Once again, Charlie Brown climate media and communicators are trying to kick Lucy’s proverbial football as she yanks it away. Right wing fossil fuel sponsored Lucy is the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Their football frame is blaming Texas power outages on frozen wind turbines and renewables.
What is the media response to this frame? Of course it is to deny the frame. Here are a few headlines.
- Washington Post: “Frozen wind turbines aren’t why Texas can’t keep the light on”
- Southeast Energy News: “Arctic blast knocks generation offline — and not just wind farms.”
- Time: “ Don’t Blame Wind Turbines for Texas Massive Power Outages
- MSNBC: Frozen Wind Turbines Only Partly Responsible for Texas Power Outages
How did this whole blaming renewables thing start? Fossil fuel think tanks know an opportunity when they see one. They also know that if they create a frame about frozen wind turbines, that the media will respond and entrench this frame.
It undoubtedly started with a pitch for a story from a fossil fuel think tank to the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Here’s the WSJ OpEd headline on Monday: “A Deep Green Freeze – Power Shortages Show the Folly of Eliminating Natural Gas and Coal.” In it, they blame frozen ‘windmills.’
Cognitive scientists and communication experts have endless data that FIGHTING A FRAME ONLY ENTRENCHES THE FRAME!
So when we say in response, “Frozen wind turbines are NOT responsible for Texas grid failure,” we are entrenching the frame that they are. We give it life by trying to deny it, even though we are trying to correct misleading information.
The brain does not hear the word NOT. It only hears frozen wind turbines and power outages. This is the same thing President 45 did for five years. He says, “Voter Fraud!” We say “There’s NO Voter Fraud!” until half of America believes there must be voter fraud. Even the Left. What can we do?
The first step to addressing a frame is to ignore it! The second step is to go back to the first step.
Only after ignoring the frame, we can use direct positive language rather than the negative to refute a false claim. Here’s what this sounds like.
- “Wind Energy is More Reliable Than Coal”
- “Wind Turbines Outperform Fossil Fuels in Cold Weather.”
- “Wind Energy to the Rescue”
- “Renewables are Reliable”
Think about how a right wing media outlet might respond to these. “Wind Energy Is Not More Reliable Than Coal.” Go ahead and let them. They are fighting our frame.
Here’s the key. Let’s stop and check ourselves. Are we reacting to our opposition’s frames? Are we outraged? If so, our communications are flawed.
Our media is now based on an outrage economy. The more outrage they can create, the more their base responds. The more we try to counter, the more we entrench. So let’s stop kicking the football, or drunk dialing old lovers, or pick your bad metaphor. It feels like we’re doing the right thing but we’re not.
We can tell the truth, but must avoid rewarding their outrage with our own. Call if you’d like help. Thanks.
‘We are all connected. Savor the Earth!’™