Mass media key vehicle by which climate change contrarianism has traveled

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Washington, Feb 23 (ANI): In a new study, a University of Colorado at Boulder professor has determined that mass media have been a key vehicle by which climate change contrarianism has traveled.

The University of Colorado at Boulder professor in question is Maxwell Boykoff, who is also a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES.

"One problem occurs when outlier viewpoints are not individually evaluated in context," said Boykoff.

"A variety of influences and perspectives typically have been collapsed by mass media into one general category of skepticism. This has been detrimental both in terms of dismissing legitimate critiques of climate science or policy, as well as amplifying extreme and tenuous claims," he added.

Such claims are amplified when traditional news media position noncredible contrarian sources against those with scientific data, in a failed effort to represent opposing sides, according to Boykoff.

"Another issue in mass media is the tendency to flatly report on both the claims of contrarians, as well as the accusations made about their claims and motives," he said.

The ensuing finger-pointing plays into the conflict, drama and personalized stories that drive news.

It also distracts attention from critical institutional and societal challenges regarding carbon consumption that calls citizen behaviors, actions and decisions to account.

"Reducing climate science and policy considerations to a tit-for-tat between dueling personalities comes at the expense of appraising fundamental challenges regarding the necessary de-carbonization of industry and society," said Boykoff. (ANI)

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