In his new book, Dark PR: How Corporate Disinformation Harms Our Health and the Environment, Grant Ennis — a lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia — identifies the “nine devious frames” that corporations such as automobile manufacturers and road builders use to advance their interests, manipulate the public and maintain a status quo that harms human health and the planet.
I love the War on Cars podcast for its great content detailing how cars and cities aren’t BFFs. And I specifically liked this podcast with Grant Ennis the author of a new book Dark PR as it connects the much larger and universal public relation framing on every important issue to the specific subject of cars. While I have not read the book yet (my desire to read non-fiction is not always matched by action), you should listen to the podcast, and here are the 9 frames divided into 3 themes 🙂
- Big Lie – Serves to deny, obfuscate and redirect
- Denialism: Deny deny deny.
- Post-Denialism: It’s happening, it’s not bad, it’s actually good!
- Normalization: This is inevitable, deal with it.
- Pseudo-Solutions: Solutions that are anything but
- Silver boomerang: Here’s an amazing solution that won’t solve the problem and will rebound into profit for us!
- Magic: Ooh look, if y’all do this one thing that will be available tomorrow, the problem will be solved, so don’t worry about it today
- Treatment trap: Sorry your air quality sucks, but here’s a great air purifier for only 399.99
- Victim blaming/individualism: It’s all your fault, if only you’d composted more…
- Complicated frames
- Knotted web: This is such a difficult problem, here are 10000 different aspects blah blah blah, oh good, you’re asleep!
- Multifactorial framing: To solve this problem you have to do x, y, and z all at the same time, all of the above! Dilute dilute dilute!
As you look at various issues affecting us like housing, climate change, city planning, wars, drug poisoning, you name it, you’ll see one or more of these frames in use.
Anyway, listen to the podcast, it’s edifying.
This post is thanks to my friend Sherwin who updated my website yesterday and reminded me that low-expectation writing can be fun! As he just messaged me, “CLOSE YOUR EYES AND TYPE” (caps all his).
A version of this article was first published at Olive Ridley dot org.