Things get HEATED on CNN

It was a big weekend here at the newsletter. We got our first-ever invitation to appear on CNN, and we got to talk about our favorite thing: climate journalism.

Brian Stelter, who hosts the media program Reliable Sources, invited The Uninhabitable Earth author David Wallace-Wells and I to speak about how news outlets can better cover the “permanent emergency” of climate change. Wallace-Wells had written about how to live in this potentially paralyzing state last week; I wrote about how climate coverage needs to expand the week before.

I give Stelter a lot of credit for the segment. He’s been a target of my media criticism before, and has always responded thoughtfully instead of defensively. He understands it isn’t personal, and comes not from a desire to discredit or tear down journalists, but to improve our industry—and by extension, our climate trajectory. Props.

That said, the segment was pretty short, though that’s just the reality of cable news. We had four minutes and 20 seconds (nice) to split between the three of us, so every single sentence mattered. I was able to make two out of my three prepared points, which when all’s said and done, I’m pretty happy about—especially since my heart was beating about a thousand miles a minute.

Here are the two points I was able to make (with Twitter links to the clips):

  1. Every reporter should be a climate reporter. If you’re not one today, you will be. The entire newsroom must be equipped to cover this global crisis, which infiltrates every part of our lives. That’s how we cover COVID-19, and we should expect the same for the climate crisis.

  2. All reporters should be connecting extreme weather to fossil fuels. Climate change isn’t something that’s simply happening to us. It’s being done to us. Every time someone reads a story about climate change, they should be reminded of that.

Here is the third point I didn’t have time to make.

  • No newsroom should profit from fossil fuel propaganda. I guarantee at some point during Stelter’s broadcast, there was a commercial on CNN saying something like, “Chevron, we’re totally awesome and good.” You can make all the improvements in climate coverage you want, and it will always be undermined if you continue to allow fossil fuel companies to spread unchecked lies about their climate commitments on the same platform. These lies aren’t harmless. Climate change is deadly.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to make that last one somewhere else. I have a couple more media interviews this week that I’m pretty excited about. I’ll fill you in when they’re out. In the meantime …

Help spread our CNN clips!

Our segment has been doing really well on social media, particularly on Twitter. (Stelter called it “much-tweeted-about.”) But it’s also spreading rapidly on Instagram and Tik Tok (Yes, I made a HEATED Tik Tok account just to post these videos).

I would really love if that momentum continued. If you’re on any of those platforms, you can help simply by liking, commenting, and/or sharing. Here’s easy-to-access links for all three platforms:

Our segment was also been covered by at least two far-right outlets which were very upset about the whole thing. I’m not linking them, but it’s fun to know, in general.

Here’s the link to the actual full CNN piece.

Cable news covers the climate crisis and Exxon tapes

If you’re looking for more cable news clips from the weekend to watch this morning, I recommend MSNBC’s Ali Velshi passionately quoting Smash Mouth to drive home the urgency of the climate crisis, and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes reading the list of Senators Exxon is relying on to continue delaying climate action.

I could not find a posted CNN segment on the Exxon tapes; just a digital video with text. If you come across CNN coverage of the Exxon tapes, subscribers, post it in the comments.

Also, please read Sarah Kaplan’s latest climate piece in the Washington Post,* which is an absolutely devastating but necessary work of reporting on this current climate moment. Honestly, I was shocked to see it on page A3 of the newspaper on Sunday, and not on page A1.

*Earlier I sent out this e-mail with a misspelling of Kaplan’s last name. I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry!

Catch of the Day:

Fish doesn’t understand why he’s not on TV.

OK, that’s all for today—thanks for reading HEATED! If you’d like to share this piece as a web page, click the button below.


If you’re a paid subscriber and would like to post a comment, click the “Leave a comment” button:

Leave a comment

Stay hydrated, eat plants, break a sweat, and have a great day!