In J-Source’s Town Hall this week, there’s news of how a gag order on
federal environment ministry officials has effectively reduced coverage of
important climate change issues.

Meanwhile, a recent BBC poll revealed doubt that
climate change is growing. This mirrors U.S. polls, leading to what some
observers call “a
worrisome triumph of spin over science
.” The spin includes ‘astroturfing
– creating fake citizen’s organizations. ExxonMobil has reportedly
sunk $16 million
into the tactic, and it appears to be working.

But journalists aren’t stupid, right? No, they just respect
the idea of balance and love a good controversy, characteristics that some
public relations insiders say have been strategically
targeted
by industry-hired PR firms.

Whether doubt about climate change is manipulated or
natural, there’s no doubt what was once uncontroversial is now very much so.
Check out the comments on this Ideas post to
see the debate in action.


In J-Source’s Town Hall this week, there’s news of how a gag order on
federal environment ministry officials has effectively reduced coverage of
important climate change issues.

Meanwhile, a recent BBC poll revealed doubt that
climate change is growing. This mirrors U.S. polls, leading to what some
observers call “a
worrisome triumph of spin over science
.” The spin includes ‘astroturfing
– creating fake citizen’s organizations. ExxonMobil has reportedly
sunk $16 million
into the tactic, and it appears to be working.

But journalists aren’t stupid, right? No, they just respect
the idea of balance and love a good controversy, characteristics that some
public relations insiders say have been strategically
targeted
by industry-hired PR firms.

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Whether doubt about climate change is manipulated or
natural, there’s no doubt what was once uncontroversial is now very much so.
Check out the comments on this Ideas post to
see the debate in action.

Patricia W. Elliott is a magazine journalist and assistant professor at the School of Journalism, University of Regina. You can visit her at patriciaelliott.ca.