To Frame Or Not To Frame?

1 comment July 17th, 2005at 12:21pm Posted by Eli

Long, interesting article in this week’s NYT Magazine about the Democrats’ embrace of Lakoff and framing. It starts out with the Democrats finally realizing that they’ve been out-messaged by the Republicans shortly before the 2004 election (and much more so afterwards) and embracing Lakoff and various other framing experts, but then veers into wondering whether the recent Democratic successes in fighting off Social Security privatization and the nuclear option were due to expert framing, or just good old-fashioned party discipline.

Unfortunately, Matt Bai then veers even further, and suggests that framing isn’t working for the Democrats because they don’t even have a message to frame. That the Republican platform can be summed up in eight words, and the Democratic one takes 5-10 minutes. This, I think, is unfair. I think a core Democratic message can be boiled down pretty easily, to something centering on fairness and opportunity for everyone, in contrast to the Republicans’ philosophy of soak-the-poor-and-coddle-the-rich. There are other elements, like fiscal responsibility, making sure the planet doesn’t die, and not starting unnecessary wars, but I think fairness is what they need to lead with, to appeal to that core American mythology that anyone can make it in the land of opportunity, if they’re just willing to work hard enough.

And as far as framing the other party, the Democrats must do a better job of portraying the Republicans as amoral, corrupt, unaccountable fatcats and intolerant religious fanatics who only care about the rich and corporate and uber-Christian, and who want to control everyone’s private life and moral choices.

They also need to remind everyone that the media is owned by the very same corporations which benefit from Republican rule. It is vitally important that the “liberal media” myth be destroyed – until the media are either reformed or seen for the corporate shills they really are, the Republicans will keep coming back, and will continue running roughshod over this country without being held accountable for it. The best we could hope for would be 8-12 years of Republican dominance, followed by 4 years of an ineffectual Democratic president, followed by another 8-12 years of Republican dominance, and so forth.

So, are the recent successes due to expert framing or party discipline? I don’t know. Just to be on the safe side, let’s keep using both.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Favorites,Media,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers

1 Comment

  • 1. oldwhitelady  |  July 17th, 2005 at 6:55 pm

    That’s for sure. Let’s keep using both. I agree that fairness would be a good start. That is a good message. A message that the Republicans cannot flaunt.

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