Study Tracks Australian Climate Denial Echo Chamber Back to Think Tank
24 January 2012
EVER heard the one about climate scientists being a bunch of rent-seekers just out to chase taxpayers money, or the one where climate change scientists are just part of an elite left-wing conspiracy out to trample on the heretics?
How about your nearest conservative columnist telling you that “green is the new red” or how climate science and environmentalism has become a new religion?
Where do these rhetorical tricks and debating points actually come from? How does the echo chamber work?
In Australia, a new study has found these themes often don’t spring forth from the minds of insightful and thoughtful newspaper columnists and bloggers. Rather, many have emerged from the free-market think-tankery of Australia’s The Institute of Public Affairs, which has been muddying the waters of climate science for more than 20 years.
Published in the international peer-reviewed journal Journalism Studies, the author, University of Technology Sydney PhD candidate Elaine McKewon, reveals how popular rhetorical “fantasy themes” which aim to create controversy around climate science are conceived at the IPA before being repeated, magnified, endorsed and legitimised in the opinion pages of Australian newspapers.
This analysis shows that the Institute of Public Affairs, an Australian neoliberal think tank, has used its access to the media as a news source to influence the public discussion on climate change in Australia. The rhetorical vision expressed by the IPA is one of hostility towards climate scientists and the scientific consensus on climate change; the IPA’s hostility is based on its opposition to proposed government regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.Leave a reply →