Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Michael Bloomberg and moderator Chuck Todd appear in a pre-taped interview on Meet the Press in Washington on 20 December. (Photo: NBC NewsWire/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Thanks to Green New Deal Push, Progressives Have Forced Corporate Media to Put Focus on Climate Crisis

This week's Meet the Press special on climate change wasn't radical, but the activism that made it possible was

Alexa Beyer

While applauding the fact that NBC's "Meet the Press" did an hour-long special on climate change this past Sunday—which very well may be the first time the mainstream media has done such a thing—many progressives, green groups, and journalists were quick to point out that the conversation should have included a discussion of the rapidly growing Green New Deal campaign and “guests who acknowledge the scientific imperative of radical decarbonization over the next 12 years” such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Ayanna Presley, as Grist staff writer Eric Holthaus tweeted.

Perhaps more useful than Ocasio-Cortez getting a two-minute cut of billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s time, though, was the benchmark the show’s chosen lineup provided. Grassroots activism at current levels equals a baseline coherent discussion of climate change on cable airwaves via fifteen minute one-on-ones with a scientist, a centrist billionaire claiming that “all of the things to be done [on the crisis], or most of them, have been done by the private sector,” and a gaggle of politicians who aren’t leaders in the movement by any stretch of the imagination but aren’t sponsored by the Koch Foundation, either.

And how did we get here? What distinguishes the past few months from the countless years where the mainstream media neglected from discussing the climate crisis at all—is the push for a stimulus plan as economically dramatic as FDR’s original design. In the past two months we’ve seen activists conduct a highly public sit-in in Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding congressional Democrats back a Green New Deal. We’ve seen thousands of young people rush the offices of their Democratic lawmakers demanding the same. We’ve seen Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bypass the mainstream media to host a national climate change town hall that produced conversations about the proposed program that have since gone viral. The Green New Deal may have been the gaping absence on Sunday’s show, but it was also the reason for Sunday’s show in the first place. We now have a gauge.

We've been around long enough to know that the mainstream media will always fall short. But we don't acknowledge that so we can settle for less, but so we know just how bold future activism will have to be in order to advance the public conversation beyond what we saw on Sunday.

If activists were to again pack Pelosi’s office over the fact that corporate Democrats are gutting the Green New Deal committee of its power to subpoena oil and gas companies, Chuck Todd might have to actually explain what backers of the Green New Deal committee are demanding — and why. If progressives were to incite an organized campaign against all Democrats on climate-related committees who are also sponsored by oil and gas companies, Chuck Todd probably won’t book Ocasio-Cortez, but he may book those other lawmakers to come on and defend themselves.

For years, CNN and MSNBC have been tugged right by Republicans who claim liberal bias. Appropriately, through the rumblings of an FDR-inspired campaign, we’ve discovered how much it takes to tug them ever-so-slightly to the left.  


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Alexa Beyer

Alexa Beyer is a New York City-based writer and journalist who questions the political status quo and thinks we have the potential for something more interesting. She runs a blog: www.baddemocrat.com

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·


Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·


Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch 'Toxic Alliance' With Pesticide Association

"This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO's mandate as a U.N. institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo