I often hear that the reason we’re doing only the bare minimum on climate action is that too many people around the planet are unaware of the dire situation humankind is up against. Deniers say that not all the science is in – we need more studies. Many world leaders and politicians do not want a carbon tax because it will damage the world economy. Or global warming has happened before man was around to cause it. And the list of lame excuses goes on.
Even if you believe that Climate Change is real, and I think about it every single day, then what are your thoughts on how the mainstream media reports on these issues: climate change, global warming, ocean acidification, species extinction, ecocide, oil spills, putting a price on carbon.
Climate Change Awareness Deficit? Blame the Media
In their misguided view of editorial balance, major media outlets – newspapers, television networks and cable news – may have done more harm than good in raising awareness about the climate change crisis facing humankind. At the BBC, staff have been told “not to insert false balance into stories when issues were non-contentious” and to stop airing “marginal views”. This applies to the science of climate change where 97 percent of experts agree on the causes and the severity of the crisis.
The BBC Trust on Thursday (July 4) published a progress report into the corporation’s science coverage which was criticised in 2012 for giving too much air-time to critics who oppose non-contentious issues. The Trust wishes to emphasize the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that clear to audiences…..Science coverage does not simply lie in reflecting a wide range of views but depends on the varying degree of prominence such views should be given.
Lately, I’m been wondering about a fairer way of doing this. And I think that John Oliver of Last Week Tonight has found the answer to the imbalanced reporting of the media on climate change. His parody on the climate change debate is both entertaining and, well let’s say, more or less pragmatic. Watch the video.
Last Week Tonight. John Oliver
Published on Jun 6, 2014
Standard YouTube License
“We journalists are to blame for not properly communicating the scientific evidence of global warming to the public,” says Josia M. Hesse who quotes Maxwell Boykoff (CU-Boulder professor and author of Who Speaks for the Climate?: Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change) and Adriana Bailey, who with Boykoff, just co-authored a recent study published in Environmental Communication.
How a reporter chooses to interpret scientific evidence has a big impact on what people think about climate change. Because the IPCC uses the scientific method of going back and forth with new data, there’s a tendency in the US media to frame climate change as a ‘debate’.
Laura Sabransky, who is a friend living in Chicago, posted the BBC article in Facebook with this comment:
LA Times have done the same. Any other “news” organizations in the U.S. want to follow suit? On the other hand, I don’t really care, because the truth is the truth is the truth, and in the not too distant future, this argument will not even be a “thing.”