Bush heads climate change influence list

NEW YORK: Al Gore may seem to get all the press, but according to a new study by Hill & Knowlton, President George Bush is actually the top "influencer" in the media when it comes to global warming attitudes in the US.

NEW YORK: Al Gore may seem to get all the press, but according to a new study by Hill & Knowlton, President George Bush is actually the top "influencer" in the media when it comes to global warming attitudes in the US.

The president is followed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

Using software called Influencer Network Analysis to track coverage of the topic of "natural vs. man-made climate change," the new study also finds that, by a ratio of about 70 to 30, the media leans toward the influence of man as opposed to nature in causing climate change.

The study tracked media coverage using the Factiva database.

"There were claims that the Bush administration was manufacturing this debate in the media, so we did this study to find out where the media stood on the position of climate change in general," explained Jim Beakey, director of H&K's communications mapping.

"More specifically, we drilled down to the scientist commentary and who the media was quoting."

Receiving the most ink in by-lined articles, however, were government officials and politicians.

Though the current White House is typically regarded as expressing skepticism about the state of global warming, in fact President Bush's recognition of man's influence on climate change received the most frequent comment in bylined articles.

Gore ranked number nine on the list of influencers, while Inhofe, an oft-quoted skeptic, was number three.

The study found that the journalists writing most frequently on the subject are The Boston Globe's Derrick Jackson, The New York Times' Linda Greenhouse, and freelance writer Stephen Henderson.

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