CNN Fails to Ask a Single Climate Question at 4th Dem Debate

black and white loop GIF by A. L. Crego

We were really hoping that we would get to write a recap of the climate change conversation that was had at the 4th Democratic Presidential Debate last night but unfortunately there is literally nothing to write about. In 3 hours of coverage, there was not one question posed by the moderators on the single greatest threat our world is facing. In fact, the late Sen. John McCain quite possibly got more mention than the climate crisis or the environment.

The closest we got to talking climate was when Tom Steyer said that climate policy has to be part of foreign policy by stating that “the U.S, has to lead on climate change and work with its allies and “frenemies” on the issue instead of alienating itself.” Candidates were asked about their unlikely friendships but not how they plan to protect Americans from the forces brought on by a rapidly warming planet. It was more than a headscratcher, it was a real shame and a true missed opportunity.

Why This Matters: After what happened last night it felt as if CNN checked off the box on climate change with their recent climate change town hall and didn’t feel the need to ask candidates any more questions on the matter. This is unfortunate but it is also echoed in the way that climate is talked about in these debates: it’s put in a box as its own category rather than connected to broader voting priorities as it deserves. After all, climate change is a national security, economic, and healthcare issue but that’s never connected to the American public in these debates.

Since CNN’s climate town hall aired on September 4th there has been no shortage of events that would have warranted mention and discussion at last night’s debate. Here’s a quick recap: 

The mainstream media has to get this right, climate change is costing jobs, lives, and the natural places that truly make America great. On the other hand, fighting it presents one of the greatest opportunities for economic development. That’s always something worth talking about, our nation deserves it.

Go Deeper: Check out Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune’s statement on the debate as well as Gov. Jay Inslee’s tweet. We wholeheartedly agree.

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