Thursday, December 01, 2011

How The Media Dupes Us

I've done a few pieces on climate change in the media, and the lack of journalistic rigour. [Links: 1 2 3 4] Now the stats are here to prove it.

The Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (University of Technology, Sydney) has released a study A Sceptical Climate.

The study of 3971 articles across 10 Australian newspapers, on the topic of carbon policy produced some interesting stats.

73% Negative, 27% Positive (excluding neutral articles). It was 82-18 in News Limited papers. Fairfax papers, a more balanced 43-57.

Scary headlines sell papers. Even neutral articles were given twice as many negative headlines (41%) than postive ones (19%). Just ask Gail Kelly :)

Negative language. 51% of articles referred to a "carbon tax" (the prefered term of opponents) while just 11% used the term "carbon price" (the prefered term of proponents). In News Limited papers it was 70-8.

Who gets the microphone? Business received more coverage than all civil society sources combined (unions, NGOs, think tanks, activists, members of the public, religious spokespeople, scientists and academics). Within business, fossil fuel companies and the like received far more coverage than clean energy and supportive businesses.

That's the quick guide to how a media can dupe the unsuspecting reader. For more detail and stats, check out the full report. For Aussies, it's also interesting to see what coverage is like in your state.

[Link: Full Report]

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