Cross-posted from Cold Button Issues
Why is effective altruism so bad at getting on TV? The average American adult spends over four hours per day watching TV. But TV programs almost never mention effective altruism.
Internet Archive lets you search the TV captions of major news programs back to 2009. This could produce an under-count of mentions of effective altruism- but I’m skeptical that would be a big problem because I doubt sitcoms, soap operas, or TV dramas spend much time talking about effective altruism. There also could be missing results due to misspelling or other errors. Finally, the included programs are heavily weighted to American programs, so this isn’t a truly global perspective. Still, I found the results interesting.
Here’s how often effective altruism and charity evaluators were mentioned by these programs according to a search of Internet Archive’s Television Archive.
RT (Russia Today) provided the most mentions of effective altruism.
GiveWell was also rarely mentioned on TV.
There are five results for “GiveWell” over this time period buts it’s hard to see because GiveWell is virtually never discussed compared to its non-EA competitors. I was surprised by the GiveWell figures since I feel I often hear them mentioned on random podcasts I listen to, but I know my listening tastes aren’t typical.
I don’t know that the rarity of TV mentions is a bad thing. GiveWell, for instance, continues to move more money. But I did find it striking given the focus on outreach and growing the community, that effective altruism in nearly non-existent on television, one of the most powerful cultural mediums.