2004
Volume 95, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816

Abstract

Abstract

The legitimacy of climate policy is a necessary condition for the broad acceptance of government interventions and civic participation. News media are an important source of information for public perceptions and beliefs concerning climate change and climate policy, which people will use to grant or deny legitimacy. In this article we apply the theoretical perspective of media framing to analyse Dutch newspaper coverage of climate change and climate policy during April and May 2019, by means of systematic manual content analysis. We use these empirical findings to further reflect on their potential significance for policy legitimacy as experienced by their readership. Overall, the newspapers pay little attention to climate change as a contested phenomenon and to humanity’s contribution to its cause and solution. In the fight to reduce CO-emission, the Dutch government is portrayed as the principal agent. The responsibility of individual citizens is less often highlighted. Hence, newspaper coverage does not seem to challenge the fight against climate change as a legitimate policy goal. It does, however, pay ample attention to specific policy interventions to reduce CO-emission and the controversies that surround them. In line with, or as a reflection of these findings, differences within public opinion are to be expected concerning the legitimacy of policy interventions, both with regard to their desirability on paper (input) and their actual (side) effects (output).

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): climate change; content analysis; newspaper coverage; policy legitimacy

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