The Denial at the Debate

Last weeks GOP debate featured a question about the Republican stance on Climate Change, and it was mainly addressed by Marco Rubio. This Guardian piece explains the context of the question and Rubio’s response. Also, if you are looking to hear him say it, the discussion about the weather comes in the video between the 0:44 and 0:55 timestamps.

First, I thought the most interesting piece of the article was the discussion about how Florida, particularly Miami, is not very high above sea-level. This point expresses the importance of the question. However, due to the very short length of the piece, I think this point could have been discussed more.

The response to the question is also explained later in the article when the author points out the very small number of people who place this issue at the top of their priority list. I was caught off guard by the fact that only 7% of Democrats had it as their top concern, but not surprised by the <1% of Republicans that thought this way.

In terms of the article, do you think it was too short for the topic it covered? Also, was it a bit confusing that the video at the top was all of the debate highlights, rather than just the discussion about climate change? Finally, did the author take a fair and balanced stand point on the coverage of this issue?

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12 Responses to “The Denial at the Debate”

  1. I really enjoyed about this article and I am glad that I could learn more about the candidates’ positions on climate change. On one hand, I think that the short length of the piece is advantageous. It quickly highlighted an issue that was discussed at the Republican debate and would be beneficial to someone who did not watch it. As a reader, I am not interested in reading a long description of the debate, and prefer to only read the highlights of the debate over an issue I care about. In my opinion, this article does that well while also bringing in outside statistics that add to my understanding of the topic.
    I do not think that the video being about the entire debate rather than the just climate change sections is problematic. Having both be about the same parts of the debate with the same quotes would be quite repetitive. Since the video covers the entire debate, readers can watch it after reading the article if they want to learn more about the debate as a whole.
    Overall, I believe that the authors took an unbiased standpoint. They demonstrated the views of the candidates without judging them or favoring one over the other. The article is informative and combines quotes, facts, and statistics to cover objectively the climate change discussion at the debate.

  2. I think this is a great piece to discuss, especially since it features a video storytelling component. It is also extremely surprising to me that only 7% of Democrats consider climate change to be a priority. This really shows that climate change is not widely accepted yet, and people clearly do not understand the threats carbon emissions impose on the Earth. While Florida’s sea level is a major concern for America, it is important to realize that there are entire countries that are right above sea level; this could severely affect people all over the world. For example, if other countries lose their inhabitable land, there will be higher urgency to immigrate to America. I agree that this point could have been addressed more.

    This is a HUGE topic, so I could see why one may think the article was too short. I think the article did a good job bringing up the concept, but did not provide enough depth for people who are uneducated about climate change to form a valid opinion. I also found it odd that the video did not directly correspond with the article. Personally, I noticed a Republican bias when reading the article, but I think it is important that the author included input from both political parties.

  3. I enjoyed this article because it was sweet and to the point. However, I definitely think that they could have expanded further on the debate and how the GOP candidates are responding to climate change. In response to your question about only 7% of democrats placing climate change as important, I think its crucial to differentiate that only 7% of democrats care about that policy within their presidential candidate NOT that they personally care about climate change in general. I definitely think that the video at the top should have only included the discussion of climate change because that was the point of the article. However, Im sure that the author did include all of the highlights because it probably made it more likely that more people would click on the article in the first place. All in all, it is still very difficult for me to understand why republicans deny climate change. I would have liked for this article to have talked more about WHY republicans are so against climate change. I have tried to understand this point from a political perspective since I am a democrat and it still just doesn’t make sense to me. So I think that the article should have explained that further since it was about the republican perspective on climate change.

  4. I think this article touches on a number of very important points about how climate change is talked about in politics. First, framing the article through Marco Rubio’s comments and their relation to Florida was a unique way to introduce the subject matter and give the topic a more relevant/newsy element. The article also does well to touch on the fact that very few people see climate change as an issue of the highest concern. However I think there are a number of problems with this article in terms of its scope as more than just a highlight reel of the Republican presidential debate. First, the article’s short length inhibits the journalists from expanding on a number of the important points they made, which would be critical in addressing the scope of the issue. For this reason, I feel that the article may not be as effective in communicating some of the issues about how people talk about climate change in the political realm. Along these same lines, I think the video clip of the debate is problematic in that it doesn’t really focus in on the conversation about climate change. Rubio’s comments on global warming are included in the video but the comments are only briefly touched on. One criticism I have from this is that from the video clip it is somewhat unclear that the real main point of the article is about climate change.

  5. It’s hard nowadays to find short, concise coverage of happenings at the political debates. I actually did not mind the length of the article at all. It felt like a very well-reported detailed note about the responses to climate change at the republican debate. It referenced Marco Rubio, provided the video of which it was talking about, and gave a satisfying background on the issue. It allowed me to read the piece in a way that my own bias could be expressed (I read the article confused/annoyed that the republican party doesn’t respect global warming), but the article itself was objective, fair, and well-researched.

  6. I definitely thought this was an interesting and quick article to read. Due to the length of the piece, I definitely agree that some of the facts and statistics could have been unpacked a little more. If the authors intention was to bring awareness to the topic and get people thinking, I think the article was the perfect length. If the author’s intention was to discuss the issues of climate change and how each party is responding, then I think the author could have gone into more detail.
    In terms of balanced coverage, I did sense the author’s own opinion at the end of the piece when they said the results were “so low”. Although this is true, I think just stating the statistic would have left out any sort of opinion. As an a student in an environmental journalism class, I can definitely see why it would be challenging to leave out bias, but overall I think the author did a good job with the piece.
    Thanks for your interesting questions!

  7. I think that this article was a great choice to stimulate conversation! The introductory video was a nice highlight, but I wish they had chose to show more clips that related to climate change portion of the discussion rather than showing highlights of the entire debate. I also was a little bit confused as to why the author chose to mention Clinton’s statement in the last portion. The ending was quite abrupt and left somewhat confused as what that had to do with any about the republican debate on climate change.I was also a little bit confused as to why the Democratic party was even mentioned if the title suggests that the article will only address the Republican party at this particular debate and Republican candidate views on climate change. I just felt like those additional perspectives took away from the overall message of the article. I thought the length could have been a little bit more longer because there is a lot of perspective about Rubio and not enough perspective of the other candidates as well.

  8. For such a short article, I thought this packed a lot of good stuff in. One piece of data I wish had been explained a little more is the one about less than 1% of Republican voters rating climate change an important campaign issue. The author used that to claim that the candidates comments, from an electoral standpoint, don’t really matter. But I think we should take at that 1% statistic with a grain of salt. If you don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change, you aren’t likely to consider it an important campaign issue, but that doesn’t mean the discourse surrounding it isn’t important to you. It’s a bit like claiming that because I don’t think voter fraud is an important campaign issue, what candidates say about it doesn’t matter — it’s the opposite, because someone who says voter fraud is rampant in the country isn’t an appealing candidate to me. Therefore, I would have liked this article to ask whether Kasich’s statement, far from gaining him voters, might actually LOSE him some.

  9. I don’t think this article was too short, just because the focus was on the candidates’ general stance on climate change. However, the author did spend a lot of time on Rubio, which, with the quotes used, do lean towards a biased viewpoint– not to mention the jab at the end with the Hillary tweet. I also think the fact that the video has nothing to do with the focus of the article plays into the bias. A lot of these highlighted quotes are offensive, or don’t put the candidates in a very good light… Personally, I would also struggle with keeping bias out of this topic, ESPECIALLY this election. But really, how necessary and advantageous is it to take a neutral stance when it comes to the presidential election?

  10. I agree with most of the other students that the concise nature of this article is one of it’s assets. Since many of you mentioned surprise at the 7% and less than 1% statistics mentioned regarding the importance of climate change, I’d like to point out that what the article says is that 7% of democrats, and less than 1% of republicans listed climate change as the MOST important issue in determining which candidate they support. I wasn’t particularly phased by the statistics, as a student in environmental science, even though I would be likely to place climate change as my top political concern I wouldn’t choose between Sanders and Clinton based on their proposed action against climate change because they are largely the same. Moreover, I think that climate change is too far removed from many peoples lives for them to consider it an immediate threat (compared with wars, economics, and health).
    The fact that this point merited any clarification I think indicates that it should have been restated and perhaps explained more explicitly. Regardless of what that particular statistic was indicating, the lack of knowledge about climate change that is brought to light in this article is absolutely appalling.

    Oh, and moreover, I just noticed an inconsistency in the way the statistics are presented (perhaps leading many of you to your conclusions about what they meant). At the top of the article before the video it says that climate change is a concern for less than 1% of republican voters… Following the link to what the poll actually asked reveals that this first line is an error misrepresenting the findings of the study. Since this article is sure to receive much more attention than the results of the poll itself, I find this to be a serious issue.

    Any journalist that is attempting to enlighten the population through facts and figures should take due care to ensure that those statistics are accurate. Having the same figure listed twice in the same article with different meanings attached should be a dead give away that they screwed up.

  11. I agree that the concise coverage of this debate was fine, especially because it was just covering the specific topic of climate change in the candidates’ platforms. I thought that the reporting was objective and fair. However, I do agree with you that the video at the top was a little misleading, and the article could have done without showing this video as it covered other platforms not relevant to climate change.

    Thanks for your questions!

  12. Great discussion. Here’s a report from Pew about how people around the world rank climate change among other important problems facing the world:

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/09/25/relatively-few-in-u-s-europe-see-climate-change-as-a-serious-threat/

    For people in the US, Canada and much of Europe, ISIS is the most pressing problem. But in Africa and much of Asia, it’s climate change.

    So, does that mean journalists should report less about climate change in Europe, the US and Canada? How can we find ways to help people in the most developed economies understand why people in the least developed parts of the world care so much about climate change?

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