Monday’s coverage of Pope Francis’ interview suggests climate change either led to or exacerbated recent hurricanes like Harvey and Irma. For instance, Reuters wrote, “Pope Francis said the recent spate of hurricanes should prompt people to understand that humanity will ‘go down’ if it does not address climate change and history will judge those who deny the science on its causes.”
The sources we analyzed weren’t forthright about the assumption. In other words, they juxtaposed climate change with the hurricanes, which is what can lead readers to connect the dots, but they didn’t explicitly state the connection between the two, so it could easily be accepted without question. Did climate change cause or exacerbate these hurricanes? Wouldn’t you know it — that’s the missing data in the media coverage of this story.
Jens Erik Gould
Jens is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News