Enlarge / US President Donald Trump speaks during a post-election press conference on November 7, 2018. (credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Late last week, as the country was focusing on antacids and shopping, the Trump administration released a report on climate change prepared by its own scientific agencies. The hope was that the report and its expectations of a huge financial and human toll would be ignored and the administration could go back to pretending that it was perfectly justified in pursuing policies like pulling out of the Paris climate agreement and attempting to resuscitate coal.
That didn’t quite work out. Coverage of the report’s dramatic conclusions about the pace and costs of climate change continued to drive headlines over the weekend, and they were a featured topic on Sunday news talk shows. As the following week arrived, Trump and other officials were peppered with questions about the report.
But as the week unfolded, the administration stuck to a number of different strategies in an attempt to disavow the work of its own experts. And to further muddy the situation, television news outlets handled the situation poorly, allowing themselves to be used as a source of misinformation during their attempts to cover the new report.