Frames and Frames

[Factored out of the previous posting for clarity.]

There are two meanings of the word “frame” that are getting confused here; one is the Overton Window stuff (the limits of what society tolerates as acceptable opinion can shift, and a good way to influence history in the long run is to move the perceived frame).

Climate science has suffered from a very sneaky placement of that frame, where the IPCC (which is a deliberate and careful attempt to explain the center of scientific opinion) is cast as the extreme of a debate, while one of the two actual extremes (Lovelock’s position, I suppose) simply isn’t in the public eye at all.

For clarity, perhaps we should call this the “window” and not the “frame”.

What Nisbet and Mooney are talking about, in their discussion of framing that has gotten so much attention, is how to present your information to one or another audience: it refers to a given communication effort, not to the whole context.

Even in this case, despite the knee-jerk reactions of some, the word “framing” isn’t about “lying”. You say different things to different audiences because they have different needs and interests. That doesn’t mean the things you say are inconsistent with each other or with truth as you understand it.

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