Redtop to greentop

the sun, the son and climate change

Tom Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper draws on the author’s wider study (Roberts, 2009) of the Murdoch family’s influence in encouraging the editorial line of The Sun, the highest circulation British daily, to be repositioned to accept, and call for action against, the threat of anthropogenic climate change. This quantitative and qualitative study seeks to fill the ‘massive blind spot’ of previous research on climate change coverage identified by Boykoff and Mansfield (2008), which focuses almost exclusively on broadsheet or ‘quality press’ samples and excludes consideration of the more popular tabloid forms. As well as detailing the background to the identified editorial shift following News Corporation’s Pebble Beach conference in 2006, the paper presents examples of the way this new scientific view was explained and advocated to readers in the entertaining and irreverent style for which The Sun is renowned. Considering potential issues of proprietor control, agenda-setting and gatekeeping, this paper argues that the newspaper’s editorial shift marked the adoption of a strategy primarily led by James Murdoch to effect public opinion change within Britain in a way that was ‘entertaining and not paternally patronising’ on an issue that Murdoch then believed was ‘at a watershed moment where we have an opportunity to make a difference’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-105
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian journal of communication
Volume38
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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