“We're seeing media more accurately representing the science on climate change—climate change is happening, it's caused by humans. Now, in terms of climate action, we're seeing that climate skeptics, deniers, or discourses of delay, are being given more space in the news article, more power than like a relevant climate expert or policymaker.
“So they're getting the science right but then when they're talking about the actual solution and action moving forward, we're still seeing this problematic balance issue where one side is being favored.”
Which papers are telling the truth?
And which are giving inches to climate skeptics?
In this episode, Lucy McAllister, Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at Denison University, explains how journalism's reliance on "balance" causes bias in climate reporting. She walks us through new research which shows how climate coverage accuracy has improved since the initial findings in 2004, but that there is still a significant divide between left-leaning and right-wing papers, specifically those owned by Rupert Murdoch.
She also reveals how the tactics of muddling the discourse has become more sophisticated, with column inches now being given to climate skeptics or discourses of delays. Combatting this is critical, Lucy says, pointing to solutions journalism as critical in the fight to "reframe" narratives to empower communities around the world.
Lucy McAllister is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Denison University. Prior to this position, she worked at the Technical University of Munich, Babson College, and Boston College. Lucy's interdisciplinary research focuses on the framing of overlapping global environmental injustices—climate change and hazardous waste—and the disproportionate impact on minorities, women, children, future generations, and other stigmatized groups. Broadly, her research explores how we communicate and perceive social harms and environmental injustices, and therefore informs work on inclusive, interdisciplinary solutions. She has published research in several outlets, such as Environmental Research Letters, The Lancet, The Lancet Planetary Health, Health and Human Rights, Science and Engineering Ethics, and the Sociology of Development. Lucy is a part of the research group at the Media and Climate Change Observatory, University of Colorado Boulder.
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