Climate change received less than 27 minutes of air time in 2013 on the Sunday news shows, according to a new Media Matters For America study--and a group of Democratic senators are speaking out about it.
In a letter sent to the heads of Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, and msnbc's parent company NBCUniversal, nine senators argued that the subject of climate change was being overlooked on the national stage, and it affected news coverage throughout the week as well.
"Although it is a modest improvement over the eight minutes of coverage in 2012, given the widely recognized challenge that climate change poses to the nation and the world, this is an absurdly short amount of time for a subject of such importance," the senators wrote.
The letter also suggests that the networks may be influenced by outside advertisers: "We are more than aware that major fossil fuel companies spend significant amounts of money advertising on your networks. We hope that this is not influencing your decision about the subjects discussed or the guests who appear on your network programming."
Last Sunday, none of the network shows devoted time to the West Virginia chemical spill that left 300,000 residents without clean water through the weekend and sent some to the emergency room. Officials began to lift the ban for some residents on Monday, but nearly half of West Virginia American Water customers remained affected by Wednesday afternoon.
Questions about the lasting damages left to the state's ecosystem and economy are also left unanswered as the clean-up effort continues. Meanwhile, concerns continue to grow over whether or not there was an oversight in safety and regulation of the storage tanks that contained the spilled chemicals.
The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that the investigation into the spill is "ongoing," and there is still no exact answer of how long the clean up would take.