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How Republicans Talk About OWS

by on December 7, 2011

In class we talked a lot about how the media influences public policy and I can’t help but see this article as a classic example of such.  The Republican party is instructing their constituents to frame Occupy Wall Street in such a way that makes the public view the movement in a way that benefits Republicans.  Of course this strategy isn’t just used by Republicans, but this article just seems such a clear and obvious use of this strategy.  The language used–particularly the metaphors and euphamisms  make the American public view OWS in a way that becomes a threat to their core beliefs, and thus drives them to vote a certain way on larger issues of public policy.  I think my favorite from the list is #5: “Don’t  say ‘government spending’.  Call it ‘waste'”. 

In these private meetings, they are setting an agenda on their framwork, which then is transmitted through the media to the public, which then shapes public opinion and effects the way in which people vote.  Maybe this is political strategy, but I can’t help see some level of deception/dishonesty in what they are doing.



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  1. Alyah K. permalink

    As we have discussed in class, people on both sides of the aisle are guilty of framing issues to make them look more or less attractive. Frank Luntz is an infamous Republican consultant who specializes in the language of politics, as Mother Jones described. Luntz came up with the phrase “climate change” and advised GOP members to call the Obama administration’s health care reform effort the “government takeover of health care.” Framing is part of the game, whether you are in politics, the private sector or at a non-governmental organization. What I actually think is notable is that Yahoo News published the story about Luntz’s talking points. These kinds of stories are important because they break down some of the facade. They point out to readers that things are being framed and remind them that politics is, essentially, all about strategic communication. More stories like this — about what goes on behind the curtain — are actually good for the public, in my opinion.

  2. Gosh, I get so irritated with that Luntz guy! He is indeed infamous, and unfortunately (given my own personal politics) can often be very effective. Perhaps he won’t be so successful this time around? It seems kind of late to me for Luntz to jump in the game and try to frame OWS when the movement has been going on for months now. Despite some pretty shady media coverage, OWS has gotten their message out and discussions about income equality have been thrust into the public sphere in a way I haven’t seen for a while. Furthermore, I remember seeing examples of many poll showing that the public is more sympathetic to OWS. I just did a quickie google search for one poll, described in this daily news article:

    I don’t know how good the above poll is. I do think it goes to show that’s a little late for Luntz to ride on a horse…

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