Broadcast TV news mentioned a “socially marginalized community” in just 12% of its segments on environmental impacts or regulations in 2021. CBS aired the most environmental justice segments (13), followed by NBC (4), and ABC (2). The majority of environmental justice segments focused on government action (14) and the health impacts of pollution or chemical waste (9). National TV news shows missed key opportunities to apply an environmental justice lens to important national stories such as the 2021 Texas winter storm, a toxic wastewater leak in Florida, and the Colonial pipeline hack. Even segments about obvious environmental justice stories, such as the lead water crisis in Benton Harbor, Michigan, were mostly shallow and lacked important context.
How broadcast TV news covered environmental justice in 2021