Attention to Science/Environment News Positively Predicts and Attention to Political News Negatively Predicts Global Warming Risk Perceptions and Policy Support

Contemporary science and environmental news coverage of global warming increasingly portrays scientific consensus. Political news coverage of global warming, however, typically portrays controversy. We hypothesize that attention to science and environmental news is associated with beliefs more consistent with the global warming science and higher risk perceptions, and that the opposite is true of attention to political news. Furthermore, we hypothesize that science-based beliefs and risk perceptions are positively associated with support for policies aiming at reducing global warming. These hypotheses were confirmed by survey data from a nationally representative sample of adults (N = 2,164). These findings support and extend the cognitive mediation model of news learning and have important practical ramifications.

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