Meteorologist Faces Harassment After Discussing Climate Change on Newscasts

by Madison Thomas
meteorologist harassment climate change

TV meteorologist Chris Gloninger faced escalating harassment when he began reporting on climate change during local newscasts. Outraged emails and even threats to his personal safety followed his coverage. Gloninger, who was encouraged to bring change to the Iowa station he worked for, faced mounting backlash. One individual who sent threatening emails was charged with harassment. The Des Moines station requested that Gloninger reduce his coverage due to the pressure to maintain ratings.

Gloninger, after experiencing the growing resistance, made the decision to leave KCCI-TV on June 21, effectively ending his 18-year career in broadcast journalism.

Unfortunately, Gloninger’s experience is not unique among meteorologists nationwide who link climate change to extreme weather events in their local forecasts. On-air meteorologists now face a rising anti-science sentiment, compounding the skepticism towards the news media.

The abuse faced by meteorologists has intensified in recent years, with individuals resorting to name-calling and harassment for sharing information they don’t want to hear. This hostile political climate has affected various nonpartisan professions, from librarians to school board officials and election workers.

Beliefs are often amplified more than truth and evidence-based science, creating a challenging situation for the nation. Gloninger’s announcement caused a stir among broadcast meteorologists at a national conference in Phoenix, where they shared their own unsettling stories of harassment.

Meteorologists have long desired to discuss climate change on air, but a decade ago, only a few did so due to resistance. However, today it has become more common for TV meteorologists to depict the effects of climate change, even if they don’t explicitly mention it. For example, they may highlight the increasing number of days with temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

While this type of reporting resonates with many, critics are often the most vocal. By succumbing to the pressure from a minority of viewers, broadcasters risk neglecting the majority who seek relevant and important information about their communities.

Nevertheless, some meteorologists have observed growing public interest in climate change, even in conservative states, as severe weather events impact farmland and homes. Data-based reporting has generally been well received, as it provides communities with valuable insights into their surroundings.

The issue of harassment extends beyond the United States, affecting meteorologists in other countries such as Spain, France, Australia, and the U.K. The problem is not necessarily linked directly to climate change reporting but rather represents a pervasive issue within the industry that affects certain individuals more than others.

Confidence in the scientific community and news media has experienced a decline across the political spectrum in recent years. The widening gap between Republicans and Democrats on these issues is the largest in almost five decades, reflecting a concerning trend of science being under attack.

Gloninger has chosen to leave Des Moines and return to Boston to care for his elderly parents. He has realized that a small fraction of people who reject climate change make up the majority of the negative feedback he received. Gloninger plans to join the Woods Hole Group, a climate change research company, as a senior scientist specializing in climate and risk communication.

While Gloninger acknowledges the overwhelming support he has received from people across the state, he believes that this incident does not represent the true beliefs of Iowans.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about meteorologist harassment climate change

What led to the harassment faced by TV meteorologist Chris Gloninger?

The harassment faced by TV meteorologist Chris Gloninger was triggered by his increasing coverage of climate change during local newscasts. As he connected extreme weather events to climate change, the backlash and pushback from viewers intensified, leading to outraged emails and even threats to his personal safety.

Why did Chris Gloninger decide to leave his career in broadcast journalism?

Chris Gloninger made the decision to leave his 18-year career in broadcast journalism due to the escalating harassment he faced for his coverage of climate change. The mounting pressure from viewers and the station’s request to reduce his coverage, driven by the need to maintain ratings, contributed to his departure from KCCI-TV.

Is the harassment faced by meteorologists who discuss climate change a common issue?

Yes, the harassment faced by meteorologists who discuss climate change is unfortunately a common issue. Meteorologists across the country have encountered resistance and harassment from viewers who reject the connection between climate change and extreme weather events. This anti-science sentiment, combined with a skeptical attitude towards the news media, has created a challenging environment for meteorologists.

Are meteorologists the only professionals facing harassment for discussing climate change?

No, meteorologists are not the only professionals facing harassment for discussing climate change. The hostile political landscape has affected various nonpartisan professions, including librarians, school board officials, and election workers. The amplification of beliefs over evidence-based science has led to an atmosphere where individuals facing harassment and threats are not limited to meteorologists alone.

How do meteorologists report on climate change without explicitly mentioning it?

Meteorologists often report on climate change without explicitly mentioning it by highlighting its effects in their forecasts. For example, they may focus on the increasing number of days with temperatures exceeding a certain threshold or discuss trends in extreme weather events. While not explicitly mentioning climate change, these reports aim to provide viewers with insights into the changing weather patterns and their impact on local communities.

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JohnSmith89 July 8, 2023 - 5:16 pm

wow this story is crazy! that poor meteorologist chris gloninger had to deal with so much harassment just for reporting on climate change! it’s really sad to see how some people can’t handle the truth and resort to threats and name-calling. we need to support journalists who are trying to bring important information to the public!

WeatherLover23 July 9, 2023 - 11:07 am

can’t believe how some folks can be so closed-minded! meteorologists like chris gloninger are just doing their job by connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change. it’s not like they’re making things up! we should be grateful for their efforts to keep us informed about the world around us.

WeatherWatcher77 July 9, 2023 - 11:51 am

it’s sad to see how some people can’t handle the truth when it comes to climate change. chris gloninger was just trying to educate the public and connect the dots between extreme weather and climate change. instead, he faced harassment and threats. we need to have more open-mindedness and respect for those who bring important information to light.

NatureEnthusiast July 9, 2023 - 11:54 am

it’s really disheartening to read about the harassment faced by meteorologists like chris gloninger. they play a crucial role in keeping us informed about the impacts of climate change. it’s time we listen to the science and support those who are working to raise awareness about this critical issue.

SunshineGirl July 9, 2023 - 4:11 pm

omg, this is so messed up! poor chris gloninger had to leave his career because of all the hate he received for talking about climate change. it’s a shame that a few angry people can have such a big impact. we should be encouraging more discussions about climate change, not trying to silence them!


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