in the United States. They are an influential source of information for policy makers and public. So, the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed their coverage of climate change to figure out how accurately they inform their audiences about the environmental issues.
Fox News was even worse in 2012
UCS analyzed the accuracy of statements each of these networks made during their climate change coverage. Turns out, Fox News is the least accurate as 72% of its climate science segments were misleading, according to the UCS. Fox News covered climate science 50 times in 2013. UCS found that more than 53% of its misleading coverage came from The Five program, where the hosts provoked misleading debates about climate science.
However, Fox News has showed some improvements from 2012, when 93% of its segments contained misleading statements. UCS said Fox News can improve accuracy if its hosts and guests clearly differentiate between scientifically proven facts about climate change and political opinions about climate policy.
CNN is 70% accurate in climate science reporting
CNN provided misleading information in 30% of segments. It covered climate science 43 times last year. UCS said 70% of its segments were entirely accurate. Most of its misleading coverage was during debates between guests who accepted established scientific facts about climate change and other guests who disputed it. UCS said CNN can improve accuracy by focusing its debates on how to respond to climate change through proper climate policy.
Fox News and CNN should learn from MSNBC
MSNBC had the best climate change coverage as it fudged the facts in only 8% segments. It covered climate change issues 132 times in 2013. Of them, 92% segments were entirely accurate. The remaining 8% statements were misleading because they all overstated the effects of climate change, especially extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes.
It shows that each network treats climate change issue very differently. The Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists urged its members to shift their focus from military technology to finding solutions for pressing environmental issues. UCS has been demanding more serious policy solutions to climate change.