Driving Through the Debate: Metaphoric Language in Media Coverage of Climate Change
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Environmental issues, and climate change in particular, are high on the agenda nowadays. Since mass media are the main mediator in communicating scientific knowledge to the general public, media coverage of environmental issues presents a special interest. Previous research has focused largely on its content characteristics. The present study is an attempt to contribute a linguistic perspective to the existing research in the field of media coverage of the matters related to climate change and its influence on the formation of public opinion and public attitudes to this environmental problem. Forty five news articles from three newspapers are analysed in terms of metaphoric sets, the frames they construct, and evaluations in readers’ perception that these frames lead to. Two largest metaphoric sets identified in the data under consideration are that of religion and that of a journey. Together with smaller metaphoric sets, they respectively construct the frames ‘the world’s environmental future does not depend on humans’ and ‘the world’s environmental future is in humans’ hands’, the former taking significant precedence and thus exercising the most tangible influence on the formation of public opinion.