Framing — the Final Frontier

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

also posted on on dkos


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.


a frame refers to the way media and media gatekeepers organize and present the events and issues they cover, and the way audiences interpret what they are provided. Frames are abstract notions that serve to organize or structure social meanings. Frames […] not only tells what to think about, but also how to think about it.…

Frames are the word-pictures, that make an Idea “stick”.

Framing is related to “story telling” but in a much more subtle and direct way. A Frame is more like “the moral” of the Story — a Frame is the take-away point, the Lesson to be Learned.  

A good Frame, like a good joke, provides a memorable context, so that the “punch line” almost rolls off the page, off the stage, off the couch.

A good Frame, is a metaphor, for a larger more complex topic. And the metaphor, if simplistic enough can render, any subsequent debate mute. Pure noise, blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada.

The Frame stands-in for the Debate, in many people’s minds. Because it’s easier. Because it clicks.

How about some examples, please.

    “Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.”

“Because if you do, you’re just a ‘Cut and Run’ liberal.”

“We got to Stay the Course”

“Because Freedom is on the March”

“We got to Fight them over there, so we don’t have to Fight them over here.”

Short, simple, effective word-pictures. No Thinking required. Just add, a spin room.

The wingnuts are Light-years ahead of Dems,

in boiling down complex issues into simple Emotional Slogans.

They know how to Push the Buttons of the American People. No Facts required. Just Cycle, Rinse, and Repeat, until their Talking Points are taken as givens.

Some GOPhers have made a career of dreaming up such Talking Points, and emotional Wedge Issues. Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, Rush Limbaugh are examples of their Kings of Spin.

And the Dems, we have Truth, Honesty, and Compassion on our side — and those pesky Facts! … Dems always have truckloads of Facts.

Know what? Facts don’t always make that emotional connection. Some people are allergic to dry, dusty Facts.  Aaachooo!

How about some examples, please.

    We need “Single Payer”

Huh? I pay enough already.

We need “Cap and Trade”.

But that just an “Energy Tax”, and we don’t need any MORE Taxes!

We need to Increase the “Estate Tax”.

But that just a “Death Tax”, AND How cruel is that?

Debate Over.

Game. Set. Match.

Dems need to learn to become Framing Wordsmiths, but fast — until we do, the Obstructionist Party will remain competitive, in the minds of the super-busy mostly-uninformed masses.

And those Right Wing talkers, we all love to hate, will remain competitive in that all so important War of Ideas, that wages in the Corporate Media spin rooms, everyday.

The Dems have a few viable Frames these days, but not enough?

“No more Status Quo!”

“Status Quo must Go”!

“The Obstructionists just represent the Status Quo.”

These are good simple Frames, except for the “Status Quo” part — that’s a College-level word — and a great Frame should really make sense at the 10th grade level, or lower.

A great Frame will express the Idea, so that it Pushes the Viewer’s “Ah-Hah Button”

It seems to me, the next BIG Framing Battle Front will be over:

Taxing the Rich,

which will quickly Pivot into,

and MORE Taxes will just “Shut down the Engine of the Economy”

And WHAT will be the Dem’s Reply, to that powerful word-image?  

… Crickets … (oh, that’s memorable, lol)…

What is the emotional image, that will make Raising Taxes on the Rich, just common sense? … Any Ideas out there? … Maybe just the right “Cow Bell” Pic will do it? Maybe, but don’t count on it.

Here are a few more examples of the Emotional Frames, from my latest Post, to give you an idea of what a Good Frame sounds like:

What gives them the Right to ‘Play God’ with your Health Care?

What do Insurance Denial Clerks, know about the Practice of Medicine?

In American, apparently Unemployment and Health Care, DON’T Mix!

Tear down this Wall, Mr. Private Insurers!

Not bad, but still a bit too wordy and a bit too complicated. I’d have trouble getting those on a Bumper Sticker, that sells, lol!

Some more Framing Examples and Resources:

Framing from Universiteit Twente

How the Media Frames Political Issues, By Scott London

Applying Old Media Theories to a New Media

and they rode that Horse all the way to the White House

Ever wonder how “Swift Boaters” managed to move the Media?

SO as Jean-Luc Picard would say,

“Make it So!”

Now, THAT’s a simple Frame!


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on July 20, 2009 at 03:21

    is it ok to switch ponies,

    in the middle of a stream?

  1. Dems want Progress, Republicans want to conserve power

  2. whitewater streams, at least mine won’t.

    Plus the flipping out of horse right next to cliff leading into more whitewater is not a good thing.  Anyway, Richard Hoagland has a theory on all that space stuff I find kind of enlightening.

    And it does really suck that I never built the power generating device for camping in the woods.  I will recycle when I get another son-in-law who tells me all of it does not go into the same incinerator the rest of the trash does.

    I will continue natural cures and forgoing any medication in pill form until big pharma looses their God given right to advertize to sheeple telling them to ask their doctor for……


    See a kind of pattern?

    Second week of October.  Mandatory Unicorn flu shots.  Your corpo-fascist tax dollars at work.

    • jamess on July 20, 2009 at 04:32

    Professor George Lakoff

    I owe a lot to George Lakoff.

    I was going to include a link to the Rockridge Institute where he writes, but it seems to be off-line


    George Lakoff on Freedom

    Here is my tribute to Professor Lakoff:

    Whose Freedom is it anyways?

  3. I was just listening to CNBC and, again, heard one of the guests use the term “legacy costs” to describe/condemn/damn/sneer-at benefits to retired workers.

    Then it came to me:  WEASEL WORDS!  Sneaky and deceptive.  Republican framing uses weasel words, and that’s what our talking heads need to start calling ALL of their deceptive euphemisms, whether about taxes or anything else.  Everyone understands ‘weasel words’.  It’s a gut-level term that will get our point across exactly.

  4. is now reduced to hawking travel shit.

    Check out this guy on those final frontiers.

  5. the original opening lead to Star Trek, nor even the second one.  This is the last one (Bones was not credited during the first season, and there were strings instead of voices sounding the melody).  The opening leadin for the original pilot (The Cage) was spoken by, well no one.  There was not any voice, just the theme music and credits to Jeffery Hunter (Captain Pike) and Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock).  Roddenberry never wasted anything, and took that piece and converted it into The Menagerie, one the best TOS pieces.

    William Shatner voiced the two opening leadins for the series, but they seem to be identical except for the credits (addind DeForest, and the red planet that was not present in the first season’s opening credits).

    I certainly do not intend to be ugly or mean, but those are the facts.

    Warmest regards,


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