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Flogging a dead norm? Newspaper coverage of anthropogenic climate change in the United States and United Kingdom from 2003 to 2006

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Abstract:

The journalistic norm of ‘balanced’ reporting (giving roughly equal coverage to both sides in any significant dispute) is recognised as both useful and problematic in communicating emerging scientific consensus on human attribution for global climate change. Analysis of the practice of this norm in United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) newspaper coverage of climate science between 2003 and 2006 shows a significant divergence from scientific consensus in the US in 2003–4, followed by a decline in 2005–6, but no major divergence in UK reporting. These findings inform ongoing considerations about the spatially-differentiated media terms and conditions through which current and future climate policy is negotiated and implemented.

Keywords: United Kingdom; United States; climate science; content analysis; mass media; policy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2007.00769.x

Affiliations: Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Oxford OX1 3QY, Email: maxwell.boykoff@eci.ox.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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