Climate Change Denial and the Media

1506 Words 7 Pages
"The pace of global warming is accelerating and the scale of the impact is devastating. The time for action is limited - we are approaching a tipping point beyond which the opportunity to reverse the damage of CO2 emissions will disappear."
-- Eliot Spitzer

"Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening."
-- James Hansen

Climate change, specifically in reference to C02 Emissions released by human use of fossil fuels and their consequential effects on the environment, is perhaps one of the most pressing issues we, not just as Americans, but as human beings face in our lifetimes. Though it may sound like a sensationalist statement the facts are hard to deny. In May of 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
…show more content…
97% of climate scientists agree that such increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration are man-made (Global Climate Change: Consensus). Why then is it that the news media treats such widely held views by experts as debate rather than consensus? The answer may lie in the media’s current and skewed standards of what constitutes “objectivity” and “balance”.

It can be said that the mainstream American news media holds objective reporting in a high regard, and rightfully so. Such a journalistic culture finds its roots in the Fairness Doctrine, a policy implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949(Boliek) in response to muckraking and irresponsible journalistic practices of prior times. The Fairness Doctrine mandated that news organizations provide contrasting views of controversial issues in an equal manner. Though the Fairness Doctrine was repealed in 1987, and its official language removed in 2011, the effects of this policy still seem to play a significant role in the mainstream media (Boliek). It can be argued that the residual effects of this policy have mutated into a heavy emphasis on fairness and balance (in some cases, and in other cases not as much) that has made many journalists lose their focus on what objectivity actually means.

In a publication Objectivity & Balance: Today’s Best Practices in American Journalism by Joel Kaplan, the associate Dean for

More about Climate Change Denial and the Media

Open Document