8 year old, Greta Thunberg was shocked that the climate crisis wasn't our main news story.
Dahr Jamail explains in We Are Off The Cliff.
Human-caused climate change and the sixth mass extinction are the biggest stories for all humans, and for every species on the planet. We stand on the brink of our own possible extinction.
The mainstream media ... painstakingly construct a narrative which avoids shedding any light on the real dimensions and causes of wars, terrorism and ecocide. No single Western broadcaster connects the dots or even attempts to present a broader view of the planetary drama. What are the reasons for their strategy which constitutes an unmistakable betrayal of public trust?
„Follow the money”. There is no income to be made in reporting the unraveling of the biosphere. All of the mainstream media in the US (and most of it abroad) is beholden to its corporate sponsors, whose businesses are contingent upon the maintenance of business as usual and perpetual growth. They are way more concerned with ratings. The imperative is to bring enough consumers to watch their adverts. Breaking a big news story that’s going to have dramatic economic implications, as well as life implications, is not good for their business model.
Additionally, they have conditioned their readers and viewers to seek more info/entertainment instead of news. Hence, they have conditioned themselves as news networks to pursue more entertainment stories (the so-called infotainment: sports, celebrities, oddities etc.) in order to give the audience what it wants. So it’s a vicious circle. [emphasis mine]
Moreover, this structural inflexibility means that even as Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) spirals into ever greater crisis, the media won't show those who watch their true danger.
... the dominant political structures of an economic paradigm ... predicated upon the continuation of fossil fuel usage. ... and its mainstream media will largely ignore the increasingly dramatic climate disruption impacts, let alone connecting them to ACD. Most people construct their worldview from information provided by corporate media sources… [emphasis mine]
There you have it, People-losing-your-future, there is no income to be made from news to save yourself from extermination. It sells no ads. Ethics has nothing to do with infotainment.
A scene from The Orville comes to mind. The captain was reading a newspaper from an Earth time capsule. (paraphrase) "They faced major climate disruption, of which there's no mention. But here's a full page ad for teeth whitening."
image source (text mine)
I think that the failure of mass media to cover Anthropogenic Climate Disruption is one proof, among others, that fossil fuel civilization is self-limiting. This is a sharp (like blood dripping off a razor) betrayal that's in our face every day. News has become anti-news, just as government (at least in the US) has become the opposite of what the founders intended.
Failures of mass media, the fossil fuel civilization, and current government act in ways "opposite of what the founders intended!"
Climate change and the necessity of dealing with it is not entirely out of the notice of the media. This past Friday, 29 March, 2019, MSNBC held a town hall meeting, hosted by Chris Hayes and featuring newly elected firebrand Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. They spent an hour, outlining both the technical and political issues surrounding AOC's Green New Deal and what it would take to put that proposal into action. Yes, there was more than a little cheerleading going on, especially with the crowd, but there were also a healthy amount of facts and data put on the table as well. This was not a wasted 60 minutes, by any stretch.
I'll stipulate, too, that the current climate crisis wants a lot more than one hour on prime time television to get things moving, but the issue now has a genuine leader in Ocasio-Cortez, and I don't see her letting go of that bone anytime soon. It may only be a start, but it's a good start.