The mainstream and alternative news media have bombarded readers and viewers with headlines and news segments about climate change, charging the issue full of emotion, without providing adequate context and facts for readers and viewers to determine their own thoughts on the issue. The latest example of the media’s spin cycle on climate change was BuzzFeed News’s article that blamed human beings for climate change policy failures over the past decade.
BuzzFeed News’s recap article on climate change policy and activism in the 2010 decade ran with the headline, “This Was The Decade We Woke Up To The Climate Crisis — But Failed To Act.” The headline, in addition to the text, appeared to be more of an opinion editorial rather than a news article or news summary. However, the article was not filed in the opinion section of BuzzFeed News’s website, which is a serious breach of journalistic ethics and integrity.
The article uses collective terminology, such as “we,” “us,” and other similar word choices. Journalists typically use neutral word choices in articles to avoid the appearance of partisanship and lack of neutrality on the issue at hand. Instead, BuzzFeed News’s article was full of collective-sounding terminology, which urged the readers and viewers to recognize that “we” failed ourselves and the planet Earth.
BuzzFeed News ended the article with a plea that echoed political activism e-mails and campaign material. It asked, “What can you do?” and followed up with telling the reader that they should avoid “flying and eating beef.”
The article was far from an impartial, neutral, and fair recap of climate change policies and activism in the 2010’s. It was not a serious example of journalism, but an example of politically-biased and activist journalism.