Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Basso, Joseph


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


Public Relations and Advertising


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.