Climate denialism: It’s an Anglo-Saxon thing
According to a new study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, climate change denial — or at least, representation of climate change denial in the media — is pretty heavily an Anglo-Saxon problem. The study analyzed more than 3,000 articles from six countries that presented deniers' viewpoints, and 80 percent of them were from the U.S. or the U.K.
Newspapers in Brazil, China, and India were much less likely to cite skeptics, and even France pooh-poohed denialism as it pooh-poohs most other things. When they did quote skeptics, they were overwhelmingly the type of skeptics who doubt the human contribution to global warming, rather than the type who outright deny it exists. But the English-speakers bravely held up the tradition.
Why are Anglos such sticks in the mud? It's complicated, but the study authors theorize that it has something to do with support for climate skepticism from politicians and deep-pocketed groups.
The weight of this study would suggest that, out of this wide range of factors, the presence of politicians espousing some variation of climate scepticism, the existence of organised interests that feed sceptical coverage, and partisan media receptive to this message, all play a particularly significant role in explaining the greater prevalence of sceptical voices in the print media of the USA and the UK.
Americans and Brits were by far the most likely to quote politicians when discussing the anti-climate-change perspective — the Anglo papers accounted for 86 percent of politican quotes. France was the only other country that quoted its own politicans (versus politicians from other countries), but the authors theorized that the French have an insulating layer of cold rationality protecting them from too much lunacy.
- Poles Apart: Executive Summary , Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Get Grist in your inbox