93% of Fox News climate change coverage misleading

I've just had an article What happened to climate change? Fox News and the US elections published in The Conversation that examines the reality inversion promoted by News Corporation. Here's an excerpt:

An analysis of prime time programs on Fox News has found that 93% of their coverage of climate science in 2012 was misleading. The report, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, analysed six months of prime time segments covering climate change in early 2012.

The Wall Street Journal, News Corporation’s other media flagship, didn’t fare much better. The report also included WSJ opinion pieces over the last year and found 81% of their climate change coverage was misleading.

To characterise this coverage as biased doesn’t capture the magnitude of their treatment of climate science. News Corporation is promoting an inversion of reality. For the past several decades, there has been a strengthening scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.

Surveys of the climate science community since 1996 have found the percentage of climate scientists agreeing on human-caused global warming has steadily increased to the point where in the last few years, several independent surveys have found 97% agreement among actively publishing climate scientists.

Fine words from Murdoch but …

As the scientific consensus strengthened, there have been signs of improvement in media coverage of climate change. From 1988 to 2002, US prestige press newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post (and yes, the Wall Street Journal) gave disproportionate attention to climate contrarians. However, coverage improved to the point where in 2007, 96% of U.S. prestige newspaper coverage of climate change depicted human contribution to climate change as significant.

At this time, Rupert Murdoch pledged that News coverage of climate change would improve. In 2007, he said “I think when people see that 99% of scientists agree about the serious extent of global warming, it’s going to become a fact of life”. In fact, the link between perception of scientific consensus and acceptance of climate change has been demonstrated by researchers. The important consequence emerging from this research is that perception of consensus is also a strong predictor of support for climate policy.

Despite Murdoch’s promise to improve Fox coverage, this 2012 analysis shows that coverage is worse than ever at Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

I recommend checking out the full article. If my last Conversation article is any indication, expect plenty of knee-jerk science rejection in the comments thread.

Posted by John Cook on Monday, 1 October, 2012

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