Lots of the mainstream press has struggled with a desire to maintain what they think is objectivity in the face of scientific evidence. On matters like evolution and climate change, major outlets have instead tried to present balance between two opposing sides. But this was so obviously problematic that John Oliver made fun of it, so we must be doing better now, right?
Maybe not. New research from Brown University’s Rachel Wetts suggests that major newspapers are still more likely to feature the views of business interests and still overrepresent people who don’t seem to accept the reality of climate change.
How do you measure who has the most influence on press coverage? There’s a whole industry devoted to exercising that influence: public relations. Among the other things they do, PR people put together press releases designed to attract attention (as their name implies) from the press. So, Wetts simply obtained about 1,800 press releases from a mix of organizations: businesses and trade groups, the government, and public interest groups.