In her New York Times op-ed ballyhooing the Bushies’ plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Gale Norton uses an interesting new tactic.  

I’m not talking about arguing that the drilling footprint would be small. (Though she’s quite crafty about making that claim, noting that “the world of Arctic energy exploration in the 21st century … is as different from what oil exploration used to be as the compact supercomputers of today are different from the huge vacuum tube computers of the 1950s. Through the use of advanced technology, we have learned not only to get access to oil and gas reserves in Arctic environments but also to protect their ecosystems and wildlife.”)

Rather, I mean her repeated reference to the “1002 area,” which she describes as “a sliver” of the refuge. Some enviros get pissed when the refuge is referred to as ANWR, believing that the acronym depersonalizes it and strips it of evocative power. (If you can’t manage to get out all four words, they say, shorten it to Arctic Refuge.) The administration, in referring to the tract where drilling would take place as the “1002 area,” sucks even more life from it. Really, how riled up are the masses going to get about protecting a four-digit sliver?  

Norton manages to squeeze five mentions of “1002” into a brief 650-word op-ed. This is just the beginning of a new admin framing strategy. Expect lots more 1002 in the future.

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(Media Matters for America, in a post from earlier this month, refutes some of the refuge-related arguments put forth by Norton, other admin officials, and their cronies at Fox News.)

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