According To…Who?

In my last post, I discussed global media and the components of news broadcasting. Tonight, I will continue this discussion on global media and global broadcasting, reflecting on Dr Tanja Dreher’s presentation of the topic of Global Crisis and Global News.

Dreher examined four main ‘crises’, and how they are addressed in the global media:

  • Climate change
  • ‘Voice for the voiceless’
  • ‘False balance’
  • Pacific Calling Partnership.

The issue that stuck with me was the way in which the global media has addressed the issue of climate change in the recent past. This is a quintessential global issue that affects not only affects our Earth in the present, but degrades it for the future generations that are to come. The issue of climate change, and our experiences with climate change are highly mediated (Dreher 2014). However, the way in which these issues have been addressed in the media has been quite striking.

Source: I Heart Climate Scientists (Facebook Page), obtained Upworthy (Facebook Page).

Source: I Heart Climate Scientists (Facebook Page), obtained Upworthy (Facebook Page).

As examined by Bud Ward in this topic’s reading, “in reporting on climate change and the findings in the physical and earth sciences defining it, US reporters for many years practised what critics contend is a ‘false balance’, providing space disproportionate to its scientific credibility to perspectives running counter t what is now widely accepted as the ‘established’ scientific judgement” (Ward 2009, p.14).’

Headlines such as this covered Newspapers, as the opinions of uninformed critics were given as much weight as the evidence produced by scientists. Source: The Daily Express

Headlines such as this covered Newspapers, as the opinions of uninformed critics were given as much weight as the evidence produced by scientists. Source: The Daily Express

For many years, climate change was reported on with scepticism and doubt. This indecision on the severity of the matter was brought about by ‘false balance’- that the opinions of critics and the uninformed were given as much weight in the media as that of scientists and their evidence (Dreher 2014). Thankfully, the approach to reporting on climate change and climate science has changed to be based on evidence and not just sheet opinion (Ward 2009).

Reference List

Dreher, T 2014, BCM111 Global Crises, Global News: Pacific Calling Partnerships: 2014 lecture notes 8th September 2014, University of Wollongong, Semester 2, 2014.

Ward, B (2009) ‘Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty’ Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics Vol 9, pp. 13 – 15.

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