Does the Political Identity of a Media Outlet affect its
coverage of science?
for Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Political Comm...
The source of a news report can tell a different story about the same topic. The driving
question this paper will examine...
The headlines reflect the angle of content, where WSJ leaned to a conservative
perspective, USA was moderate and NYT’s an...
information in newspapers regarding the IPCC conference. Because of the significance placed on
global warming by scientis...
warn society of the grave scenario of the IPCC report. The frames used by WSJ print and online
were consistent with conse...
After a thorough analysis of all five newspapers, it can be concluded that liberal and
conservative papers report the new...
Normative Analysis
times / 100 global
warming
times/100 climate
change
# of times global
6
0 5 10 15 20
warming
#...
7
Sources Used:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/newspaper-circulation-top-10_n_3188612.html
http://nyti.ms/1gf...
of 8

Political Identity of a Media Outlet...

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Political Identity of a Media Outlet...

  • 1. Does the Political Identity of a Media Outlet affect its coverage of science? for Kathleen Hall Jamieson Political Communications November 25, 2014 by Phyllis Anderson
  • 2. The source of a news report can tell a different story about the same topic. The driving question this paper will examine is, if the political identity of a media outlet affects its coverage of science. I will answer the question by arguing that conservative Wall Street Journal did differ from liberal New York Times and Washington Post and moderate USA Today in its coverage of IPCC Working Group 2 report due to its questions about environmental scientific conclusions. To make this case, I will examine The Wall Street Journal print and online versions, The New York Times print, USA Today print, and Washington Post print. The data will concentrate on four key themes: prominence, assessing frequency, media frames and a normative analysis (see charts). The criteria used to judge the themes were: the placement of the article in the paper, the size of the headline, the visuals used with the story, if the article included quotes from an expert in the field, how many times the article mentioned risk to humans, if the article referred to the IPCC report, if the article contradicted science and how many times the articles mentioned 1 climate change and global warming (see charts). The method used an article published by The Huffington Post identifying the top ten newspapers by circulation. From this set, national newspapers that covered the IPCC report between the dates of March 17-31, 2014 were chosen, resulting in five newspaper articles selected for the purpose of this analysis: The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) print “Climate Change Impact Is Wide, U.N. Says,”, the WSJ online “Hagel to Stress Climate Risks With Southeast Asian Military Officials, Defense Secretary to Speak in Defense Ministers Meeting Wednesday,” The New York Times (NYT) “Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come,” USA Today (USA) “Report: Effects of climate change seen everywhere,” and Washington Post (WP) “U.N. climate panel: Governments, businesses need to take action now against growing risks.”
  • 3. The headlines reflect the angle of content, where WSJ leaned to a conservative perspective, USA was moderate and NYT’s and WP favored a liberal viewpoint. WSJ’s print headline was small with an exact quote from the IPCC report; its online version focused on defense secretary Hagel’s meeting with military officials in Asia. The NYT’s headline was large and warned readers of climate risks. USA’s headline was large and bold, focusing on the global impact of climate change. The largest was WP which focused on the immediate actions needed. WSJ print and online headlines restated facts of the IPCC report. NYT’s headline worked to solidify the visual by warning of the risks. USA’s headline converged with the visual on the effects of severe weather and WP headline used three lines to heighten the urgency of immediate action. Verbs used; WSJ-impact, WSJ Online-stress, NYT-warning, USA-effects, WP-action were consistent with the article frames addressed below. My assumptions about the political identity of a media outlet were confirmed by liberal NYT’s most dire headline “the worst is yet to come” and liberal WP headline that focused on government and business intervention. The national agenda set on March 31st pertained to the enrollment deadline for the Affordable Care Act according to www.ABCNewsBlog.com. WSJ’s agenda was domestic politics as they buried the IPCC story on page 14. NYT’s and USA’s articles were on the front page which suggested its agenda was global warming and WP’s agenda was healthcare. It can be asserted that the topic of climate change is not in the media until a catalyst make it newsworthy, supporting the argument that generally, climate change is not a highly relevant 2 news topic in mass media. On March 25, 2014, The IPCC announced via press release about their March 25-29, 2014 meeting, with a Summary Report being released on March 31st. Although, this was the second part of a four part report, the week prior to the press release there was no anticipatory
  • 4. information in newspapers regarding the IPCC conference. Because of the significance placed on global warming by scientists, and environmentalists, I expected articles on global warming to be in the newspapers prior to the release of the report. Newspapers other than the WP began coverage when the Summary Report was released on March 31st . WSJ print’s article was on page 14, section A and was available online at 7:12pm. NYT’s posted on page 1, USA posted on page 1, section A and WP posted on March 30th, page 4, section A. The report was relevant for liberal NYT and moderate USA as it was posted on their front page, and not as prominent for WP which placed their story on page 4, and least significant for WSJ as their story was buried on page 14. Granted, the story was newsworthy enough to 3 receive coverage in all five newspapers. The frame used by WSJ print is an example of a debate frame, as they draw attention to the legitimacy of climate science (see chart 1). They conclude the article, stating “IPCC’s credibility has come under scrutiny since a 2007 report contained errors about the pace of melting of Himalayan glaciers.” The WSJ online used a challenge frame to use regulations as a solution to Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel’s plan to prevent security risks that could materialize because of climate change as the article mentioned “the consequences of climate change will act as an accelerator of violent conflicts that could advance terrorist activity.” NYT’s used a problem/solution frame, where it addressed the greenhouse gasses causing climate change and great nations can help to find solutions. The reporter quoted Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC Chairman, John Kerry and Al Gore (see chart 1) to support arguments for climate risks. USA used a certainty frame to presuppose the legitimacy of the science and the validity of its conclusions, as it reported “our ability to adapt to climate change is low.” WP used a we/they frame to emphasize “immediate action is needed by governments and businesses to prevent the risks,” to
  • 5. warn society of the grave scenario of the IPCC report. The frames used by WSJ print and online were consistent with conservative ideologies being strong on defense and debating the legitimacy of science versus the liberal NYT’s ad WP paper’s focus on the social well-being and moderate USA’s frame that concentrated on the anthropogenic reality of climate change. The visuals used by the WSJ was consistent with the debate frame as it included a small photograph of the Empire State Building in preparation for Earth Hour and IPCC’s chairman Pachauri with his mouth open, showing his lower teeth. The NYT utilized a large picture of melting sea ice in Greenland. USA used a small picture of the flooded New Jersey shoreline after Hurricane Sandy and a large picture of Greenpeace protesters. WP used a picture depicting the earth’s temperature increases from now until 2100 and a small aerial picture of Tokyo. The contrast between the visuals are, WSJ used a large, unflattering picture of Pachuri to subliminally convey its position, where NYT, USA and WP used photos consistent with the social 4 consciousness messages in the articles. WSJ print’s conservative ideology inferred that IPCC scientists were inaccurate by reminding readers that a report 7 years ago contained errors, leaving readers with issues of trust with scientific findings, which is consistent with the debate frame mentioned above (see chart). The WSJ online featured a debate between John Kerry and John McCain when Kerry called climate change a weapon of mass destruction but McCain found the statement absurd, also part of the debate frame, and contends the primary concern should be about the 130,000 people killed in Syria. The article ended with a Gallup poll survey that concluded 42% of respondents think media exaggerates the seriousness of climate change (see chart). On the other hand, NYT, USA and WP ideology gravitated toward ideas that were consistent with the scientific data and used scientists and government officials to legitimize their stories.
  • 6. After a thorough analysis of all five newspapers, it can be concluded that liberal and conservative papers report the news based on its political identity and that science is affected by 5 the way the news is reported.
  • 7. Normative Analysis times / 100 global warming times/100 climate change # of times global 6 0 5 10 15 20 warming # of times climate change of climate change and global warming WP USA NYT WSJ Online WSJ Print 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Qualitative Analysis # of times quoted expert # of times referred to IPCC report # of times mentioned risks to humans # of times contradict scientists and Findings WSP Print WSJ Online NYT USA WP
  • 8. 7 Sources Used: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/newspaper-circulation-top-10_n_3188612.html http://nyti.ms/1gfA2x2 http://usat.ly/1fbCmt1 http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304432604579472381221389904 http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/un-climate-panel-governments-businesses-need- to-take-action-now-against-growing-risks/2014/03/30/0feb5cba-b788-11e3-b84e- 897d3d12b816_story.html http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304157204579473942902472848 http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2014_Quadrennial_Defense_Review.pdf http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/ http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/pr_wg2/140330_pr_wgII_spm_en.pdf http://www.ipcc.ch/scripts/_calendar_template.php?wg=8 http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/pr_wg2/140330_pr_wgII_spm_en.pdf

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