Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Media and Climate Change

Tommaso Pavone, University of Michigan, Ann Arobr, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, has published Hot Off the Press: Climate Change and the Mass Media. Here is the abstract.
The relationship between the mass media and climate change governance remains largely unexplored in the academic literature. In this paper, I argue that the media does influence outcomes on climate change. I provide an overview of media accounts on climate change, the factors which influence the reporting, and how the media can shape public opinion on the issue. Throughout, I treat the mass media as a mechanism of information diffusion and argue for its agenda-setting power on the climate change issue. Finally, I forward an original theoretical model whereby freedom of the press influences climate change governance. I argue that a freer media is more likely to transparently report the scientific consensus and thus take an implicitly normative stance in favor of climate change action. I then corroborate the model with multivariate regression analysis. The regression output finds that freedom of the press may correlate better with climate change activism than originally thought.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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