Oct 2, 2019

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Greta's climate moment

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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios - Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issue.

Thanks to Greta Thunberg, climate change stories generated 18 million interactions on social media over the last two weeks, the most for the issue this year by far, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: Climate change has lagged in generating significant online interest, even as it's taken on a great urgency among Democrats and young voters. The latest findings suggest the messenger matters.

  • Climate change stories generated 5 million more interactions (comments, shares, likes on Facebook and Twitter) than the second-biggest two-week period of the year.
    • That's more than guns, immigration and the economy over this time.
  • If not for the Trump-Ukraine-impeachment story, climate change would have been the No. 1 issue.

The big picture: Climate change suffers in the attention economy because of the complexity of the issue and the scientific jargon in the specifics of proposed solutions.

  • The day-to-day news lacks the visceral emotional intensity of immigration and guns.
  • For those not devastated by extreme weather events, it lacks the immediate relevance that economic and social issues like health care and inequality offer.
  • While headlines about Trump administration environmental policies and projections of widespread harm grab attention, interest tends to wane quickly.

Between the lines: Greta Thunberg is a big reason for the uptick in climate interest.

By the numbers: The top articles from the last two weeks about climate change:

  1. 2 striking photos taken just over a year apart show how Greta Thunberg's climate strike inspired millions (Business Insider) — 742k interactions
  2. Personal attacks on Greta Thunberg prove that adults can't argue with her actual message (Mic) — 651k
  3. Obama meets with teen climate activist Greta Thunberg: 'You and me, we're a team' (CNN) — 636k
  4. Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Prize (Australia's SBS News) — 452k - Note: The article was published in March.
  5. Trump Will End California’s Authority to Set Stricter Auto Emissions Rules — New York Times —403k

The bottom line: For an issue that will impact the younger generation most acutely, Thunberg's message has resonated more this year than the words of Al Gore, Jay Inslee or even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

See all past editions of the tracker here.

Go deeper

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy