CREDO Action

Tell major media outlets: Stop accepting fossil fuel advertisements

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Petition to major media outlets:

"Stop accepting advertisements in any form from fossil fuel companies and their allies."

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    Tell major media outlets: Stop accepting fossil fuel advertisements

    Swedish newspaper Dagens ETC used to get almost 20% of its income from fossil fuel advertising. Then the newspaper chose to give it all up for the good of the planet.1

    While Dagens ETC is choosing planet over profit, major American media outlets are making the opposite choice — far too many are sponsored by Big Oil and regularly run deceptive advertisements that appear to be news stories or independent op-eds. It's no surprise that these outlets rarely cover climate change news or actively promote dangerous climate deniers.2

    When news programs fail to inform Americans about the existential threat of climate change, building the political will for bold action is nearly impossible. We need major media outlets to follow Dagens ETC's lead and reject fossil-fuel advertising, starting now.

    Tell major media outlets: Stop accepting fossil fuel advertisements.

    It's not just FOX News – almost every major media outlet helps Big Oil spread its propaganda. Chevron, BP and Koch Industries have sponsored POLITICO and Axios, two agenda-setting political outlets widely read on Capitol Hill. Many news companies, including POLITICO, The New York Times and The Washington Post, run "native ads" from fossil-fuel companies that look misleadingly similar to regular newspaper stories or editorial pieces. Viewers who tuned into the Democratic primary debates on cable and network TV saw countless fossil-fuel ads but rarely heard the candidates asked about climate change.3,4

    Thanks to this terrible coverage, almost 90% of Americans don’t know that there is a scientific consensus on global warming.5 TV coverage of climate change plunged in 2018 from already-low levels in 2017, according to research by Media Matters. And a slight increase in coverage in 2019 is mostly because of rabid FOX News fear-mongering about the Green New Deal.6 Big Oil's public relations henchmen have bragged in the past about using paid advertising to influence coverage, and fossil-fuel companies' continued willingness to pour money into ads suggests it works.7

    Young activists with the group Extinction Rebellion USA recently protested outside the New York Times and demanded that media companies stop accepting fossil-fuel advertising. As one of the strikers wrote, "We will never get the action we need to save our planet when most people still don’t know there is a crisis to begin with."8 It's long past time to ramp up the pressure on the media industry to stop putting fossil fuel profits ahead of the planet we all live on.

    Tell major media outlets: Stop accepting fossil fuel advertisements.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Sandra Laville, "Swedish newspaper stops taking adverts from fossil fuel firms," The Guardian, Sep. 26, 2019.
    2. Amy Westervelt, "Why Are ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ Producing Ads for Big Oil?" The Nation, April 22, 2019.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Alexandria Villaseñor, "Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday," The Nation, June 26, 2019.
    5. Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, "Almost 90% of Americans don’t know there’s scientific consensus on global warming," Vox, July 6, 2017.
    6. Lisa Hymas, "Climate silence was the big problem in 2018. In 2019, we've got new challenges." Media Matters, April 3, 2019.
    7. Westervelt, "Why Are ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ Producing Ads for Big Oil?"
    8. Villaseñor, "Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday."