The latest to fall prey to the mind-numbing, intellectually dishonest fiasco known as 'framing' is ecoAmerica, who think that the problem with getting people to buy into CO2-based global warming isn't the suspect political motivation behind the target date chosen in Kyoto and hammered through by two European nations with an economic sickness that could only be cured by handicapping its largest competitor - it's instead the term "global warming" itself.
Likewise, they didn't realize that calling ethanol 'renewable energy' did not mean it would save the environment or that calling "cap and trade" something else, like "cap and cash back" will make it less of a multi-billion dollar boondoggle in the same vein.
Framing the debate - in this case calling global warming something less obvious and focusing only on the outcome you want people to believe - will cause people to give it a fresh look, they assume, because they seem to believe people are basically stupid. The Duke lacrosse players rape conviction in the media happened because both Duke and the prosecuting attorney believed they had to frame the debate to win in the eyes of the public. It blew up in both their faces. But the environment is too important to allow environmental groups, even ones started by executives with outstanding climate credentials like ecoAmerica’s boss Robert Perkowitz, whose experience consisted primarily of marketing outdoor clothing and home furnishings, to play games with the public. If the planet is warming, call it warming. Then show the data. Makes sense, but instead they want to focus on talking points, straight out of the Karl Rove/Rahm Emanuel playbooks.
“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,” they write. Well, they didn't mean to write it. The notes from the meeting were sent to news services by accident.
The environmental movement companies have their own political spin types, it seems, and they are writing strategy messages; it isn't about truth or science, it's about manipulation. This is very 2006 thinking and we have seen what a disaster it has been for legitimate climate science (thought it works in politics.) In climate science, everyone is painted with a political brush because Al Gore chose to frame the global warming debate by exaggeration and some deception - even though he only did it in a few spots in an otherwise accurate movie. That's the problem with framing and deficit thinking; it demeans and casts doubt on the entire discussion and invalidates literally thousands of legitimate pieces of data in a complex argument like climate change.
Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, commenting to John Broder in the New York Times, agrees it is a bad idea. “The form is the same; the message is just flipped. You want to sell toothpaste, we’ll sell it. You want to sell global warming, we’ll sell that. It’s the use of advertising techniques to manipulate public opinion.”
Whereas deficit thinking is just insulting to a basically literate, intelligent audience, framing is just what Brulle says it is; advertising techniques and manipulation.
ecoAmerica makes no secret of its agenda. From their website: "ecoAmerica uses the consumer marketing practices that work so well in the business world to protect our natural heritage." And also to get paid, 'non-profit' being the nebulous umbrella for companies that want to pay themselves fat salaries and agree not to pay a dividend to shareholders and otherwise having no criteria for legitimacy.
This is really no different than media companies who insist people are dumb and need to be talked down to, or that they should be engaging in societal good works rather than reporting news objectively; and we have seen how well those kinds of media companies are doing today.