Polarizing news? Representations of threat and efficacy in leading US newspapers’ coverage of climate change

Lauren Feldman, P. Sol Hart, Tijana Milosevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines non-editorial news coverage in leading US newspapers as a source of ideological differences on climate change. A quantitative content analysis compared how the threat of climate change and efficacy for actions to address it were represented in climate change coverage across The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today between 2006 and 2011. Results show that The Wall Street Journal was least likely to discuss the impacts of and threat posed by climate change and most likely to include negative efficacy information and use conflict and negative economic framing when discussing actions to address climate change. The inclusion of positive efficacy information was similar across newspapers. Also, across all newspapers, climate impacts and actions to address climate change were more likely to be discussed separately than together in the same article. Implications for public engagement and ideological polarization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-497
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Keywords

  • climate change
  • media representations
  • science journalism

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