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Thread: climate change sceptism and the media

  1. #1 climate change sceptism and the media 
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    I found this report by reuters institute for the study of journalism (via a bbc article).

    Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism*/*Poles Apart: the international reporting of climate scepticism

    (BBC article)

    The report examines articles from newspapers in 6 countries, Brazil, China, France, India, US, UK -

    In general the UK and US print media quoted or mentioned significantly more sceptical voices than the other four countries. Together they represented more than 80% of the times such voices were quoted across all six countries.

    Over 40% of the articles where such voices were included were to be found in the opinion pages and editorials as compared to the news pages.But the print media in Brazil, China, India and France had many fewer such pieces than those in the UK and USA.

    Politicians represented around a third of all sceptical voices quoted or mentioned, compared to the lower share (about a fifth) of university climate scientists. But the UK and American newspapers were much more likely to quote politicians than the newspapers in other countries. The four Anglo-Saxon newspapers accounted for 86% of all the times politicians were quoted. France was the only other country to quote national politicians, whilst the other three countries quoted none or politicians from other countries.

    The sceptics who question the role that human factors play in global warming had a higher incidence in the print media in Brazil, China, India and France, representing nearly 90% of the sceptics quoted or mentioned. This compared with a figure of around 60% for the USA and UK.
    It goes on to say pretty much what you would expect, that sceptical voices are more prevalant in right-leaning than left-leaning newspapers, but only in the UK and US which is very interesting - the report indicates climate change is very much more a politicised issue in the these than other countries.
    To me, this reflects a major problem with our media, that they indulge in what might be characterised 'citizen journalism' rather than professional journalism.

    Maybe an idealistic free press is not such a good thing.


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  3. #2  
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    "Maybe an idealistic free press is not such a good thing."

    What's the difference in press between the US and UK from those other nations?

    --

    The US has a bad habit of putting forth anything from skeptics, regardless of credibility, perhaps out of some poor concept of "fairness," when the reality is there's almost no reason to.


    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; November 13th, 2011 at 10:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "Maybe an idealistic free press is not such a good thing."

    What's the difference in press between the US and UK from those other nations?
    I thought it could either be that they tend to be more aggressive in holding to ideological positions, or that they tend more toward sensationalism i.e. hocking as many papers as possible (does that count as unprofessional for a journalist? it should, maybe).

    The US has a bad habit of putting forth anything from skeptics, regardless of credibility, perhaps out of some poor concept of "fairness," when the reality is there's almost no reason to.
    Yep, the debate should be centred around what scientists are saying but academics aren't getting a look in. There seems to be a feedback system where political debate in government depends on what journalists can sell. Maybe this is absent in other countries. They have actual, proper journalists rather than the unelected pseudo-politicians that report our news.
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    To me, this reflects a major problem with our media, that they indulge in what might be characterised 'citizen journalism' rather than professional journalism.

    Maybe an idealistic free press is not such a good thing.
    Confusing the current state of Rupert Murdoch and corporate dominated media - US and UK - with an "idealistic free press", will mire you in more or less hopeless confusion.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to see to it that the US press reports inconvenient scientific realizations in a manner not threatening to the Koch brothers' interests. Entire media empires have been created and supported for the sole purpose of preventing tax hikes, profit curbings, or other inconveniences, from being visited upon the wealthy in the US.
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    So are you for increased press regulation?
    This would be very problematic in the UK, and so far as i know such regulation would be more or less prohibited by the first ammendment in the US. There's also article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights.

    If the problem in the US/UK is the extent to which the news media is a part of the power game, the establishment, is eg article 19 not naive idealism? This is what i mean by citizen journalism - the murdoch empire etc seem to hide behind idealistic legislation.
    Last edited by CMR80606; November 13th, 2011 at 05:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR
    So are you for increased press regulation?
    This would be very problematic in the UK, and so far as i know such regulation would be more or less prohibited by the first ammendment in the US.
    I am for increased regulation of corporate money and power, and increased freedom of the press from their influence.

    The Fairness Doctrine, revoked in 1994 to allow such corporate paid media efforts as Rush Limbaugh's radio show, was not in violation of the US Constitution.
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    Here's an idea. Could the media be succesfully regulated by imposing the condition that media outlets can be owned only by proffesional bodies, in the cooperative model? So only by an equivalent in journalism to bar association or chartered accountants association. Something like that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "Maybe an idealistic free press is not such a good thing."

    What's the difference in press between the US and UK from those other nations?

    Rupert Murdoch.
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    Yeah, and the problem with such media oligarchy is that it's profit driven. Wouldn't it be an improvement (probably not really a fix) to find a way to morph news gathering organisations into something more like academic institutions? Free press seems important enough to a liberal democracy that it warrants legislating a bespoke model of ownership, why do we have to legislation that exists for other stuff?

    So we would still have a press free of direct state regulation, but journalists would have power and incentive to self-regulate. There's probably a gazillion reasons why this is impossible and naive... i suppose the fact that many news outlets simply repackage and distribute news rather than gather it (google, yahoo! etc) is problematic... but if there were self-regulating outlets that could only be controled by professional journalists with clear codes of practise, comparable to hippocractic oath, codes of practise in acadamia etc... it would never be perfect, but better than it is now at least.
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    A press in slave to corporate sponsorship and the profit needs of Wall Street money is not free. The federal and state government has a role in preventing that, which it used to carry out through such requirements as the Fairness Doctrine, rules about advertising, and the like (in addition to the standard prohibitions of slander and deliberately damaging lies or deceptions, crimes).

    Maximum freedom of the press is not attained at the point of zero government regulation, for the same reason that maximum freedom of car travel is not attained at the point of zero government traffic and highway engineering regulation.

    When Scientific American ran its series on Reagan's Star Wars boondoggle several major advertisers (military/industrial complex components) pulled their ads and almost drove the magazine under - despite rising subscriptions in a much desired demographic. That lesson was not lost on other magazines. There the government and the corporations were in league - no stopping that except wiser voters than the electors of Reagan.

    When the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, Rush Limbaugh was set up on the airwaves by his corporate backers within a year, and he and his fellow travelers took over the US political and journalistic airwaves soon after and have framed our public discussion for a decade now (aided along the way by the relaxation of the laws curbing cartel ownership of regional news media as a whole, some favorable tax rulings and legislation, etc etc etc). Restoration and enforcement of those laws and regulations would have a chance of restoring some basic journalistic integrity to the broadcast TV and radio news, by somewhat protecting journalists from corporate paymasters and their agenda, as was the case until 1994.
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    But direct legislation such as the fairness doctrine just seems to treat the symptoms and not the cause. Why not legislate in a way that encourages quality journalism rather than imposing a state sponsered code of practice?

    For example, rather than having organisations that employ journalists why not organisations that are owned by the journalists who contribute? So they wouldn't be employed so much as elected by their peers. Maybe this would encourage high standards and integrity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR
    But direct legislation such as the fairness doctrine just seems to treat the symptoms and not the cause.
    The symptoms are the problem, and fully treating them would eliminate the problem. The cause is structural, in a capitalistic economy - it's not something that can be "treated".

    And on the other hand, an association of "journalists" dominated by the current pack of "journalists" we see on TV and radio and major newspapers today would do little to encourage integrity or high standards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CMR
    But direct legislation such as the fairness doctrine just seems to treat the symptoms and not the cause.
    The symptoms are the problem, and fully treating them would eliminate the problem. The cause is structural, in a capitalistic economy - it's not something that can be "treated".
    I think it could. For example, if it were legislated so that any media platform that wished to deliver advertising must be a charitable trust. Such an organisation would be financially self sustaining, but since it would be not-for-profit (bar corruption) there would be far less incentive to bow to the demands of corporate interests. A 'faculty' of managers of such an institution would then be able to selectively control the advertising that supported the institution and also screen membership.

    It's a matter of idealism as well. Would you privatize the judiciary or security services? Is a free press any less important or for that matter powerful? We hold judiciary seperate from state and private interests for a reason - because it's too big, too important. I think the media needs to be regulated at the same kind of level - constitutional.


    And on the other hand, an association of "journalists" dominated by the current pack of "journalists" we see on TV and radio and major newspapers today would do little to encourage integrity or high standards.
    Well maybe, but i would imagine many journalists get into the proffesion for highly idealistic reasons. The status quo doesn't favour these guys, it forces them into the sort of 'make something up and hope enough people believe it' culture of the dominant pack; maybe a different arena would allow them to fight it out amongst themselves.
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