language and frame

Exercise on Framing: Refugees fleeing Central America at the Border Wall

The border wall is a hot topic right now in the news. Exercise:

(1) What are the policy choices? What are all the different frames you can think of — the different ways to focus on the story — that you hear?

Important: people can usually take either side within a frame:

Take relief => the frame is that taxes are an affliction. "No new taxes" and "The rich should pay more" => both positions treat taxes like an affliction, opposite positions within the same frame.

(2) [usually easy] Which of these frames is more focused on the values you want to emphasize?

Techniques: 

Framing Advocacy Group

Progressives need a grassroots movement to ask our congresspeople what their approach to framing is on particular issues. Instead of saying "please support bill X" in cases where they already do, get them hundreds of letters asking "What is your approach to framing issue X? Do you agree with George Lakoff's suggestions? Which other politicians are you coordinating with to get the message out coherently?" We should put pressure there -- it might not take much! Please add your comments. Do you want to be part of Cognitive Politics and lead this? Create a facebook group with me?

Techniques: 

Name and Frame this trend: Creating pools of people with challenges, isolating them, and refusing to help

Help name and frame a big, unnamed trend in politics: On both health-care and school's choice, a central goal of Republican policy is to have those with challenges — pre-existing conditions or kids who struggle — placed into pools of people with challenges, and people without challenges not have to help. If you have a pre-existing condition, or are a kid with ADHD, the Republicans want you to bear all the consequences for yourself and others with challenges. Social Darwinism is an old term not out of place, but not "who-what-when" enough for an effective reframing.

Techniques: 

The Choices When Framing: Your Values or Theirs? (1)

What's the best way to frame political arguments? Some argue that we should tell stories that express our own values strongly — preferably with many voices repeating and reinforcing the same story; this is the approach in George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we hear advice as in Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind (and Moral Foundations Theory) to spend more time listening to conservative opposition and coming to understand their values — more empathy, more compassion.

Techniques: 

Wave Goodbye to Orwell: Framing Lessons from The Onion

A recent Onion article describes Paul Ryan giving earnest and realistic advice to low-income workers, in line with the policies he is promoting and in tune with his values. This style of describing an opponent’s policies and values truthfully, avoiding their Orwellian misdirection without adding your own mockery or snark, is worth exploring as a framing technique.
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