Reframing Global Warming; the real story
posted at 9:22 am on May 3, 2009 by Keemo
I know, I know; not another piece on Global Warming! We’re sick and tired of this crap sandwich! Can’t we get just call this what it is and move on, we have bigger fish to fry…
Progressive Liberals have a tool in their tool chest that they use better than the rest of us. It’s called “relentless pressure.” Story after story after story, drive the talking points home until the targeted audience wilts from the relentless 24/7 pressure. Back in grade school, we simply referred to this tactic as “tell the lie long enough, and the teacher will eventually believe it.”
The New York Times has an article titled Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus, written by John M. Broder, that illustrates how the Global Warming Debate will be reframed and remarketed.
Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”
EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the last several years to find new ways to frame environmental issues and so build public support for climate change legislation and other initiatives. A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders.
Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists.
“Another key finding: remember to speak in TALKING POINTS aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology,” said the e-mail account of the group’s study.
I find the reminder to “speak in talking points” very interesting. I can’t help but to wonder just how sophisticated this program is within the progressive liberal movement. From the elementary class room, through high school and on to higher education establishments spread out across our nation, the liberal talking points are spread and enforced. Our children see the same talking points while watching children’s programming on TV. Our teenagers see the same talking points while watching MTV or chatting with friends at sites such as face book. This is a very personal issue in my home, for these reasons. My youngest son was cruising along through 11th grade, until he decided to buck the system and write a rebuttal to his teachers chosen topic for essay “Climate Change.” What followed is truly frightening to us, and should be to all parents with children in the public school system. A teacher entered into his car without permission, searching for something she could use against him. The principle called my son into his office, and told him that his parents must not be very good parents, and obviously don’t punish him enough. His teachers started telling him that he should just quit school and take the GED. One administrator told my son he should take the GED and join the military, maybe the National Guard would be good for him. In other words “join the military with the rest of the dummies, that’s where you belong.” Talking points turned into mob rule when the student bucked the system. Follow our lead, or we will destroy you! Any of this look familiar as we watch this administration operate?
More on this story (plot) from Andrew C, Revkin, Global Heating, Atmosphere Cancer, Pollution Death. What’s in a Name?
In 2006, Seth Godin, a popular marketing expert, examined the climate communications challenge from from vantage point of a pitchman:
Is the lack of outrage because of the population’s decision that this is bad science or perhaps a thoughtful reading of the existing data?
Actually, the vast majority of the population hasn’t even thought about the issue. The muted reaction to our impending disaster comes down to two things:
1. the name.
Global is good.
Warm is good.
Even greenhouses are good places.
How can “global warming” be bad?
I’m not being facetious. If the problem were called “Atmosphere cancer” or “Pollution death” the entire conversation would be framed in a different way.
2. the pace and the images.
One degree every few years doesn’t make good TV. Because activists have been unable to tell their story with vivid images about immediate actions, it’s just human nature to avoid the issue. Why give up something we enjoy now to make an infintesimal change in something that is going to happen far in the future?
We’ve explored the limits of language in situations like this, but it’s worth pushing on this some more. What framing or phrasing do you see capturing peoples’ attention in a way that might stick?
What strikes me as offensive and frightening, is the size and scope of this agenda. From the back rooms of Congress and the White House, to the liberal think tanks, on to the media, on to the classrooms…