Thursday, December 15, 2005

FRAMING: conflict + honesty = attention getting

I have often complained about the "happy talk" approach many Democrats, and especially the DLC take to presenting their case, and am invariably immediately accused of supporting the lies and personal attack tactics of the GOP.

I think there's a clear difference between stating the facts, including about who is opposing you and why, and lying and smearing your opponents.

People not only need facts, they need a STORY with good guys and bad guys and CONFLICT to get their attention. I didn't event this, it's as old as humanity and outlined by Aristotle, but for some reason, many Democrats stubbornly ignore this and want to pretend we are all one big happy family, and their pitches get about as much attention as those sappy watercolor birthday cards with a duckpond and frilly writing on front.

I'll use global warming as example because while serious, it can easily be presented in a deadly dull way.


Scientists agree global warming is a serious problem. We need to do something someday that doesn't offend anyone too much, so the Eskimos and penguins can play happily in their winter wonderland, and Florida continues to exist at high tide as well as low.


We need to do x,y, and z about global warming, but my opponents are being paid by some of the largest corporations in the world to pretend it doesn't exist in spite of overwhelming scientific consensus. We have the facts, they have the money and PR agencies. I care about how this will effect you and your family. They care about how fixing it will hurt their corporate donors. If you think your family's health is more important than corporations making a few extra points of profits, I need your support.


We know that global warming exists and is intent on destroying our way of life, and will do so within 30 days if we do not act. My opponents willfully drive Hummers to intentionally destroy the ozone. They hope that this will destroy the earth so they can meet Jesus in the sky sooner and the rest of us will be killed in the climate change apocalypse. In spite of their religious agenda, they have sex with farm animals and worship Joseph Stalin's exercise of naked power. Now you must decide, are you with us or on the side of the evil-doers?


Iraq is another constructive example.

The DLC and pro-war Democrats are lying by repeating the GOPs happy talk talking points.

But it is not enough to say we must get out. We have to show why some will oppose it and have a vested interest in staying.

You can't win over everyone, but even though you can be honest about who is opposing you, you can still give them room to join you and propose things that are fair to them without harming the rest of us.

Right now, letting oil companies and corporate America drive our foreign policy is like giving the keys to the family car to a drunken teenager. It's bad for everyone. Will you look mean if you don't let them drive the car? Yes, temporarily. Does that mean the kid will hate you for the rest of their life? No. They will respect you more.

The difference with corporate America is they are not that teenager.

They are like the Sopranos with more money, better lawyers who can write the laws to make their crimes legal, and PR firms to convince people to like their crimes.

It is even more dangerous to accomodate the Sopranos without acknowledging the harm they do and monitoring their actions to insure they don't continue to do it.

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