Group AB – Individual research

4.3.2019

The media has historically had this need to be proactively “unbiased” when covering news stories surrounding policies due to the economic nature of these news corporations. News of policies, legislation and laws that are discussed that could affect the balance of capital control in countries would need to be presented in mixed review to ensure the news network is not showing biased to only one type of knowledge.

Journalists are restricted to producing knowledge that is in line with the science but is also approved by the board to editors and directors in a company. This restricts the knowledge to be biased and unfair especially if large shareholders in the news company have their own self-interest that contests the science of climate change. 

I found this to be prevalent in the documentation of climate change in news networks and identify it as being a gap in knowledge that should be acknowledged by people when they conduct their own research surrounding climate change. In the past year there has been a number of articles and think pieces published focusing on how conversations of climate change have been manipulated and controlled by climate sceptics. This is particularly true when looking at the news media’s sensationalising climate change by having both a climate scientist and a sceptic debate the issue.

Research:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/10/how-fossil-fuel-industry-got-media-think-climate-change-was-debatable/?utm_term=.953a004d0678

https://www.eco-business.com/news/the-medias-role-in-the-climate-change-story/

https://psmag.com/environment/media-coverage-of-climate-change-is-caught-in-an-equilibrium-trap

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2018/10/media-climate-change-total-overhaul-181020072147408.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/02/bbc-climate-change-deniers-balance

Media Presentations of Climate Change – Boykoff and Smith 2010

Climate change and journalistic norms: A case-study of US mass-media coverage – Boykoff 2007

Contesting science by appealing to its norms: readers discuss climate science in the Daily Mail – Jaspal et al. 2013

Research Findings: 

  • knowledge presented by news outlets are biased in relation to the self-interests of shareholders, company directors and editors 
    • journalists are restricted by these macro factors when discussing climate change 
    • the monopolised nature of news outlets are problematic in creating knowledge for the average citizen as it pushes people’s self-interest onto other’s
  • journalists are reliant on the sensationalised nature of news to reach an audience – they argue that climate change is often too dry and scientific to be interesting for the average audience
    • they counter this by having debates of climate change where they pin a climate sceptic alongside a climate scientist – this problematises the knowledge produced because it is essentially countering scientific knowledge with social sciences and little empirical evidence 
    • climate change debates hinder legislation and policies that would counter the effects of anthropogenic climate change as it creates this belief that anthropogenic climate change is a debatable topic 
    • by doing this, journalists politicise the issue of climate change and force people that are aligned to a political sphere to justify their beliefs and push the agenda of their specific political identity 
  • people tend to watch news that aligns itself with their own beliefs and confirm their preconceptions 
    • while this is no fault of news outlets, when news outlets that adamantly discern the reality of climate change it emphasises the idea that “there is no right or wrong in science” – detrimental in the development of climate change policies 
    • it also creates a sphere of news that is specifically dedicated to deciphering climate change and furthering the belief that anthropogenic climate change is a debatable topic 
    • there should be a bias in the documentation of scientific findings especially in mass media as it is an important source of knowledge 

I feel like these issues are best to be discussed in the presentation as it is definitive to the topic and question that we have reached. It clearly presents the obvious gaps in knowledge surrounding climate change. Furthermore, from an interdisciplinary context we can clearly dissect it from a political and geographic perspective – whereby these documentations of climate change have and will influence future legislation and policies – as well as an english perspective – the specific jargon used by these news and media networks can severely influence layman’s understanding of anthropogenic climate change.

2 thoughts on “Group AB – Individual research

  1. Hi Christina,

    Thank you very much for summarizing our discussion last week!
    I’m now researching about how social media has influenced the idea of climate change.
    And I found that there is a sort of collective actions or ideas about climate change.
    We can discuss this tomorrow;)

    Thanks,
    Kayoko

  2. Thank you very much for summarizing our discussion last week!
    I’m now researching about how social media has influenced the idea of climate change.
    And I found that there is a sort of collective actions or ideas about climate change.
    We can discuss this tomorrow;)

    Thanks,
    Kayoko

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