Ocean Acidification: Media Covers Kardashians 40 Times More Than This Huge Threat

Only 8 percent of Americans understand one of the largest threats to our seas—and a huge reason for that ignorance is the national media.
What's wrong with the American media that these sisters are covered more in depth than the future of the world's oceans? (Photo: Danny Moloshok)
Jun 28, 2012· 1 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Take a bow Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney—the American media thinks you’re way (way, way, way, way) more important than the future of the world’s seven seas.

A new report compiled by Media Matters says that, “American news outlets have covered the Kardashians over 40 times more than ocean acidification over the past year and a half.”

This finding would seem to confirm one conducted in 2010 by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication which found that “77 percent of Americans say they have read or heard nothing about ocean acidification.”

Often referred to by its clumsy moniker, “osteoporosis of the sea,” ocean acidification is, in short, the process by which carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly altering the chemistry of the world’s oceans.

According to Media Matters:

Rising carbon dioxide emissions have caused the oceans to become around 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution, and if we do not lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the ocean surface could be up to 150 percent more acidic by 2100. At that level, the shells of some plankton would dissolve, large parts of the ocean would become inhospitable to coral reef growth, and the rapidity of the change could threaten much of the marine food web. According to the National Research Council, the chemical changes are taking place "at an unprecedented rate and magnitude" and are "practically irreversible on a time scale of centuries."

The offending newspaper and television outlets fall on both sides of the political spectrum.

Since the end of 2010, ABC, NBC, and Fox News have completely ignored ocean acidification, and the Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, CNN, and CBS have barely mentioned it at all.

Be honest, before this story had you ever heard of ocean acidification? Yes or no, are you now worried about this sea slayer?