Thursday, November 18, 2010

Media Fail: World Media Suckered By Big Oil Denier Lobby Over Copenhagen, Emails

An analysis of 400 articles written about the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change last December showed that less than 10% of the articles dealt primarily with the science behind climate change, according to an article in the Washington Post.

The study, prepared for Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, showed that much of the reporting was focused on the relative non-issue of the hacked emails of British scientists, who have since been cleared of wrong-doing. The report's author, James Painter, wrote, "We need more discussion between scientists, journalists and policymakers on how to keep highly significant, slow-burn issues like climate change interesting and engaging to different audiences around the world."

Instead, the media permitted themselves to be led down the garden path by the Big Oil funded denial lobby and allowed themselves to be convinced that the email issue was important.

Also implied by the study was the fact that a large portion of the public may not be engaged at all by more dry articles about climate science. The study draws a conclusion that conference organizers in these situations could benefit from paying more attention to delivering a message that is going to be compelling for media and their readers.

Responding to this study on his blog, Al Gore says media are failing in their responsibilities: "Our media has a responsibility to educate the public on issues affecting the planet. Covering the climate crisis only as a political issue shields from public view the vital scientific and moral elements of the debate."

No comments: