Majority of Americans Say Media Overestimates Global Warming


More bad news for the media.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of U.S. voters say the news media make global warming appear worse than it really is. Only 21% say the media present an accurate picture, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Thirteen percent (13%) think the media make climate change appear to be better than it truly is. Twelve percent (12%) don’t have an opinion.

No wonder 23% say it is at least somewhat likely that global warming will destroy human civilization within the next century.Common to all surveys about the media, Republicans are more critical than Democrats.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of GOP voters say the media paints a darker picture of global warming that the reality merits, and 63% of voters not affiliated with either party agree. Democrats, however, are much more closely divided: 27% say the media make it look worse than it is, 22% better, and 34% say they present an accurate picture.

Men are more skeptical about media coverage of global warming than women. Younger voters question it more than their elders.

Whites are more than twice as likely as African-Americans to say the media make global warming look worse than it is.

One beneficiary of positive media coverage is former Vice President Al Gore who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-global warming efforts. But only 36% of voters believe he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the environment and global warming.

Still, 64% of voters think global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, with 41% saying it is Very Serious. These numbers are down slightly from earlier surveys.

But voters are shifting away from the idea promoted by Gore and others that human activity is the cause of global warming and are viewing it instead more as the result of long-term planetary trends.

The majority perception that the media aren’t playing it straight with global warming matches similar Rasmussen Reports surveys last year in which doubts were raised about news coverage of the presidential campaign and the problems in the economy. Public unhappiness with this coverage comes at a time when newspapers, magazines and broadcast media are all dramatically downsizing, thanks to shrinking audiences and advertising revenues.



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