How climate change skeptics (try to) spread their ideas: Using computational methods to assess the resonance among skeptics’ and legacy media

Adam, Silke; Reber, Ueli; Häussler, Thomas; Schmid-Petri, Hannah (2020). How climate change skeptics (try to) spread their ideas: Using computational methods to assess the resonance among skeptics’ and legacy media. PLoS ONE, 15(10), e0240089. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0240089

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We study the discursive resonance of online climate skepticism in traditional media in Germany, a country where climate skeptics lack public prestige and thus form a political counter-movement. We thereby differentiate two temporal dynamics: resonance can be continuous or selective, based on the exploitation of specific events. Beyond, we test whether such resonance is higher within the conservative media. We rely on news value theory to shed light on the mechanism facilitating or hindering such resonance and identify three indicators for resonance: frames, positions and actors. Using various computational methods as well as qualitative case studies, we examine the skeptical and traditional media discourses over a period of two years. Our analysis shows that there is no continuous resonance. However, our data reveal selective resonance: skeptics’ manage to exploit specific events pushing their frames and positions onto traditional media’s agenda. Thereby, conservative media did not give greater resonance to climate skeptical voices whereas they resort to downplaying the issue by allocating less space to it.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Communication and Media Studies (ICMB)

UniBE Contributor:

Adam, Silke; Reber, Ueli and Häussler, Thomas

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [UNSPECIFIED] German Research Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ueli Reber

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2020 10:37

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2021 10:24

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0240089

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.146889

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/146889

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