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View Diary: A fair and balanced conversation about violent political rhetoric (100 comments)

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  •  Key question: Does advertising work? (7+ / 0-)

    If the anser is yes, then it follows that rhetoric of any kind can affect behavior.

    I think the market has spoken. Advertising is a huge business, with specialists devoted to getting people to act on emotions, or logic, or self interest.

    In fact, a big portion of advertising is dedicated to convincing people what their self interest should be -- as in, buy my product and you will be a better person, or more successful or whatever.

    Among the biggest spenders on advertising are the political machines and political interest groups, and advocacy groups.

    One cannot claim that rhetoric used by either side is innocent of influencing people, without at the same time claiming that advertising never influences people's behavior. And one cannot say that advertising does not influence behavior if we have decades, even centuries, of experience and business investment in making it effective.

    Boil it down to that question, and the answer is obvious. What to do about it? That is not so obvious. But let's eliminate the fiction that speech on the media does not affect behavior.

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