Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The media economy of denial

Monbiot: Corrupt journalists and media organisations help climate deniers
Unethical journalists and pseudo-professional newsroom practices are to blame for confusing public understanding of climate change, George Monbiot suggested in his excellent blog on April 29, 2009. He described accurately the practice of journalists working for newspapers, television or radio "secretly taking money from undisclosed interests to champion their views". Monbiot then went on to point at media organisations as "the real suckers" in the climate denial story. He just stopped short of explaining fully the reasons for this.

Media companies like the BBC and Channel 4 gave 15 years of free access to the industry by inviting their paid experts to "balance" the views of genuine scientists, without demanding that they disclosed their sources, Monbiot observed. His explanation that "fake controversy provided better copy than the boring old scientific consensus" limits the problem within editorial logic. But the decisions that made mass media corporations continuously promote climate denial seem to have been made on higher floors than the news desk. They relate to to the political economy of mass media and their forgotten role as ideology gate keepers.

Monbiot's criticism of climate denial publicity was provoked by the last week's revelation by the Washington Post that since 1995 the industry-funded Global Climate Coalition had willingly ignored its own scientists and continued misleading public opinion that man made climate wasn't happening.

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