Date Approved

10-28-2008

Embargo Period

3-21-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations

Department

Public Relations & Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

Basso, Joseph

Subject(s)

Global warming--Public opinion; Mass media and public opinion

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

This study examined the influence of think tanks, in the news media, on public opinion of what most scientists believe about the cause of global warming.

The researcher performed a content analysis on two national newspapers spanning May through July, 2006, the three months surrounding the U.S. release of An Inconvenient Truth, to determine whether papers of differing political ideology provided different amounts of context concerning the global warming scientific consensus. The data were tabulated using Microsoft Excel. Experimental research was also conducted using 103 undergraduate Rowan University public relations and public relations and advertising majors to determine if articles with less context caused confusion in subjects regarding their perception of the scientific consensus on manmade global warming.

The findings showed that think tanks were used as experts only sparingly. However, articles claiming that global warming is a natural phenomenon were found to provide less context than articles claiming that global warming is manmade. The experimental research showed that subjects were most uncertain about global warming after reading an article with very little context.

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