After reading the article and some of the follow up discussion, I'd say I agree with the take at Mixing Memory and in particular the post by Greg Laden that this was a botched job.
I notice that there's been little crossover from the science blogs to the lefty blogs where frames were first discussed about three years ago. My first introduction was this post on DailyKos.
First, Nisbet and Mooney misunderstand the word "frame" which, in Lakoff's work, is more of a noun then a verb. Frames are something people have hard-wired in their brain and the politicians job is to invoke one or the other. Its a not a processor you run your presentation through.
Nisbet and Mooney seem inspired by a Pew center poll which showed lack of interest/understanding on global warming. However this poll was taken in January of 2007, before the 3 month long IPCC press barrage. As more recent polls discussed below show, the AR4 reports have had a major effect on the public understanding and acceptance of global warming, without any "framing".
The article is mostly about examples, some accurate, some not, of framing. They actually don't say much about how to do a better job of "framing science" or what that even means. Here's what comes closest to a proposal in their text:
Without misrepresenting scientific information on highly contested issues, scientists must learn to actively “frame” information to make it relevant to different audiences.
I disagree. The key phrase in the above is "frame information". Scientists deal in facts. Verifiable facts. And we should describe them using the words we know when asked. A Princeton professor had a recent book out called "On Bullshit" which talked about how pervasive it is on our culture. I think people are exhausted by this and would like a break. If a scientist finds him or herself in front of an audience, its probably because the audience wants to hear about some science, some facts. To "Frame information" sound like
There are two problems here: communicating science and communicating policy. Communicating science should follow the simple rules laid out by Mixing Memory: be nice, know your audience and realize that words have power (the take-home message from the theory of frames.) I would add never refuse to answer a science question. If it requires more detail, go in to the detail. Hide nothing. Let the audience tell you when to stop.
Now if you're a political leader trying to persuade the public to some action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or energy use, then you have to worry about the words you use and what frames they evoke.
But for scientists communicating the science of our climate system, just stick to the facts. Thats what people want from you. Reversing the global warming trend will require a level of world-wide cooperation unprecedented in human history. Its only fitting that people have an unprecedented understanding of the science behind it. There's no room for "framing" in that undertaking.
Update (5/2/07): I think this last paragraph is where I've been misunderstood. Although I said "just stick to the facts", note that its "when communicating science." And I didn't mean you had to do it in a monotone or that you should use the figures right out of your papers. If you have other things to communicate, like how to solve the problem, why its a problem worth solving, then you can and should use all the persuasive skills you can muster. And facts.