Poor media coverage promotes environmental apathy and untruths

11 10 2008

I just came across this excellent opinion piece by James Fahn on how climate change is covered by the media.

Poor countries’ media must tackle climate change

Paraphrasing briefly, the article laments the ill-equipped, uninformed and lowly stature of reporters covering climate change issues. The corollary is that simple junk, badly researched stances and plain untruths are rife throughout the media. For many, many examples of such plainly misinformed ‘journalism’ on climate change issues, just visit BraveNewClimate.com for a taste of the worst.

My comments on Fahn’s piece touch on several issues. First, it’s not just the ‘poor’ country that has problems with respect to ill-equipped reporters – the developed world (and Australia could easily be one of the leaders here) has some particulary terrible coverage of climate change impacts. Second, this problem extends to all environmental issues, not just climate change. Indeed, for some of the most important issues facing humanity today (loss of biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide), should not the best people be put onto the job? Finally, whatever happened to journalism? Isn’t this supposed to be well-researched, cross-examining, hard-hitting and plain investigation into the affairs affecting everyday life? Instead, too many so-called ‘journalists’ are nothing more than blindly parrotting reporters who wouldn’t know what research was if it came up and bit them on the arse.

Addendum 16 October: I’ve added a little poll below directed toward Australian blog readers:

CJA Bradshaw

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4 11 2010
Appalling behaviour of even the most influential journalists « ConservationBytes.com

[…] For the most part I have to say that I’ve been represented reasonably well in the media – even if most of it is owned by a few highly questionable moguls who espouse wildly partisan views. There have been a few occasions though where I’ve been the victim of simply crap reporting, terribly investigation and downright dirty tactics done by so-called journalists. I’ve talked about this on a few occasions on ConservationBytes.com (see ‘Crap environmental reporting‘, ‘Science turned bad by the media‘ and ‘Poor media coverage promotes environmental apathy and untruths‘). […]

11 10 2008
The Why | a Conservation Blog

[…] foist it upon unsuspecting conservationists. No reason no longer! On ConservationBytes today, Corey laments the reprehensible state of the media in his country, and around the world, in covering climate […]

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