“The Industry Feels Unloved”: Economic Rhetoric and Environmental News Coverage of Lake Winnipeg, Canada

By Garrity Hill.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 5, 2015 $US5.00

Transparent communication about environmental problems, their causes, and the actions of governments and industry is required to help resolve the current environmental debate. However, news media institutions are bound, through political economic pressures, to communicating about environmental problems through a discursive framework that aligns with powerful industry actors. This study examines news coverage of governmental regulations on the hog industry aimed at reducing toxic algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The analysis demonstrates the use of narrative frames and other discursive tools by journalists. The relatively simplistic cost-benefit analysis of economic consequences provided in the news coverage contributes little public understanding of the economic factors involved in regulating a powerful multinational industry and decontextualizes the problem from its complex political-economic origins. The news discourse is dominated by the legitimacy claims-making rhetoric of an industry trying to deflect its responsibility for a possible environmental catastrophe.

Keywords: Environmental Discourse, News Coverage of the Environment, Lake Winnipeg

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.17-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 570.388KB)).

Garrity Hill

Ph.D Candidate, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia