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The Climate Narrative

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFebruary 9, 2010 6:19 PM


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There are two guys who'd sooner be waterboarded than admit the other was right about something. But Marc Morano and Joe Romm would certainly agree on one thing: the importance of a compelling narrative. Marc Morano. Take a look at the stories that dominate Climate Depot lately. It's IPCC, round the clock. Notice the familiarity of the phrasing in the headlines (ruse-hoax-scam-collapse-hype-shame, and so on). Morano has fashioned this narrative that the whole edifice of man-made climate change is crumbling daily under the weight of mounting miscues. Nothing could be further from the truth. But Morano has been disciplined in staying with this frame. If you're following the trench warfare in the blogosphere, you can see that many skeptics are echoing this jig-is-up frame. And because climate scientists are on the defensive, Morano is able to stay on offense with his message. Say what you will about him, but he's very good at what he does. He saw an opening to create a narrative and he's not looking back. Joe Romm. He's so frustrated at the turn of events. On the one hand, he blames team Obama for shoddy messaging:

The failure to advance a narrative (frame or extended metaphor) has been a disaster.

They haven't been able to counter what Romm calls

the self-destructive demagoguing and obstinacy of anti-science, pro-polluter ideologues.

Conveniently, Romm, who is a major player in the climate debate, isn't discussing the merits of his own frame, and whether that has helped or hindered his cause. Romm is surely right that a better narrative will be needed to sway a fickle public and recalcitrant blue dog democrats. I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

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