Close this search box.

Warmists lament media coverage: The curse of ‘both-sidesism’: ‘How climate denial skewed media coverage for 30 years’

Ever wonder why Americans have been so slow to support climate action? A new study lays some of the blame on media bias —for 30 years, three of the country’s most influential sources of news gave too much credence to arguments that the world shouldn’t take decisive action to mitigate climate change.

“Opponents of climate action have been given an outsize opportunity to sway this debate,” said Rachel Wetts, the author of the study. Her results were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wetts analyzed 1,768 press releases from business, government, and social advocacy organizations from 1985 to 2013, categorizing them by their stance on climate action. She then ran the press releases through plagiarism detection software to see how often they were featured in the country’s largest-circulation newspapers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

She found that even though 10 percent of the press releases contained messaging against climate action — arguments like, “It would be too expensive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” — 14 percent of them wound up in print. By contrast, the more prevalent press releases arguing for personal, corporate, or political action to tackle climate change were only covered 7 percent of the time. And the least-covered press releases came from groups with the most expertise on science and technology, such as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and IBM.

Edward Mailbach, director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications, called these conclusions unsettling. “Rather than marginalize self-interested voices and give prominence to expert voices, these papers did just the opposite,” he said.