Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Week 4 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Deven Bhatnagar, Louie Knolle, and Kevin Rigsbee.

Week 4 Journal Prompt
Select an environmental issue that interests you. Find at least three online news articles about it that appear to represent three different frames. For example, if you are interested in fracking, you may find one article that primarily talks about employment prospects associated with fracking, another that focuses on public health risks, and a third that appears to prioritize energy independence. All the articles must be from established news sources, although the sources need not be nonpartisan.

Provide links to each article on your blog. For each, describe the type of frame the author appears to have applied. Use quotations or screen shots to identify the words, phrases, and passages the author used in the framing effort and explain how these elements create the frame. Also discuss any explicit or implicit partisan associations you encounter in each article. Cite class readings about framing and other sources as necessary. You should devote 2–3 paragraphs of narrative to each article, and thus 6–9 paragraphs in total.

Deven's Week 4 Journal Entry
The first article I chose is called A Tsunami of Governmental Global Warming Lies.  In this article, it is argued that the government has been feeding us false information about global warming.  Obama, referred to in the third paragraph as the "Liar-in Chief," is accused by the author of avoiding economic problems that matter, by using the environment, which has always had severe storms as a means to avoid the issue.  This article states that the entire economy is "threatened,"  engraining into reader brains that there should not be a price put on carbon emissions, because the further destruction of the economy is a major worry of many Americans nowadays.  He even refers to the entire concept of global warming as a "hoax."  The author even states that the government has been funding "bogus reports and 'research."

This article has gotten into the framework of their readers' minds, by telling them to essentially not focus or worry about environmental problems.  He states that there is still no solid research or proof regarding global warming, and the heating of the earth, if it is actually occurring, is good for people, stating that cold temperatures cause the real health risk.  This author seems upset about a revival of cap-and trade legislation, and he seems to be against the taxation against greenhouse gas emissions.  Alan Caruba, the author of this article, reaches his framework perspective at no surprise, since he is the founder of the National Anxiety Center, while I don't understand how he in his position knows too much the extent of environmental degradation.

My second article, found on Globalgazette.com, is called The Effects of Global Warming. Essentially it is throwing facts at the audience.  The first fact that they wanted to share was that the past eleven out of twelve years have been the hottest on record.  It also states that mosquito populations will rise with the hotter seasons.  The article also brings to light the fact that global warming causes massive superstorms, which are becoming more frequent in recent years.  He also states that as temperature rises, pollution subsequently worsens.  Children's asthma has risen is the past quarter of a century.

This author is framing his audience with severe facts concerning human and ecological health damage to Earth .  He is likely doing this in order to get his audience to realize that things are getting bad, and they are getting worse more quickly than previously thought.  By exposing an audience to so many crazy life threatening situations, people are left thinking about their friends and family, and how they all might be affected.  This article may in fact scare individuals into being more ecologically friendly, by spreading awareness about our future world and how it doesn't look like rainbows and unicorns.

In the article Al Gore: Public Conditioned to Accept Atmosphere as 'Open Sewer', Al Gore discusses his new book, where he talks about digital communications, increased globalization, and the destruction of democracy.  In this book, entitled "The Future,"  Al Gore states that "The public is lulled into an acceptance of going along with this policy of using the atmosphere as an open sewer."  This article then continues to discuss Al Gore's career and accomplishments, especially those relating to the environment and those awards that gain international respect, such as the Nobel Peace Prize.

This article, obviously about purchasing Al Gore's new book, offers startling information to the American people,  Gore states that the world will see an end of democracy, and that must definitely affect all Americans, because that is currently how we rule our government.  Gore, in his book, deeply affects everyone because he relates the environment to a sewer.  Obviously, the sewer is a place most people don't want be near, let alone inhale. So, this probably frames readers' minds into believing that they are currently inhaling sewage particles, and they need to do what they can to fix it.  Then, the article talks about the accomplishments of Al Gore, likely giving his statements more credibility, likely gaining him more frame changes.

Louie's Week 4 Journal Entry
When I was a kid, wind didn't come from farms

Wind Turbines: 

Article 1:
 In a time of reportedly dwindling fossil fuels and possible anthropogenic climate change, alternative energy sources are all the rage.  They include solar, geothermal, water, and the focus of topic this week: wind.  Wind turbines are popular in some circles because the only thing required for them to generate power is, well, wind.  Basically wind turns the blades (like a fan) and the resulting turbine spinning powers a generator which produces electricity.  Of course, these turbines are also seen as a nuisance and are unwanted in some people's eyes.  Take for example, a wind turbine which actually collapsed in Devon, a village in Bradworthy, England this past week.  It had been controversial from their conception because of popular misconceptions that they are loud, eyesores, and threats to wildlife (Delingpole 2013).  The author goes on to further express his beliefs on the subject: 
     Although this does not particularly reflect any partisan belief (at least not in the classic Democrat/Republican sense seeing as it is written about an instance in England), Delingpole is adamantly against wind turbines, not necessarily against all forms of alternative energy, but definitely wind turbines.  He uses the unaesthetic qualities of the turbines and the appeal to people's love of animals to illustrate how bad they are, but never actually discusses the monetary effect on the community or includes any empirical data to support his opinion.  But seeing as it is an online editorial blog for the England paper The Telegraph, the lack of scientific data is unsurprising, his end goal is to appeal to the emotions of the readers, not bore them with charts and numbers.

Article 2:
       However, not everyone in the world has a problem with wind energy.  It seems to me to be the most frequently available (currently) source of alternative energy that is offered by large municipal companies.  Even the national government is taking steps to ensure that wind turbines be built across the country.  In October 2012, the US government approved construction of a wind farm in Wyoming that upon completion could contain up 1000 wind turbines, making it the largest such farm in North America (McLendon 2012).  It would generate up to 3,000 megawatts a year, enough to power almost a million homes (McLendon 2012).  The article also mentions how this is a result of the promise President Obama made that year in his presidential address to ramp up alternative fuel sources.  

      The author of this article, Russell McLendon, writes for the ecojournalist blog on the website of the Mother Nature Network.  With his entry, he appears to take a nonpartisan interest and is purely trying to present that fact that the wind farm will begin construction in the coming months.  He takes time to address the wildlife concerns of environmentalists/bird lovers because turbines sometimes are erected in the flight paths of birds and other flying creatures.  He then references Dan Ashe's (director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service) response to the concern of conservationists:

Despite seemingly nonpartisan, McLendon seems in support of the idea.  He frequently uses facts about the energy benefits of wind turbines in an effort to appeal to the rationale that this will be the next step in the right direction for the renewable energy sector.

Article 3:
      An article I found (actually published today) discusses a new wind turbine which GE has released.  GE calls it its "first brilliant wind turbine" (Casey 2013).  Essentially, it is a wind turbine designed specifically to deal with the fluctuations in wind patterns that regularly occurs on any wind farm, so it is especially efficient in areas that do not receive large quantities of wind.  It is able to control itself through an advanced analytic control system that maintains its efficiency.  It is the first in a long line of machinery with adaptive management capabilities built in that GE hopes to continue producing.
     The author, Tina Casey, regularly reports on new technology for some websites such as cleantechnica.com and triplepundit.com.  She is also a the Deputy Director of Public Information for a county in New Jersey.  Her intended audience are those who are skeptical about GE's new "brilliant" wind turbine and possibly even wind energy in general.  By titling her piece "How Smart is GE's 'brilliant' new wind turbine?" she is expressing that she herself is questionable, or at least wishes to appear that way.  She even includes an advertisement for the new turbine created by GE.

This ad effectually makes it so that people come to trust the new turbine.  It looks like a child drew it, so it has an air of innocence about it, and it describes in layman's terms how the turbines function and the benefits that will arise from their use.  Casey is in favor of the new turbine.

Works Cited:

"How Smart Is GE’s “Brilliant” New Wind Turbine?" Tina Casey, accessed February 1, 2013,     

"U.S. approves huge wind farm in Wyoming," Russell McLendon, accessed February 1, 2013,

"Wind turbines- not just hateful but ruddy dangerous too!" James Delingpole, accessed February 1, 2013,

Kevin's Week 4 Journal Entry
It’s a well-known fact that every person in the world has a slightly different world-view than every other person in the world.  These views are developed over the course of our lives, and there are many different facets to each person’s beliefs.  If someone’s viewpoints are broken down, then they can be seen to be made up of belief structures that are known as “frames”.  For this journal entry, we will be exploring the issue of solar power, from the perspective of three different frames, attained from articles found online.  These articles will be specified in their appropriate sections, and links will be found on the reference page.   
The first article is “Solar Energy”, found on nationalgeographic.com.  The frame established in this article is an educational one, intended to inform without actually making any arguments.  The author explains how solar power works in simple language that can be understood by anyone with a high school diploma; for example, “solar energy is… an inexhaustible fuel source” and “every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year”.  A few numbers are brought up- as in “solar energy use has surged at about 20 percent…”- but most of the article is rhetoric, rather than numbers. 
This lack of emphasis on figures and uncomplicated language is what makes the educational frame work.  When the purpose of writing is to educate, it helps to keep things simple.  In reality, the issue of solar energy is much more complicated than the article establishes, but the frame’s purpose isn’t to create experts.  The frame’s purpose is to help readers know a few basics about the issue.  By keeping things simple, the article ensures that this frame is successful and the reader gains a basic understanding of the solar power. 
The second article is “A Hiring Bright Spot:  Solar Energy Jobs” on money.usnews.com.  This particular article’s frame is focused on the employment prospects associated with solar power, rather than what solar power is.  To establish this frame, the author focuses much more on numbers than rhetoric.  The author makes the point that solar power is becoming a good prospect for qualified applicants. 
To do this, the author brings up many more figures than the previous article did.  He compares the growth rate of solar jobs in 2010 to that of the national average, “up almost 7 percent from August 2010…almost 10 times higher than the national average employment growth rate of 0.7 percent”.  He also gives an example, “Calif.-based Sungevity, has almost tripled its workforce…” and points out that the solar industry is growing faster than the fossil fuel industry, “which experienced negative growth of 2 percent”.  Taken together, all these arguments give the impression of an industry that’s beginning to grow, and will keep growing in the future. 
The third article is “Solar:  Life, Liberty And the Pursuit of Energy Independence”, found on forbes.com.  As you probably guessed from the title, this article is examining solar power from the frame of energy independence. Specifically, the author’s point is that solar power has become a divisive issue, and it shouldn’t be.  To quote the author, “solar isn’t an issue of the right or the left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat”. 
In order to establish this frame, the author uses several tactics.  First, he appeals to history; “technologies to convert sunshine to electricity were pioneered in the US half a century ago”.  He then talks about how solar is easy to use and widespread today; for example, “one of the largest users of solar in the world is our military”.  The author primarily uses emotional and patriotic appeals rather than numbers, which makes sense for the purposes of the frame. The point the author is trying to make is that solar power shouldn’t be political, and one doesn’t need statistics to make that argument.
                Frames are a fact of everyday life.  Everyone has their own frames when it comes to their views on just about everything.  Also, as the above examples have shown, it’s possible to view a single issue from many different frames, each focusing on a different aspect of that issue.  When put together, though, all frames can agree that there are many sides of any issue. 

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