As the European debt crisis scrapes along, there has been talk about the possible need for developing nations, like China and Brazil, to ultimately help bail out some spendthrift “developed” nations.
A new study suggests that maybe they should also help bail out some of our media.
The study comes from James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and his colleagues. After looking extensively at climate change coverage in major papers in six nations—the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, China, and India—the paper finds that global warming “skepticism” is “largely an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon.”
Consider a selection of findings:
Here are the papers studied, by country: Brazil (Folha de São Paulo, Estado de São Paulo), China (People’s Daily, Beijing Evening News), France (Le Monde, Le Figaro), India (Times of India, The Hindu). In the U.S., the study examined The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In the U.K., there was a very extensive look at all ten of the national papers.
Given all of this, I know what you’re really wondering: Which country wins the overall climate journalism responsibility and competence prize?
Drum roll…it’s Brazil, whose papers contained the least climate skepticism. China also didn’t have much, but that’s harder to get too thrilled about, because of course journalists in that country were following the government line.
So here’s a thought experiment: What if we restaffed the Wall Street Journal editorial page with journalists from Brazil? I’d certainly lift a caipirinha to that!
Australia was not included in the study, but you would imagine that it would be more consistent with the U.S.-U.K., “Anglo-Saxon” trend.
For me, it is tough not to think about this finding in the context of two other major global developments:
Basically, then, take these new findings about climate skepticism as yet another sign that countries that used to be in the rearview mirror are now either even with, or passing the U.S. by on the highway to the future.