Here is a summary of what this fine-grained look revealed:
- Controversy and uninformed, contrarian views are front-loaded--in the headline and first half of the article--while compensatory truth, good news and growing agreement (colored brown to reveal the pattern) is forced "to the back of the bus"--the end of the article, which many readers don't reach. I explain in the critique how this article structure perpetuates political polarization and paralysis.
- Use of the word "skeptic" in the context of climate change falsely implies a tough-mindedness in people who lack any skepticism about their own stubbornly ill-informed views. A more accurate term would be "rejectionist".
- A corrupt form of populism is applied, in which the opinions of highly visible but inadequately trained meteorologists are given equal weight with those of climate scientists.
- Readers are left uniformed of the basic mechanisms that drive global warming. Just as campaign coverage focuses on the horse race, and coverage of forest fires describes the damage while offering no insights into fire ecology, coverage of climate change indulges contrarian views while leaving readers ill-equipped to resist false assertions.
(Click below on "Read more" to access the article.)