A new study published in the journal “Public Understanding of Science” shows that Fox News and other conservative media create significant public distrust of scientists and climate change.
Conversely, consumption of non-conservative media creates more trust in scientists and global warming issues.
The study identified five major methods that conservative media uses to create climate change skepticism:
1) Presenting contrarian scientists as “objective” experts while presenting mainstream scientists as self-interested or biased.
2) Denigrating scientific institutions and peer-reviewed journals.
3) Equating peer-reviewed research with a politically liberal opinion.
4) Accusing climate scientists of manipulating data to fund research projects.
5) Characterizing climate science as a religion.
Media Matters posted specific incidents of Fox News engaging in each of these behaviors, including one instance of Rush Limbaugh comparing belief in man-made global warming to the belief in Santa Claus.
Conservative Republican leadership has long been in denial about the existence of global warming as a man-made problem. According to ThinkProgress, nearly 55 percent of the current Republican caucus in the House of Representatives and 65 percent of the Senate Republican caucus deny climate change science.
It remains to be seen, with overwhelming scientific evidence pointing toward climate change as a problem created by humans, how long the Republican Party can continue to deny the issue.
A recent poll of 600 registered voters, from ages 18 to 34, conducted by Democratic and Republican firms for the League of Conservation Voters indicates that a growing number of voters are tired of Congressional denial, and that 79 percent of all responses, whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, would be more likely to vote for a candidate who was willing to take action on climate change.
Despite the fact that conservative media increases mistrust of scientists, a growing wave of the American voting public is forming against climate change denial.
Jesse Farthing is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.