To the Networks, Tiger Woods Gossip 15 Times More Newsworthy Than ClimateGate

If ABC, NBC and CBS's judgment is correct, Tiger Woods's infidelity is more important than a climate change scandal involving high profile scientists, potentially ‘manipulated' data, and censorship of skeptics among the scientific community.

How much more important? Over 15 times. Despite the impending Copenhagen climate conference, the networks ignored the ClimateGate scandal for 13 straight days on morning and evening news programs. Finally, they got around to mentioning it in four stories during the weekend of Dec. 4 - Dec. 6 as reported on Newsbusters

Even in those climate stories reporters made sure to inform the public that, despite the Climategate revelations, "the science is solid" and "the evidence is overwhelming that man is behind climate change." On ABC, Clayton Sandell mentioned the e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia Dec. 6, but without including any of the disturbing quotes about using a "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperature, or bullying scientific publications to keep skeptics' work from being peer reviewed.

During the same time frame, from Nov. 20 to Dec. 6 the networks aired 62 stories about professional golfer Wood's car accident, rumors of an affair and then his apology during their morning and evening newscasts.

In Copenhagen, world leaders will be crafting an agreement that will potentially transfer billions of dollars from the industrialized world and fundamentally change the U.S. economy. Suddenly we learn that much of the science on which they base their decisions may be tainted or false. But those respected broadcast news organizations couldn't squeeze more than four weekend mentions into their all-Tiger, all-the-time coverage.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.