We’ve had two debates where the moderators ignored the story of the century, the greatest preventable threat to the nation and the world. The fourth and last debate will be moderated by an anchor for Fox News (aka climate denial central), whereas this third debate is a town hall.
That means actual voters may be the last hope in this election to actually ask the candidates a question on global warming and end climate silence.
Certainly what the journalism profession has been doing in promoting climate silence in major debates is nothing short of malpractice. Indeed, In his Friday New York Times op-ed, “What About the Planet?” Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains, “There is, quite simply, no other issue this important, and letting it slide would be almost criminally irresponsible.”
Others offer the climate equivalent of gallows humor:
One day we'll change that law that bans debate moderators from asking about climate change.
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) October 5, 2016
The sad truth is that, in the (likely) event that we don’t avoid catastrophic warming, future generations will find it all too easy to document the media’s contribution to inaction.
Media Matters, for instance, went through all of the presidential, Senate, and governors’ debates, and came up with this dismal finding:
And that doesn’t even look at the debates during the presidential primary season. As we reported in March, “There have been 17 debates total since this presidential election cycle kicked off, but energy and climate questions rarely come up.”
Media Matter analyzed the primary debates and found “22 Of The 1,477 Questions Asked During 20 Presidential Primary Debates Have Been About Climate Change.” Here is their breakdown by network.
The debate moderators for Sunday’s second presidential debate are ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. On the downside, Raddatz contributed to ABC’s 0% climate questions when she co-moderated a December democratic primary debate.
On the upside, in an October 2015 Democratic debate, Anderson Cooper did ask “Senator Sanders, are you tougher on climate change than Secretary Clinton? . . . Secretary Clinton, I want you to be able to respond.”
Some climate science deniers are worried Cooper may do it again. One long-debunked denier [editors’ note: That is redundant] who blogs at, I kid you not, “The Deplorable Climate Science Blog,” wrote a post headlined, “The Anderson Cooper Climate Ambush.” It begins:
“Word is that Anderson Cooper is planning a climate ambush for Trump at the debate on Sunday. I am in contact with Trump’s staff and have given them these answers. If he uses them, he will walk through the ambush unscathed.”
ROFLMAO, as the kids say these days. All of those “answers” are debunked here.
If only any journalist would “ambush” any candidate in an actual presidential debate by asking whether they understand and accept climate science that is embraced by 97% of climate scientists.