Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Understanding The Term Of Agenda Setting Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 5815 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw first coined the term ‘agenda-setting’ in their article The Agenda Setting Function of the Mass Media (McCombs and Shaw, 1972). However the McCombs credits Walter Lippmann as the ‘intellectual father’ of ‘agenda setting’ (McCombs, 2004: 3). Walter Lippmann’s thesis Public Opinion [1] described the concept of a ‘pseudo- environment’; an imagined reality of the world constructed from the media we consume. Lippmann suggested that man lives in a ‘fictitious world’, hence ‘whatever we believe to be true picture, we treat as if it were the environment itself’ (Lippmann, 2007: 7-10).

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Walter Lippmann speculation that the Mass Media played an important role in the ‘public’s’ understanding of the world they inhabited. The influence that he implied suggested the ‘mass media agenda’ played an important role in influencing/shaping the ‘public opinion’ or ‘public agenda’. Hansen writing 88 years later reaffirmed this relationship theorised by Lippmann, suggesting the ‘media’ play a role in educating the public:

While the roles of formal education in acquainting us with the public word and image vocabulary of the environment should not be overlooked, much, maybe most, of what we learn and know about ‘the environment’ we know from the media.

Hansen utilises the Habermasian concept of a ‘public sphere’, suggesting that the ‘mass media’ provide a public arena for national and transnational debate of environmental ‘issues’:

Since the emergence and rise of the modern environmental movement in the 1960s, the mass media have been a central public arena for publicising environmental issues and for contesting claims, arguments and opinions about our use and/or protection of the environment.

(Hansen, 2010:6)

The ‘issues’ discussed within this ‘public arena’, can be described as the ‘media agenda’. However as much as the ‘mass media’ provides a forum for discussion, it is not all inclusive. Environmental issues have to compete against each other for widespread coverage. As the environmental agenda, isn’t always at the forefront of the public agenda, often multiple environmental issues are fighting for limited coverage from the press:

While many issues compete for public attention, only a few are successful in doing so, and news media exert significant influence on our perceptions of what are the most important issues of the day.

(McCombs, 2004:2)

McCombs, Lippmann and Hansen all suggest that the media dictate to some level, what are the most important ‘issues of the day’. The conundrum becomes; how do the cultural gatekeepers decide which ‘issue’ is the most important on the ‘media agenda’, and thus deserves media coverage? What influences the Media on environmental issues? To understand these questions it is necessary to address the fundamental obstacle for environmental ‘issues’ to overcome to become ‘newsworthy’.

Visual media utilises imagery as a source of legitimacy. However as environmental problems develop over a long period of time they often appear invisible: ‘a large proportion of the processes associated with the most difficult environmental problems tend to be inaccessible to the senses, invisible until they materialise as symptoms’ (Adam, 1998:12; Hansen, 2000: 56). Hence although some environmental issues may be more serious in the long-term, they are not always deemed ‘newsworthy’ as they have no iconography attached to their cause.

‘Pressure groups’ utilize the issue of ‘invisibility’ by creating ‘spectacles’ and ‘press stunts’ in order to make the invisible issues ‘visible’. Greenpeace in particular are hugely successful at utilizing ‘iconography’ [2] . Iconic images of icebergs, crashing into the sea or ‘Father’s for Justice’ scaling the Houses of Parliament can define an issue, and penetrate public consciousness, much easier than text based media. However Hansen argues that the effects of visual spectacles are short term; they only allow the ‘issue’ to gain visibility as a trigger to create wider media interest for the ‘issue’:

The newsworthiness of environmental pressure groups would soon wear off it had to rely solely on their creation of spectacular protest ‘performances’…[they] are of course eminently newsworthy and visually striking, but they are not sufficient for remaining on the media agenda or for maintaining media visibility in the long term.

(Hansen, 2010: 53)

Hansen argues that ‘successful’ pressure groups are able to maintain visibility of the issue in the media by targeting issues that are ‘already being discussed in the forums which the media regularly report on’ (i.e. Political forums, e.g. Parliament) (Hansen, 2010:53). This would suggest that the media agenda is directly and indirectly influenced by policy agenda, suggesting a symbiotic relationship as the media influence the public agenda, which in turn influences the policy agenda by terms of voting.

James Dearing and Everett Rogers (Dearing and Rogers: 1996, Rogers and Dearing: 1988) visualised this concept [see figure 1] suggesting that all three agendas are interlinked: ‘exposure through the mass media allows a social problem to be transformed into a public issue’ (Dearing and Rogers, 1996:4). When something becomes a public issue it is propelled into policy agenda through the government; who represent the majority’s best interests. However the mass media commentate on the ‘policy agenda’ so ‘pressure groups’ are able to exploit this cycle, by elevating topics they deem to be of most importance higher on the ‘media agenda’ and in turn ‘policy agenda’ via public pressure: ‘The agenda-setting process is an ongoing competition among the proponents of a set of issues to gain the attention of media professionals, the public, and policy elites’ (Dearing and Rogers, 1996:6).


However the relationship between the ‘three agendas’ is not without its flaws; For environmental issues to be addressed by the press, they must propel themselves as the most important issue on the agenda to the media. However this does not correspond to levels of importance or seriousness to the public:

‘The relative prominence of a social issue is not in any way a simple reflection of levels of public concern; it is heavily influenced by the activities of issue sponsors such as politicians, or successful interest or pressure groups’

(Anderson, 1997:30).

The notion that issues that appear in the media agenda are not necessarily the most important suggests other ‘actors’ play a role in setting the agenda. So whilst we rely on the news to dictate what picture of the world we consume, the news agenda can be influenced by amongst other factors, ‘celebrity’ endorsements. Dan Brockington (2008) suggests industrial society has only a fleeting interest in the environment: their rare glimpse of the environment is often through highly romanticized representations of the environment rather than their own experiences. Hence celebrity endorsements of environmentalism help to replace the lack of experience in society: ‘celebrity support for conservation fulfils a modern social need. The alienation from nature that characterizes capitalist urban living drives the demand for celebrity involvement in conservation’ (Brockington, 2008:558).

Criticisms of the ‘agenda setting’ model

Agenda setting theory is based on long term effects. In order for an ‘issue’ to become central in terms of public opinion, McCombs argued that the ‘frequency’ or ‘prominence’ of a given ‘issue’ in the mass media, placed significant influence on how ‘important’ the issues was perceived by the public: ‘Those issues emphasized in the news come to be regarded over time as important by the public’ (McCombs, 2004:4-5). However McCombs analysis of the ‘prominence’ of a given issue doesn’t take into consideration how the ‘issue’ is framed within the mass media:

Social movements have increasingly focused on the media since it plays such an influential role in assigning importance to issues facing the public. But gaining attention alone is not what a social movement wants; the real battle is over whose interpretation, whose framing of reality, gets the floor.

(Ryan, 1991:53)

‘Issues’ are at the mercy of the press, when they are pushed into the media forum. Different papers ‘frame’ the ‘issues’ within their ideological constraints. What becomes essential for ‘claimsmakers’ and ‘pressure groups’, is the ability to manipulate the mass media, so the ‘issue’ at hand remains at the focus within the different ideological representations.

The ‘quantitative’ approach also only looks how many times an article was published, not how many times the article was read. Obviously circulation figures are a rough guide that an article is being read by a high percentage of that readership. However this is no guarantee that the article is digested.

This becomes a bigger problem when considering new mediums such as the internet, is that the quantity of articles on environmental issues is so vast that it would be inconceivable to assume that prominence related to prevalence to the public. Robert Burnett and P. David Marshall suggested that the problem readers have is filtering the vast amounts of information they have access to, to find the ‘right news stories’ (Burnett and Marshall, 2003: 153). Since then digital news has grown significantly in popularity; the problem thus becomes how can the media influence public opinion when the public have become their own filters, so can solely digest stories based on their interests rather than only being able to choose from a limited set of stories in a newspaper based on an editors choices.

Another criticism of the ‘quantitative’ analysis model favoured by McCombs is that it doesn’t take into consideration how something gets adopted by the media. Anderson argued that ‘agenda-setting’ theorists such as McCombs do not look at the initial triggers that cause ‘issues’ to be included into the ‘media agenda’: ‘Agenda-setting studies have tended to ignore the whole process through which social issues are taken up by the media’ (Anderson, 1997:25).

Within Dearing and Rogers Model, the public are not deemed to be pivotal for the agenda setting process. However when considering the ‘trigger’ that propels an issue into the media and policy forums (specifically on environmental issues) it can sometimes be attributed to a small group of ‘public’ individuals who insight direct action, to spark wider interest. Brian Doherty et al. describe direct action as:

Protest action where protesters engage in forms of action designed not only or necessarily to change government policy or to shift the climate of public opinion through the media, but to change environmental actions around them directly.

(Doherty, Paterson and Seel, 2000:1)

The term public is contestable itself; how do differentiate between ordinary members of environmental non-governmental organisations and members of a concerned community? Within different contexts we can all be described as the ‘public’. Protesters can be seen as belonging to the public, so the ‘direct action’ that often provides the trigger for the uptake of ‘issues’ into the ‘media agenda’ could be described as coming from a small proportion of the public. The key component of ‘agenda setting’ research should then be considered ‘minority influence’. The minority groups or opinion leaders disseminate their concerns on certain issues by influencing others by empowering their causes by form of protests, publicity stunts and media performances.

Environmental Agenda Setting

Looking specifically at the ‘Kingsnorth Six’ case study and applying the Agenda Setting theory to it, we can expose the complexities involved in the ‘agenda setting’ process and how they may or may not be relevant when looking at it through the perspective of a non-governmental organisation, deciphering whether they are ‘successful’ in utilising the ‘media’ to fulfil their aims.

The Kingsnorth Six direct action protest involved the

David Pepper claims that ‘environmentalism is less a coherent movement and more of a turn in late-twentieth-century thought’ arguing that in its simplest definition an ‘environmentalist’; is ‘one who is concerned with the environment.’ Thus the majority of the West can be described as environmentalists (Pepper, 2000:445-6). Whilst openly sharing oppositional views is widely acknowledged as a social taboo, the amount of ‘active environmentalists’ are less popular. Hence by gathering attention to the Kingsnorth case, Greenpeace could turn a minority cause and propel it to the masses, thus gaining the ‘issue’ serious political significance by bringing it to the ‘environmental sympathisers’ domain; as nobody wants to be seen as actively damaging the environment, for fear of commercial and political repercussions from the ‘sympathizing majority’.

Hutchins and Lester argue that journalists have an environmentalist bias as it is in their reader’s interest:

Journalists acknowledge the saliency of environmental issues to readers and audiences because of the threats posed to natural environments and people’s wellbeing by degradation and the unchecked activities of capital.

(Hutchins and Lester, 2006:434)

Environmental issues have been of particular relevance since global warming was posed as a theory, ever since it has been at the forefront of media and science agenda, seeing with it the rise in popularity of political parties such as the ‘Green Party’ in the United Kingdom yet also a rise in green policies. Environmental concerns transcend all classes so are useful for the media in targeting large concerned audiences. This scaremongering tactic validates the work of pressure groups and non-governmental organisations and disguises the profit motives of the media reporting it.

However Hutchins and Lester ignore two key oppositional concepts: the influence of corporations as advertisers and journalistic objectivity. The first point can be dismissed as only one corporation is being targeted the money lost from attacking E.ON can be easily filled by other businesses from other sectors. The second point journalistic objectivity, allows a platform for debate, whereby environmental sceptics are allowed an equal platform to discuss their opinions. This creates a dilemma similar to the religion versus science debate; influential sceptics are allowed to pollute the influence of pressure groups with little grounding in scientific fact or common sense.

The media is more than a site for environmental action; it plays a significant role in shaping debate and influencing outcomes. It is here that representations are determined, images softened or distorted, and power granted or denied.

(Hutchins and Lester, 2006: 438)

Hutchins and Lester bring up a fundamental point of the nature of the media in influencing outcomes of protests. Whereas the media validated Greenpeace’s protests, specifically broadsheets such as The Guardian, projecting the ‘Kingsnorth Six’ onto hero status; even premiering the Nick Broomfield’s short documentary A Time Comes: The Story of the Kingsnorth Six (Broomfield, 2009). This presented the ‘Kingsnorth Six’ as ordinary members of the public with no activist history, whom simply wanted to right a wrong. Dieter Rucht describes how in some rare instances the mass media can potentially be considered an ally for the ‘social movements’ such as The Guardian in this case. However he warns that ‘social movements’ would be wrong to rely on this as the ‘mass media’ carry their own agenda different from the aims of the social movement (Rucht, 2004: 55).

The protest/publicity stunt clearly intended to insight media interest. Nick Broomfield’s short documentary (Broomfield, 2009) highlights the directness of Greenpeace’s tactics to achieve press coverage. The activist’s assumptions of the media reaction were highlighted by a quote from Ben Stewart one of the ‘Kingsnorth Six’: ‘because my parents live near there (Kingsnorth Power Station), I gave them a ring and said “you might see on the news that I am on top of this power station”‘ (Stewart in Broomfield, 2009). This arrogance becomes justified when noting the previous ‘newsworthiness’ of Greenpeace protests in gaining media attention (Carroll and Hackett, 2006:87).

Stewart then goes on to state Greenpeace’s exact intentions, emphasizing the performance aspect of the protest by having what is implied as press conferences on top of the chimney: ‘I got up and did the interviews with the media and tried to justify it (the protest) to the public when we were up there, and of cause this thing is always a bit controversial’ (Stewart in Broomfield, 2009). Then implying that it would disseminate the ‘issue’ into public discourse/forums: ‘you get lots of public ringing into the talk radio stations saying we’re nothing’ (Stewart in Broomfield, 2009). The whole direct action ‘performance’ comes across as merely being a platform to receive media coverage to then disseminate their ‘issue’ into the agenda. However Greenpeace’s ‘performance tactics resonate well with the media’s agenda as they provide the media with ‘pre-packaged’ news stories:

‘Greenpeace has always been inherently fascinating and newsworthy as far as the media are concerned. It presented them with totally pre-packaged, simplistic but very powerful images of confrontation that were very new and exciting’

(Gallie cited in Anderson, 1997:35)

The ‘Kingsnorth Six’ protest certainly did this; providing photographs, videos and interviews to the various interested media. Allowing Greenpeace to remain in control of how their imagery was framed and represented.

On an interview with ‘ITV Meridian Tonight’ Stewart justified their actions by highlighting Greenpeace’s agenda on E.ONs proposed plans: ‘Gordon Brown wants to build a new one of those ‘carbon dinosaurs’ and that’s why we’re up here, we’re trying to stop that happening’ (Stewart in Broomfield, 2009). The telephone interview from the top of the tower to new stations emphasises the link between ‘performance’ and ‘agenda setting’. Whereas the protest may give the guise of trying to shut down the Kingsnorth plant in order to stop the polluting power station, the primary objective of the ‘press stunt’ prevails: securing communication with the media, thus allowing Greenpeace to dictate the news agenda.

However their story only reached local level on television news coverage, receiving coverage from ‘ITV Meridian Tonight’ and ‘BBC South-East Today’. Contrary to the regionalised coverage of the initial protest the subsequent trial received national attention on the respective channels. This would imply that the ‘Kingsnorth Six’ protest functioned as a ‘trigger’ to greater media coverage rather than gaining the substantial media coverage needed for an ‘issue’ to become adopted into the national media and public agenda. It would be easy to assume that Greenpeace had expected ‘more’ coverage than they received initially.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

However the ‘issue’ was already in the political forum, with the Governmental body ‘The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’ due to release a ‘white paper’ on the carbon capture and storage regulations. This reflects Hansen’s sentiments (mentioned earlier), suggesting it is a deliberate tactic to target ‘issues’ already in political forums (Hansen, 2010:53). Critiques of Greenpeace reaffirm Hansen’s observations. Chris Ross writing for Greenpeace highlighted some of myths surrounding the ‘Brent Spar’ case study; that Greenpeace had the potential to act on issues that they themselves stood to gain positive ‘framing’, in other words easy battles:

Greenpeace had given little though to the issue it was going to tackle, or its consequences. In short, the Brent Spar was a good photo opportunity for an organisation faced (in some countries) with a decline of its membership and visibility.

(Ross, 1998:40)

This could be said of the Kingsnorth Case, Greenpeace knew that the proposed plans were controversial within the economical and political climate, so had predicted an ‘easy win’ which would create a ‘good photo opportunity’. This is not to say that Greenpeace was not interested in the ‘issue’ beforehand, but simply chose a strategic target out of the many ‘environmental criminals’ in the world.

Greenpeace should not be solely attributed with pushing the Kingsnorth case into the media, public and policy agenda after all other non-governmental organisations were also active such as Climate Camp and Friends of the Earth. This poses the dilemma; did Greenpeace activate this ‘protest network’ by projecting the struggle into the agenda? However it is evident from the polaric media representation of the protests that the Greenpeace protest yielded a greater media influence (than the Climate Camp protests) due to its previous ‘validation’ within the media because of previous successes in gaining media attention (Carroll and Hackett, 2006:87). Whereas Climate Camp was undermined by their history of negative encounters with the police.

The ‘Kingsnorth Six’ Coverage/ Analysis

On October 8th 2007 six Greenpeace representatives climbed the 200 metre high smokestack at the Kingsnorth power station in Medway, Kent, attempting to paint the words ‘Gordon bin it’ on it. Whilst another 20 activists chained themselves to the station’s conveyor belt, immobilising it from burning coal. The ‘Kingsnorth Six’ as the media labelled them (see fig.2 ), successfully managed to draw significant media attention from October 2007 till September 2008 when the activists were acquitted of the charges of causing £30,000 of criminal damage to the smokestack on the defence that they were acting to prevent climate change, a landmark case in legal history [3] .

Figure : 5 members of the Kingsnorth 6 Greenpeace activists.

Greenpeace aspired to highlight the plans of the government and the German energy corporation E.ON’s proposed plans to build a new coal powered power station at Kingsnorth which was proposed to be operational by 2012; the first of its kind in Britain since 1986. Greenpeace claimed itself that the ensuing direct action led to the postponement of E.ONs plans. Much like the ‘Brent Spar’ case in 1995, as Hansen described: ‘Greenpeace succeeded in stiring up sufficient media, political and public interest’ (Hansen, 2000:57) to force E.ON to reconsider its position. The question is how much responsibility can Greenpeace claim? Did the subsequent media coverage really have the effect that Greenpeace claimed?

Hansen (Hansen, 2010) repeatedly coins the term ‘claims-maker’ in reference to pressure groups suggesting that groups such as ‘Greenpeace’ take a conservative option in their choice of issues to propel into the spotlight. He suggests that ‘claims-makers’ choose topics which are already involved in policy agenda or ‘Legislator’:

Most of the issues on which successful pressure groups campaign and successfully gain media coverage are issues which already have an institutional forum rather than completely new issues which have not been problematised in some form or other before.

(Hansen, 2010:53)

This would suggest that Policy Agenda influences the pressure groups choice in agenda: as they are more likely to have success in influencing the three agenda setting processes if they are able to ‘frame and elaborate’ existing issues that are already in the ‘public domain’ (Hansen, 2010:54).

Hansen suggests that Greenpeace’s ‘spectacular protest ‘performances” are great at creating a visual spectacle; however they are ‘not sufficient’ at ‘maintaining media visibility in the long term’ (Hansen, 2010:53). In other words apart from the newsworthiness of the ‘Kingsnorth-Six’ stunt, the more important factor in agenda setting, was the subsequent trial that kept the Kingsnorth issue ‘visible’.

Hansen suggests that it is not as simple as just setting the agenda as McCombs suggested, the quantity is not of coverage is irrelevant if the coverage is framed in the wrong way:

While an environmental pressure group such as Greenpeace has the ability to secure media coverage for its claims its capacity to influence or control the way its claims are framed and inflected by individual newspapers is more questionable.

(Hansen, 2000:71)

Hansen looked at a selection of the three traditional types of newspapers from the British press: Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror and their respective Sunday editions (Hansen, 2000: 58). Analysing each newspapers output over the period following the ‘Brent Spar’ protests to determine how the coverage was framed; looking specifically at the ‘gulf between commanding attention for an issue and securing legitimacy’ (Hansen, 2000:56). He found that ‘individual media’ exert ‘ideological work’ upon their ‘differential accessing of sources’ and their ‘differential choice and promotion of particular lexical terms (e.g. Greenpeace as ‘terrorists’, ‘a nuisance’, ‘undemocratic’)’ (Hansen, 2010: 57). Hansen implied that Greenpeace media coverage was at the mercy and scrutiny of each outlets ideological allegiance.

Although the initial protest is the most visible in terms of photos and iconic moments, in its initial aftermath the majority of press coverage was localised. A search of the Nexis newspaper database shows none of the national newspapers covered the protest in the week following the incident, with the majority of coverage remaing on local television broadcasts and regional newspapers.

Between October 15th 2007 and September 10th 2008 there were 42 articles containing the keywords ‘Kingsnorth’ and ‘Greenpeace’. Of these 19 were from The Guardian and The Observer and 10 were from The Independent (both of which could be described as having an environmental bias), hence only 13 were from other UK national newspapers. Applying McCombs quantitative methodology of agenda setting stating that the ‘most prominent public issues’ are synonymous with the ‘most important public issues’ (McCombs, 2004:5) One could conclude that Greenpeace’s publicity stunt had failed to garner notable national coverage of the Kingsnorth plight compared to its previous successes of gaining the press’s attention (e.g. Brent Spa).

However out of the mediocre coverage 76% was from UK national newspapers with a history of environmental concern; echoing once again Rucht’s notion that the media can potential act as an ally for social movement’s (Rucht, 2004:55).

The Observer notably, exclusively broadcasted Nick Broomfield’s documentary, which utilised, among others David Gilmour on the soundtrack.

Whereas there was a total of 21 national newspaper articles covering the ‘Kingsnorth-Six’ trial verdict between the 11th and 15th of September 2008; suggesting the mainstream coverage was more interested in the verdict of the court on the ‘Kingsnorth Six’; as the result could set a precedent for future environmental policy agenda. Therefore in this case the ‘Kingsnorth-Six’ stunt was more successful in becoming part of the media agenda in its aftermath.

In Hansen’s Claims-Making in the Brent Star Controversy (2000) He suggests that the Telegraph utilised a negative ‘overlexicalisation’ of ‘descriptors’ to describe Greenpeace’s actions (Hansen, 2000:62). Throughout the Kingsnorth coverage The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Express conformed to this convention, often sensationalising the news with doom-mongering extrapolations.

The Daily Mail framed the verdict of the case with a negative sensationalist set of descriptors, being highly critical of the ramifications that the case may have for the future of civil order. Whilst being highly critical of Greenpeace’s actions the focus was shifted from the agenda of climate change, towards the unlawful nature by which the activists disseminated their message; framing the Greenpeace activists as potential threatening to the public: “Green Light to Anarchy’; Greenpeace Verdict will Encourage Lawbreakers, Warns Widdecombe’ (Sears, 2008:12). Hansen observed a similar instance/tactic in the ‘Brent Spar’ case whilst analysing the ‘framing of civil protest’ suggesting that ‘The article served a function…linking together and interpreting a series of vaguely related events or activities as symptoms of a deeper problem or social malaise’ (Hansen, 2000:61)

Emily Highmore: ‘What Greenpeace did was hugely irresponsible’ (Cited in Sears, 2008:12)

‘So is it OK Now to Kill Gary Glitter?’ (Littlejohn, 2008:17).

‘So next time some self righteous vegan in cycling shorts is caught smashing up a Range Rover in the name of the polar bears, don’t be surprised when they try to use this ‘not guilty’ verdict as their Get Out Of Jail Free card’ (Littlejohn, 2008:17).

The Mirror

‘NOT ‘LAWFUL’.. JUST AWFUL.’ (Routledge, 2008:29)

‘This is judicial lunacy. It opens the way to all sorts of violence by flat-Earth nutters bent on halting the construction of vital new generating capacity.’ (Routledge, 2008:29)

The Express

‘Judge is an Ass for this Ruling.’ (Hamilton, 2008:31).

‘The judge’s direction clearly encourages politically motivated acts of mayhem and is a threat to public order’ (Hamilton, 2008:31).

In all of the above examples the ‘verdict’ is framed as being giving anarchic powers to Green protesters, sensationalising the potential ramifications. The Greenpeace activists are seen as the ‘Villains’ disturbing the peace and creating disharmony in the legal system. The Judge and Jury are thus portrayed as the ‘Anti-Heroes’ being too easily swayed by the glamour of the environmental celebrities paraded by Greenpeace in defence.

The Independent

‘For the jury that acquitted the six activists may have done more to frustrate the Government’s plans to build coal-fired powered stations than the pressure group has achieved in years.’ (Lean, 2008:54)

‘The People are Ahead of the Game on Climate Change.’ (Lean, 2008:54)

The Daily Telegraph

‘severe embarrassment to the Government’ (Clover, 2008:33).

‘So the Greens are Right About Coal…’ (Clover, 2008:33).

The Guardian

Climb Every Chimney . . .: The ‘Kingsnorth Six’ Admitted Causing £30,000 Worth of Damage to a Coal-Fired Power Station – Yet a Jury Still Refused to Find Them Guilty. The Verdict Has Left the Government’s Energy Plans in the Balance, Says John Vidal, and Given a Huge Boost to Climate Change Protesters.’ (Vidal, 2008:4).

‘The Maidstone verdict has changed all that and could prove a turning point both for the protest movement and industrial policy’ (Vidal, 2008:4).

”If I was E.ON or Owned an Airport, I’d be Very, Very Worried’: Activists from Other Groups Hail the Kingsnorth Victory.’ (Van Der Zee, 2008:7)

Mel Evans a Climate Camp activist: ‘When you take the arguments to a jury, then they respond in this way because they can see what the reality is.’ (cited in Van Der Zee, 2008:7)

‘Goldsmith accused the government of a profound lack of imagination when it came to examining alternative energy solutions’ (Henley, 2008: 6)

‘Beyond all Reasonable Doubt: How Four Witnesses Put the Government in the Dock.’ (Henley, 2008: 6)

The above examples utilise the ‘David versus Goliath’ analogy or as Vladimir Propp would suggest the ‘Hero’ character type, suggesting that the case stood as a shift in the


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: