Saturday, June 25, 2011

Climate Change: The Media’s Role in Shaping Public Perceptions and Opinions

Very timely. As I’ve been reflecting recently on the role of the media in shaping public perceptions and our opinions on various policy issues, I recently heard a report on Morning Edition about that very topic.

In the context of the 2012 presidential election, the report addressed the growing public skepticism about climate change. At the same time, scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is happening and it is probably cause by humans. An obvious explanation for this discrepancy is that Americans reject science and/or are skeptical of what scientists tell them.

However, the Morning Edition report indicated that was not necessarily what was going on. The report interviewed Professor Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication. He did a poll that indicated that Americans have an “overwhelming trust” in scientists, but are just not aware of the strong consensus in the scientific community about the reality and cause of climate change. The report cited cable TV and the reading of blogs for the lack of knowledge; from those sources, Americans are getting a more “conflicted view” of the scientific community’s views on climate change, which does not accurately reflect the strong consensus.

It was an interesting report and is available at the link below:

2 Corinthians 4:2

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

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