What is message framing, anyway?

Posted on August 27, 2019

Good question! Let’s start with a little quiz specially crafted for history buffs. When were these political slogans in vogue, and what were they about? (1) Tippecanoe and Tyler Too (2) Don’t swap horses...

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It is time to ban assault weapons, again

Posted on August 15, 2019

We all know that some guns should be banned or severely restricted. Machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, grenades, and many other types of extremely dangerous weapons were essentially banned by the commonsense National Firearms Act (NFA)...

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Brand-new edition of our advocacy manual, Preparing to Win

Posted on July 31, 2019

Here is the Introduction to our brand-new Second Edition of Preparing to Win: Why an advocacy manual now? We want change; that’s why we are progressive advocates. We seek to redirect and reform public...

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Brand-new Fourth Edition of Voicing Our Values

Posted on July 17, 2019

This is the Introduction to our brand-new edition of Voicing Our Values: Politics is the art of persuasion. But persuasion is hard and getting harder. Today, facts are rationalized away and lies are ubiquitous....

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Why we celebrate the Fourth of July

Posted on July 3, 2019

This year, Donald Trump is twisting the traditional nonpartisan “Capitol Fourth” celebration in Washington, D.C. into a grotesque partisan rally featuring himself and military weaponry. This is wrong on so many levels. The Fourth...

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Avoid the passive voice

Posted on June 19, 2019

Richard Nixon and his press secretary were famously ridiculed for saying “mistakes were made.” And yet, the same phrase has been used by Democrats and Republicans ever since. To many people, the passive voice...

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Don’t repeat the opponents’ frame

Posted on June 3, 2019

In his book Don’t Think of an Elephant, Professor George Lakoff provides the most basic principle of framing: “Do not use their language. Their language picks out a frame—and it won’t be the frame...

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Please don’t reject messaging as “spin” or “manipulation”

Posted on May 22, 2019

As we go around the country giving messaging workshops, we’re nearly always asked whether our message framing is a gimmick. After all, conservatives make it seem like a cynical game. They refer to the...

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Don’t accept the normalization of hate speech

Posted on May 8, 2019

America is not really a nation of laws. Our statutes govern only the grossest of behavior. The way Americans behave toward each other day-to-day—attitude and etiquette, willingness and wariness, prejudice and tolerance—is governed mostly...

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How do you explain progressive economics?

Posted on April 24, 2019

As you know, conservatives have well-established concepts and language to explain their ideas about economics. And those talking points dominate any conversation with the public. The position themselves as defenders of a “free market” system...

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