American Exceptionalism at Work: US Leads in Media Coverage of Climate Deniers

When it comes to climate change, there is one area in which the U.S. leads all other nations. Our media gives more time and attention to climate deniers than any other country. The study looked at five other countries besides the U.S.- Brazil, China, France, India and the UK- to see how leading newspapers in each country dealt with climate skepticism. It found that coverage of climate skepticism is mostly limited to the U.S. and to the U.K. and that you should look tothe US and the UK media to find skeptics cited or quoted that question whether global temperatures are warming.

While you can find climate skeptics in the UK media, we really dominate this area, as the graph below shows. (The graph shows the number of articles containing sceptical voices as a percentage of the total number of articles covering climate change or global warming, 2009–10.)

This bias also informs our climate policy, or lack there of. Not only was Congress unable to pass meaningful climate change legislation, the topic seems to have completely disappeared from public discourse, even though we are thick in election season. We have long lost our standing as a global leader in fighting climate change, assuming we ever were leaders. We are also lagging behind the globe in clean energy production and focusing on energy investments in dead end fossil fuels while leaving renewable energy to fend for itself.

First in climate denying, not even in the top ten in clean energy production. Is this the new definition of American Exceptionalism?