Media and climate change is both a global issue and heated debate. It requires us to think global and act local. Our experience of climate change is highly mediated (Cottle 2011).
Climate change in Australian media focuses on political conflict, policy, taxation, pundits, commentators and politicians. What caught my attention was the theory of “false balance”. According to Ward (2009:14) reporters may for too have been balancing opinions about science when in fact they might better have been evaluating and reporting evidence based on the science.
The Australian Parliament’s climate change website (http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/Browse_by_Topic/ClimateChange/uncertainityAndScepticism) offers a few paragraphs on uncertainty and skepticism on the subject.What comes to my attention is that at no point does it mention the media having any influence over what the majority of the public is lead to believe. The closest they get to this is referring to ‘public misconception’
Media coverage of climate change has had noticeably significant effects of the public’s opinion on climate change. The media are very important players in climate change communication – most people do not read scientific reports, specialist websites and blogs, or the reports of the IPCC. Although in theory, the ‘facts’ of climate change science should be reported in a straightforward way by newspapers and television networks, considerable differences exist between the editorial lines taken by different media organisations about the reality and seriousness of climate change.