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Climate Deniers and Skeptics Get Taken Seriously in American Newspapers... Not So Much by the Rest of the World

America is unique when it comes to giving a platform to climate deniers and skeptics.

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Such results would support the view that the USA is particularly notable for the presence of skeptics who question the need for strong climate change policy proposals.

The study, while only covering newspapers and only looking at two short time periods, shows that American climate denial is unique and more prevalent than in other countries, and that ideology does influence how the topic is covered. From the report’s conclusion:

There is some evidence for arguing that there is a strong correspondence between the political leaning of a newspaper and its willingness to quote or use uncontested skeptical voices in opinion pieces. The distinction between news pages and opinion pages is important as much of the skepticism in found in the latter category. In right-leaning newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and theTelegraph, there is very little uncontested skepticism in their news reporting.

There is also evidence for seeing a greater presence in the US media of the sort of skepticism which strongly attacks the scientific legitimacy of climate change policy proposals compared to all the other five countries (with the notable exception of the UK).

Along with the UK, Australia is another country seeing American-style climate denial in the press. A  recent analysis from the Australian Center for Independent Journalism found that 73 percent of articles and opinion pieces published in 2011 on a proposed carbon price were negative.

“Some of Australia’s leading newspapers have been so negative in their reporting of the Gillard government’s carbon policy it’s fair to say they’ve campaigned against it rather than covered it,” concluded the author of the report.



Stephen Lacey is a reporter/blogger for Climate Progress, where he writes on clean energy policy, technologies, and finance. Before joining CP, he was an editor/producer with He received his B.A. in journalism from Franklin Pierce University.