A climate researcher has accused the mass media in failing to cover the sensitive issue of global warming in the right manner.
"Business managers of media organizations, you are screwing up your responsibility by firing science and environment reporters who are frankly the only ones competent to do this," said climate researcher and policy analyst Stephen Schneider, in assessing the current state of media coverage of global warming and related issues.
AdvertisementSchneider is calling for the news media to employ trained reporters in covering global warming.
"Science is not politics. You can't just get two opposing viewpoints and think you've done due diligence. You've got to cover the multiple views and the relative credibility of each view," said Schneider, a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment.
"But that is not usually the problem of the well-trained reporters, who understand what is credible," he added.
Researchers have to do their part, too, he said, by clearly explaining issues to reporters in succinct terms.
According to Schneider, "I have arguments with some of my scientific colleagues, who think it is irresponsible to go out and talk when you can only get 5 seconds on the evening news, a couple of quotes in the New York Times, or five minutes in front of Congress."
"Well, you know what guys, that's just how it is. And if you think that you have a higher calling and you're not going to play the game because they don't give you the time to tell the whole story, then all it means is that you've passed the buck to others who know the topic less well," he added.
"You have to have your elevator statement or people won't listen to you," he said.
"What I always suggest is that scientists find metaphors that convey both urgency and uncertainty, so that you can get people's attention while at the same time not overstating the case," said Schneider.
"Then, you have websites and backup articles and books where you can give the full story, but you have to have your sound bite and your op ed piece," he added.
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