The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary, 9 December: The Web and the traditional media seem, fitfully, to be settling on a division of labor: The major media will focus on celebrity scandals and bloggers will focus on things that actually matter.
According to a survey by the Business & Media Institute, in the two weeks after Climategate broke, the purloined emails casting doubt on global warming were the subject of exactly four stories on the morning and evening news shows of NBC, ABC and CBS. Over the same period, the network shows aired 62 stories on Tiger Woods’ auto accident and rumored infidelities.
In fact, the networks completely ignored the climate scandal for 13 days until the New York Times reluctantly addressed the news, by which time it had already been comprehensively analyzed by Web-based reporters and commentators. Even then, ABC reminded viewers that “the science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof.” NBC assured viewers that “the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change.”
Ironically, the only network story that actually discussed the damning climate emails with any specificity couldn’t be viewed by nearly 75% of Americans. That’s because, at the time, the CBS Evening News in the eastern and central zones was blacked out for a college football game.
Copyright 2009, WSJ