Indeed, the film does depict a media that is more concerned with celebrity relationships than with climate (or rather, comet) science. But it does not have a nihilistic view of Americans. Not in the least, and this is critically important to understand. In fact, the film depicts an idealistic, diverse group of Americans who try their best to protect the planet. Their lives are destroyed not because we are idiots but because those with power choose to delay, deny, and mislead, more interested in their own short-term gain than the future of humanity -- in part because these people know that the catastrophe they have wrought will not have the same consequences for them personally.
Speaking as a climate scientist doing everything I can to wake people up and avoid planetary destruction, it's also the most accurate film about society's terrifying non-response to climate breakdown I've seen. [...]
The panic and desperation they feel mirror the panic and desperation that many climate scientists feel. In one scene, Mindy hyperventilates in a bathroom; in another, Diabasky, on national TV, screams "Are we not being clear? We're all 100% for sure gonna fucking die!" I can relate. This is what it feels like to be a climate scientist today.
The two astronomers are given a 20-minute audience with the president, who is glad to hear that impact isn't technically 100% certain. Weighing election strategy above the fate of the planet, she decides to "sit tight and assess".