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Our very own JillWKlausen will be one of the featured panelists on Cenk Uygur's online show "The Point," being  recorded later this afternoon. (UPDATE: air date is TBD).

*UPDATE: Check Jill's website Winning Words Project for the info about the taping, as well as a rich resource of framing articles by her and the WWP team.**

The challenge is to make the case for progressives' use of "framing" (or reframing), the communication strategy employed effectively by conservatives to undermine thoughtful, intelligent discussion of important issues (i.e., Death Panels, Swiftboating, Deficit Hysteria, etc.)

From a progressive perspective, the questions revolve around whether focusing on "framing" takes attention away from substance. If Democrats concentrate too much on saying things the "right way," will that take away from efforts to find genuine solutions to the problems facing the nation?

Jill asked us to prep her for tomorrow's show with some good talking points about framing. Join us below the squiggle to hit the bullet points on why framing works, and why it matters.

A lot of concern is based on the idea that "framing" is some coded way of talking about issues, and that it is antithetical to talking substance and policy.

It's not.

• Democrats need to focus on saying things the "right way" so that the substance of our policies can shine through. Instead what we have gotten from our party leaders is nonsense, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "You'll have to wait until the bill is passed before you know what's in it." Her comment was harshly lampooned by the right (out-of-context, of course). But the fundamental error is spending too much time talking about issues within irrelevant political frameworks. Whatever the question was about what's in the bill, the right answer is that the Patient Protection Act protects patients from insurance abuse, with specifics. That's proper framing WITH substance.

• Framing is defining the location of the conversation. Republicans do this well. If anything, Republicans are guilty of using framing over substance, because the frames they use to control the conversations do not typically have any factual basis. (swiftboating, tax & spend, food stamp president, etc. etc. etc.)

• Reframing is finding an EFFECTIVE way to CHANGE the location of the conversation. Moving it onto OUR ground. We push for that because on OUR ground we have facts, truth, reality to support our messages.

• We've always responded to Republican framing and lies by WANTING to move the conversation over to the side of reason, logic, facts, statistics.

• What many Democrats have failed to understand is that the persuadable audience hears morality and values from their side, compared to dry policy facts and politic arguments from our side -- and we're too boring to pay attention to.

So what we're doing is creating new frames for these conversations about leadership and governance that are defined by OUR moral values. Specifically progressive, patriotic, pro-American values that we all share:
Responsibility. Fairness. Character. Shared sacrifice. Love of Country. Honoring the sacredness of American shared identity and purpose.  
• These cut both ways: in our framing they produce pride and affinity with progressive ideas, and produce negative judgment and and disapproval of conservative behavior.

• So WHEN we reframe...
          WE take control of the conversation by defining the important moral values...
              THEN we can start talking substantively about how progressive policies benefit ALL Americans (or at least 99.9% of them)...

And that is where realistic solutions to our country's problems will be found.

• If we DON'T do this, we get stuck in wonkish policy arguments within conservative moral framing, and NOTHING we say about progressive solutions to our country's problems gets any traction. The conversation keeps moving to the right until, for example, we're left trying to stand up for private sector Insurance exchanges instead of REAL healthcare reform.

• So the only way to have an effective forum for progressive ideas about solving problems is in this way:

- UNDERSTAND how their frames control the conversation and move it rightward, making it no-win for us.

- GO ON OFFENSE -- use our moral values to move the conversation back, take control, create a framework that WORKS for us, and therefore for America.

(corrollary -- Stop Playing Defense!)

What do Democrats get wrong?

• Elections aren't won with statistics and policies...
     Voters respond to morality, values, emotions

• Too many Democrats fall into the trap of defending government, taxes and spending...
     This is playing the Republicans' game. Morals always defeat facts.

• Too many Democrats fear Republican moral framing...
     So they fail to stand up for progressive ideas, and the conversation shifts to the right.

• It's good for us to have solid facts and data on our side, especially in the face of their lies...
   But persuadable voters need a moral values based reason to even listen, tune in.

• Experts like Jon Haidt and George Lakoff argue that it's not in our DNA to campaign like Republicans...
     But they also make it clear that we can retake the center, reframe and take control of the conversations by focusing on progressive moral values that all Americans share.

• I'd like to see Democrats understand the importance of values-based messaging to tell our story to the American public. It matters to the future of the country that we explain why our policies are better than our opposition in a way that is convincing to people. That's just common sense.

Why the Democrats failed on healthcare reform:

Our side's virtuous but wonkish messages failed for lack of good framing. For instance, polling shows that voters like consumer protections. They like knowing there's an agency out there making sure that dangerously defective products aren't finding their way into the marketplace with any regularity. So when Democrats introduced their health care reform law, they called it The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but promptly dropped the value-based part of its name in favor of the economic aspect of its name. And while they kept touting how much money people were going to save ... some day, Republicans were screaming about Death Panels. If Democrats had said what the law actually does -- protect patients from unscrupulous practices by insurance company that prevent them from getting the care they need -- we could have maintained the public support for those reforms that existed before the Republican messaging war had a chance to take hold. So of course substance matters, but how you frame the substance matters because if you do it wrong, you will get the wrong substance out of your legislation.

What's wrong with rebutting Republican framing directly--just showing why it's wrong?

The big mistake is to launch into an issues discussion by repeating the other side's frame. Bad idea. It isn't just Lakoff -- every person who talks about framing from either side of the political debate will tell you that repeating the other side's frame, even if you're repeating it to call it a lie, has the effect of reinforcing it in the listener's mind. And that's because you are the only one saying your own side -- the "debunking" -- but both parties are saying the other side, so the other side is said with more frequency, and with more frequency it becomes more sticky.

An example is the fact that because it has been repeated over and over and over and over, even Democrats mistakenly refer to businesses as job creators when the reality is that while businesses may do the hiring, they only do so when there's increased demand for whatever it is they're selling. So they aren't driving the need to create more jobs, consumers are. And who are the primary consumers? The middle and working class in America. The super wealthy may have more money to spend individually, but even if you added them all up together, collectively they don't put a dent in the nation's automobile market, for example. So the true job creators are middle class consumers. Yet I'm finding candidate after candidate, including President Obama, using that term for businesses. The Republican messaging machine has so embedded that frame that we're having a hard time even getting our own party to give it up! And it's demonstrably wrong. Just ask venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who wrote a piece for Bloomberg and did a TED talk on it. He states outright that while he's hired a lot of people, he has never "created" a single job in his entire career.

Help Jill help us!

Post more questions, ideas and examples of good framing in comments below.

(For reference, a few recent dKos diaries posted by Jill Klausen on framing / reframing:)

Tweet Better Using Frames with Winning Words

Walmart is the Largest Food Stamp Recipient in the Country

Obama's pitch to American Business

A Conversation with My Conservative Father.

Romney's Opposition to Taxes for Healthcare is Unpatriotic

Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 8:03 AM PT: Visit the website for our framing project: www.winningwordsproject.com for the latest on Jill's event, as well as more useful articles and resources about framing.

Originally posted to Rob Lyon on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Political Language and Messaging and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks! I will set the DVR! (16+ / 0-)

    I certainly don't want to miss this one.

    In my view, the Democrats all need a lesson in Remedial Framing.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:53:47 PM PDT

    •  Some get it, many don't (16+ / 0-)

      Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren: Yes

      The rest of you know who you are....

      Our cause: a More Perfect Union

      by Roby NJ on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:06:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Major problem: (0+ / 0-)

      Were Democrats to honestly make moral arguments, those would be explicitly socialist arguments.

      Pretty much no Democratic officeholder would ever do that. And so we're left with laundry lists, vague platitudes, reactive rather than active argumentation...

      What's tha flip side of former (and future) Rep. Alan Grayson's, "The Republican health care plan is: don't get sick. And if you do get sick: die quickly?" It's a socialist argument that society has the collective responsibility to provide for some amount of everyone's needs.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:59:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is actually completely wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Progressives believe there are some things that society wants that are best delivered with the profit motive as a key point (innovations of all kinds - including health care and medicine - are an example of this) and certain things where the profit motive is actually counterproductive - such as public education for all, a healthy population (we're much more productive - in the economic sense - when we're healthy), and police and fire protection.

        The big problem with the profit motive, as I've written before, is that there are winners and losers. This is OK for businesses - it's good for the economy for businesses to fail when they are not providing good products or good service. It's not OK for other areas - we don't want kids failing out of school because they can't afford it, for example, or other productive people not contributing to the society because they got sick and couldn't get cured and died or became disabled due to not being able to afford to go to the hospital.

        So saying that progressive values, if articulated, are "socialism" is completely wrong - some are more socialistic, when appropriate, and some are highly capitalistic, such as helping nurture the growth of an important new global business - alternative energy.

  •  Job Creators go to Switzerland, Cayman, Bermuda (15+ / 0-)

    to hatch out their joblets.  The fairy tale of creation.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:00:11 PM PDT

    •  Watch what they DO, not what they SAY... D/R. (8+ / 0-)

      Does not matter... it is what they do in Congress that effects our lives...

      Most politicians of any stripe appear to be "purchased" before they take their "oath".
      Words should mean more than HOT AIR to get elected, eh?

      The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote,
       but Million dollar donors should remain anonymous?
      •  You can't DO anything unless you get elected (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, gzodik

        Accountability is a different issue. And there is a correlation between authentic communication and walking the talk. If you don't trust the person, maybe there's a reason.

        Our cause: a More Perfect Union

        by Roby NJ on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:15:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You MUST pay attention to what they say. (19+ / 0-)

        Conservatives have been running a "Frame Shop" for years, now.  The oldest I can remember is when they turned "anti-abortion" into "Pro-Life".  Everyone bought into it and now even liberals use their terminology.  For the right, it's a profession supporting many.

        The list goes on:  Estate taxes, which only affect the very wealthy heirs, became "Death Tax".  Why have we accepted terms like "War on Terror"?  Who the hell thought up "Job Creators" and why was this accepted when just a little examination means they are talking about "Profit Makers" who will just as quickly fire people if they think it means increased profits?

        The other thing about what they say:  they project.  When they engage in voter fraud, they point a finger at us, accusing us of voter fraud.  Anytime they accuse the left of doing something nefarious, you can be well-assured that they are the ones doing it.

        So it isn't just about framing - it's about rapidly responding to counter the delusional language they engage in.  "War on Terror" should have been laughed off the globe.  Instead, we adopted it.  

        Rapid response.  We need a think tank that can counter and the ability to deploy the counter measures to the public.  It's very important.

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:27:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great thoughts - that show there are multiple... (7+ / 0-)

          dimensions on which we need to fight this war - framing is critically important (use of language in general), but also having much better responses to their use of words (rather than simply rolling over and using their bad frames), and there's obviously organization and tactics in the campaigns as well. The RW think tanks and message machine isn't just about words, it's also about organizing, making sure everyone knows the talking points, let alone uses them, all the way to making sure their websites are professional and populated (lots of Dems end up having to roll their own - that's just wrong!.

          •  So where are the Dems think tanks and messaging? (3+ / 0-)

            "crickets" as they don't want to upset the corporate campaign pig trough.... they had plenty of opportunities but hand wringing is all I see from my "little person" position.

            •  Why couldn't Lakoff's Rockridge Institute (0+ / 0-)

              stay in business?

              I have a theory that his advice would mean too much truth-telling and/or too much of a challenge to the prevailing philosophy of corporate dominance for Dem officeholders to take interest, especially well-heeled ones.

              Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

              by Simplify on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 01:02:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Then, the information needs to get out to the (0+ / 0-)

            Democratic politicians.  Really, they are are all on their own to say what they will gaffe or no.  Democrats have to have the same discipline as the crazy Right.
            The Republican have NATIONAL policies and strategies and framing for their politicians going all the way down to the local level. They get things done.  Example?  Voter IDs.

  •  I would emphasize (13+ / 0-)

    the supremacy of labor over profit.
    There is no profit without labor.

    There is nothing lazy about the unemployed. Unemployed means there isn't a job to work at.

    The idea of freedom except for women and gays.

    The hideous irony of so many homeless while houses go unoccupied, inviting vandals and thieves.

    The idea of smaller government, when WE ARE the government.

    The lie that is voter fraud.

    Just a few ideas.

  •  GOP Dead in a Ditch Health Care. (10+ / 0-)

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:31:57 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this; her diaries are (13+ / 0-)

    some of the top ones here. Every one of her diaries, and this one too, should be on the rec list and stay there. In fact, we need a constant link on the front page to them.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

    by cv lurking gf on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:48:22 PM PDT

  •  Point of clarification -- we're taping tomorrow (8+ / 0-)

    No idea when it will be online.

    When I know, I'll update and post a link.

    Thank you all for your kind words. I'm seriously humbled and grateful for your support.

    Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

    by jillwklausen on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:12:13 PM PDT

  •  Bank account royalty. (8+ / 0-)

    Receivers of untaxed inheritances.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:22:32 PM PDT

  •  Job Creators (7+ / 0-)

    You just have to destroy that frame.

    Joe Biden did it a couple weeks ago.  I've been waiting for them to do it since 2008!  But nobody followed him.

    "Oh sure, they're job creators - in China!"

    End of frame.  Just blow the fucking thing up.  Why isn't that our standard way of dismissing "job creators".

    sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

    by stivo on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:42:31 PM PDT

    •  That isn't the right reframe, though. They aren't (9+ / 0-)

      job creators anywhere.

      The ONLY thing that can create the need for a job is demand for the product or service that job would provide.

      Businesses as job creators is another branch on the supply side economics tree, and supply side economics is crap. Absolute utter garbage. The only thing supply side economics has created in 40 years is $1.9 trillion sitting around in corporate bank accounts instead of in the pockets of hard-working Americans.

      Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

      by jillwklausen on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:57:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This whole job-creator thing - what bogus, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roby NJ, a2nite

        Republican, BS.  If all of those job creators are just dying to create jobs, then why don't they do it now?  What's stopping them?  Nothing!  Because it's not about tax policy on the wealthiest one percent.  Has nothing to do with it.  It has to do with lack of demand from consumers (70% of the American economy) because consumers are tapped out - lost the house, in debt for their college education, credit cards maxed and the boss man ain't givin' out any raises!  You have to fight Repub BS with facts and figures because they lie like rugs!  Some truth has to be out there at least keeping the public confused (as Repubs do on global climate change, e.g. - keep 'em confused so they don't clamor for action!)

      •  And you think THAT (0+ / 0-)

        is a more convincing argument than Biden's line?  

        I'm not sure why.

        What Biden's saying and you're not is that they're certainly not creating jobs here, therefore, the whole point is bullshit.

        What you're saying is that there's no such thing as a job creator, with a sort of lengthy theoretical attack on supply side economics that, while valid, doesn't tap into base anger.  Biden's point is pithier, easier to understand and better than yours.

        He's not saying "we're better job creators than they are" or anything like that.

        So, I really don't get your point at all.  If that's what "framing" is, I don't see how framing helps us advance our cause.  Some of your other examples above were much better than this.

        sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

        by stivo on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:52:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  To put it more pithily than my first reply (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks

        You're doing the exact thing you're saying above we shouldn't do.

        The big mistake is to launch into an issues discussion by repeating the other side's frame.
        Your reframing launches an issues discussion on why "Job Creators" is bullshit, once again, in the intellectual-teacher mode.

        Biden's line is from the gut.  It resonates.  Yours doesn't.

        It's possible to overthink this stuff, you know.

        sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

        by stivo on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:58:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've read a comment, (6+ / 0-)

      calling them 'job cremators'  

      lavish living job cremators.  

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:00:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, the right sentiment... (8+ / 0-)

      but the wrong language.

      "Job creator" is a fiction -- it is not a real thing.

      To even criticize it and dismiss it a la Biden feels good, but it allows the fiction to stand unchallenged as a valid meme.

      It's kind of like saying "Republicans haven't given us pony unicorns, they're hiding them in the Cayman islands."

      It doesn't make any sense because there is no such thing as pony unicorns.

      Same with job creators.

      Again, it's an example of language that evokes a controlling frame; and we get no traction arguing about it.

      Our cause: a More Perfect Union

      by Roby NJ on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:41:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The People are the real Job Creators. (0+ / 0-)

      You know, that whole supply and demand capitalism thing?

      No demand from the Job Creators means no jobs.

  •  Profitize (8+ / 0-)

    My personal favorite, a replacement for privatize that is just as easy to say and captures everything wrong with the practice.

  •  Swiss Bank Account=Lack of Fairness (5+ / 0-)

    I've been practicing.

    The other thing we need is our Dems actually standing up for progressive values, instead of being republican lite.
    In AZ, the Dems ran scared over SB1070. The AZ Dem Party, actually told candidates to try to ignore it, or if pressed, to support it, because it was polling well with (cretin) Arizonans.

    Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

    by Desert Rose on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:26:19 AM PDT

  •  2 Problems. Idiots Who Question Framing, Sell Outs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helfenburg, PSzymeczek, qofdisks

    who can frame things but who are pushing SHIT sell out policy.

    In the last 20 years, there have been some Democrats who can do framing, sadly they've been DLC Third Way New Dem yuppie sell outs rushing to meet the right wing at the latest right wing defined 'center', 'middle' and 'bipartisanshit'.

    about the people who want to debate whether soundbites work, or whether soundbites are below us cuz we're noblerer gooderer betterer - fuck 'em. There are plenty of Kennedy School Of Government, College of Noble Erudite Excuse Making Losers out there for them to hand wring with.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:39:34 AM PDT

  •  "Dangerously defective products?" Come on (6+ / 0-)

    Products that maim, disable and kill millions of Americans every year!  Lots of our messaging problem is vocabulary, simple word choice.  Because Dems use the vocabulary of "legalese" - John Kerry was a master of this dark art, instead of stating things plainly with forceful words from the ol' Merriam-Webster that average, ordinary, not all that smart people can understand.  

    Oh, there are so many things and it is so painful to listen to how badly we argue and WE ARE RIGHT and THEY ARE WRONG!

    •  Lakhoff's latest book mentions this. (7+ / 0-)

      He says keep it simple.  Don't say furniture because everyone visualizes that differently...say chair or table or...  Don't say animal...use cat or dog...don't use a word if you can't see, feel, touch, smell, or otherwise relate to the word's meaning in a direct way.

      The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

      by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:43:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like broccoli. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, TheOpinionGuy

        It worked for them....almost.

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:42:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Keep it real. Keep it simple (4+ / 0-)

        This is a no-brainer. Remember when we were kids and our understanding of right and wrong was simple? Is still is but we have complicated it with too much rhetoric.

        I used to tell my kids in church school that you already know what is right and wrong. You feel it in your gut. You many not be able to express it well but you just know it.

        We might have expressed our principles with words like:
        "promote the inherit worth and dignity of all people" but treating people with kindness and respect are what its all about. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

        My grandmother was really good at this. She would simply say,"It ain't decent". It said it all. Its very disarming to people who are trying to argue with you about the virtues of giving millionaires a break when people are going hungry and homeless in this country. It simply isn't the decent thing to do.

        Even if people argue with you otherwise, you have put a chink in their armor. You don't need to continue the argument. You have touched bottom in the very core of their moral development. They know better. This even works on Ann Coulter devotees. Just don't argue. Express moral disgust. Leave it be. Walk away.

      •  In other words, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks, Simplify

        stay away from abstractions.

        The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth. - William O. Douglas

        by PSzymeczek on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:40:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  what's the best way (4+ / 0-)

    to re-frame Taxes to make them tolerable?


    Taxes are the price of civilization.

    Taxes are how we express our economic patriotism.

    Taxes provide for the common good.


    and the corollary:


    Government Workers are still workers.

    Government Workers pay Taxes too.

    Government Workers do the stuff that Corporations won't do,

    or shouldn't do.


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:50:07 AM PDT

  •  I'll echo another one upstream (7+ / 0-)

    We need to emphasize that government is us, WE are the government so to cut and slash it is to cut and slash at ourselves.

    I've struggled with the 'we are broke meme', something needs to come up that can reframe that because we are not broke.

    We also do not 'borrow' from China, I am sick and tired of that one. We float investments in the future using bonds, that foreign entities purchase those only shows how strongly the world views our future. They are investing in a piece of America and want a portion of the future.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:58:08 AM PDT

    •  This is critical! We don't "print money" - we... (3+ / 0-)

      ... invest in our future. Or maybe more accurately, we enable others to invest in our future, whether they are domestic banks, individuals through money market funds, or foreign companies and states. And the rest of the world is still loving us as an investment - we have super-low returns, but they are so safe people want to harbor their money here.

  •  There is one simple and critical concept ... (12+ / 0-)

    ... that we must understand.  And that is that framing is NOT persuasion.  By nature, liberals tend to marshal facts and arguments in an attempt to persuade others that our positions are right.  It is our natural reflex, and we must resist it.  If we are to understand only one thing, it is this:

    Framing is the art of choosing language so that others understand that they already agree with you.
    No facts, no arguments, no persuasion.  Just language that evokes moral constructs already present in the minds of the audience.  When republicans converted estate taxes into the "death tax", they didn't need to persuade anyone of anything.  People already didn't like death or taxes, so they had a perfect frame for winning the argument without ever firing a shot.

    So here is my short-form process:
    1.  Pick your audience.  Liberals?  Moveable conservatives?  General population?
    2.  Pick a moral principle that resonates with your audience.  This article has a good list of progressive morals values to choose from: pocketprogressive.org/tiki-index.php?page=Framing+Basics
    3.  Select language that evokes the moral principle in the mind of the audience.  This is, of course, the hard part!

    Welcome to the Peasantry

    by SBucher on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:14:39 AM PDT

    •  Excellent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder, JayRaye

      Well said.

      Our cause: a More Perfect Union

      by Roby NJ on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:45:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Big government takes over decisions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PSzymeczek, JayRaye

      for women on when they can reproduce and with whom.

      1. Audience: conservatives
      2. Moral principle: self-determinism

      Is this what you have in mind?  It should be a shorter, I think.
       

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:48:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, precisely. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, nilsdavis

        You picked an audience of conservatives, and picked a moral principle that will resonate with them.  Articulation is the hard part, and I would agree that if we could shorten it up it would play better.  Try this: "We don't want big government interfering in our family's decisions".

        BTW, I love using republican frames against them.  It makes their heads explode.  More importantly, people like this, who are so sure of their positions so as to reject any input of fact into their thinking, sometimes become ever so slightly more open minded when in a state of confusion.  Using their frame against them can have this effect.

        Welcome to the Peasantry

        by SBucher on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:21:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I did this with Obamacare.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cordyc

        ObamaCare for Freedom Lovers

        • ObamaCare mends a hole in contract law by stopping insurance companies from taking your money for years then using some typo or the fact that you had acne in high school to kick you off their rolls when you get sick.

        • 96% of small businesses have fewer than 50 employees. Small businesses that have fewer than 10 employees, average wages beneath $25,000, and that provide insurance for their workers will get a 50% tax credit on their contribution.

        • Freeloaders who purposely avoided buying insurance then showed up at the emergency room expecting treatment at everyone else's expense must finally take responsibility for themselves.

        • The nation's shortage of doctors and nurses starts getting addressed, as programs such as scholarships and loan forgiveness help bring health professionals to small town America.

        • Kids who got dealt a bad hand on the health front, such as those with leukemia, can no longer be excluded from insurance policies.

        • Young people in college and just starting out can stay on their parents' insurance policies until they are 26 years old.

        • The elderly no longer need to cut pills until next month's check arrives. ObamaCare closes the Donut Hole!

        • Insurance companies must pay rebates to customers if they don't spend minimum levels on healthcare, rather than on CEO bonuses. Will you get a check?

        • ObamaCare lets you take control of your life and begin making healthy choices before they cost you big time. Americans with insurance must get access to preventative services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies.  Remember: It's cheaper to prevent than to treat!

        http://i711.photobucket.com/...

    •  Great way to explain framing! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder, JayRaye

      Thanks for this!

    •  Important distinction, but (0+ / 0-)

      we need persuasion too.

      Remember how the polls moved in favor of same-sex marriage after Obama said he supported it? Who'da thunk it?!

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 01:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Like "Outsourcing vs Insourcing" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FreeWoman19, PSzymeczek, JayRaye

    Wouldn't 'Outsourcing vs American Jobs' be a better message? We're going for cute, while they're going for the jugular.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:25:28 AM PDT

  •  At last! (5+ / 0-)

    I'm so excited that this is being addressed.  I've been beating my husband's ear about this since reading Lakeoff's, Don't think of an Elephant which obviously makes you think of one.  The Repubs have understood the power of words for a couple of decades, while we Dems have been walking around saying, "Why don't people get it, that we're looking out for their best interest"?.  

    A couple of suggestions in terms of word replacement:   Shift the definition of "Job Creators" to mean the millions of middle class people and their purchasing power.  Reframe the definition of wealthy business folks to "Risk Takers" and "Innovators" and ask why these people are squirreling away their money until they feel more comfy and secure with what is going to happen to the tax code.  With regard to ACA.  Who do you want making your health decisions, you and your doctor, or the INSURANCE COMPANIES  which make profits when money is not spent on care, as opposed to the Repub frame of "big government" and "death panels" making the decisions.  Don't say we, as Dems, don't want BIG GOVERNMENT either, to agree with the Repubs.  Say we want GOOD GOVERNMENT which upholds life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the forefathers intended. I have  a Canadian cousin who once asked me why we were so hung up on the size of government since we were such a big country.  She said, "If you have good government, it will be the right size.  And never, never, buy into a Repub framed word like pro-abortion rather than pro-choice. The term "Job-killer" is now associated with the ACA rather than "Job-generator".  "Government workers" (think lazy and inefficient) replaced the term "public servants" and has a negative connotation.  (Note:  I was a federal govt worker for most of my life and was proud to work for an efficient and innovative agency.)

    Words matter more than we imagine, because they generate feelings and pictures in the mind.  We understand the principle, policy and facts because we're political junkies and we assume others do as well.  But most people are concerned with their day-to-day and look for simple soundbites to understand complex policy. The Repubs give them what they are looking for and the Dems counter (not) by simply adopting the negative terminology to reinforce the soundbite without realizing the damaging consequences.  

    When new software is introduced into company, most employees think "big change for the sake of change", "time-killer", "one MORE thing I have to learn that slows me down".   Framing the reason for purchasing the software, explaining why it is a necessity in today's world and providing a vision of the future is crucial in gaining employee acceptance.  This helps employees with get over the hump of implementation because they see better days ("shining city on a hill").  Its important to implant this vision before the naysayers are allowed to use the narrow inconveniences  of a new process to create a negative view and feeling about the whole damn thing in the minds of the users.  

    I'm so delighted that this issue of framing and communications has come up because if we use these tools well to shape perceptions, we will do a better job of presenting our side of the story  Kudos and a Big Yahoo to Jill for taking this on.  I apologize for the length and wordiness of this post if you've made it this far.  I also wave my hands around a lot when I get this excited.

  •  Add "competitiveness" to our moral values (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Citizenpower, kat herder, PSzymeczek

    In my opinion, the Democrats have really missed the boat by failing to explain to people that we can't compete against countries whose governments invest in health care, green energy, and subsidize business, while the Republicans continue to argue that the government should socialize risk, while profits remain privatized.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:35:04 AM PDT

  •  This article needs to be reframed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roby NJ, Radiowalla, Neosho

    I find it interesting that this article about how liberals need to reframe their arguments to take back the conversational center is wonkishly full of fact and theory, but entirely devoid of how to put this theory into practical action.

    I want to know how to use this reframing ideas in my conversations.  So say I am having a conversation with my conservative neighbor.  How do I use reframing to respond to these familiar conservative gambits:

    1)  "There is no such thing as global warming.  Liberal scientists and universities are simply trying to scare us to suck more money out of the tax-payers."

    2) "Obama is flushing democracy down the toilet.  He is owned by the insurance and financial industries."

    3) "The 2nd amendment gives me the right to own any gun I choose in whatever number I want.  I need to protect myself because the police only care about black people."

    4) "Obama is using the government to spy on us.  He is against our freedoms and liberties."

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:47:03 AM PDT

    •  Wonkishness is not bad, in and of itself, (5+ / 0-)

      it just needs to be brought up in the right place and time.  Throwing wonkish terms into the frame doesn't get through to the "emotional center" of the audience at the very beginning of the discussion.  If you don't have their hearts at the beginning, you will never get to their minds.  Framing allows us to produce the pathway into our audience's hearts to allow the wonkish details to get straight to the minds later.

      Think of it this way... which grabs your attention better:

      The Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Act

      Social Security

      They are the same thing, but we aren't bogged down in the wonkish OASDI acronym.

      -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

      by wordene on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:09:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so easy, is it? (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, the theory of re-framing is great, and makes perfect sense.

        But I noticed you skipped over the part where I asked about the practical application of the theory.  And that's the hard part: using these ideas in actual conversations.

        So when my neighbor says something like "Obama is a muslim", or "the police only care about the protecting black people", how should I respond?

        "OK, I see you are centering the discussion on racial antipathy, so now I am going to appeal to your heart by saying no, you are wrong."  Even I am not convinced with such a response.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:57:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only had a few minutes to respond, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kat herder, elizabethawilke

          so I missed the part you are bringing up in your reply.  Framing is the willful act of getting messaging out to the masses, not necessarily a one-off for disinformation correction.  Framing is not the panacea for curing all of the ills brought on by the Cult Called Conservatism and their adherents.  Disproving the illogical points you specifically mention above is a bit like answering the question, "Have you stopped beating your spouse, yet?"

          Answering it one way or another buys into the false either/or fallacy and puts the answerer in a bad way when they directly answer with a yes (inferring that the beating had been happening in the past) or no (inferring that the beatings are still continuing).

          Framing is meant more for concept messaging, like the Social Security example above.  Democrats messed up on the opportunity to correctly frame the ACA, at its inception, by focusing on the details and not presenting the "warm fuzzies" first.

          -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

          by wordene on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:56:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is an announcement, not a framing primer ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder, elizabethawilke

      that's what The Winning Words Project is for. Go check it out. :)

      http://www.winningwordsproject.com/

      Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

      by jillwklausen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:59:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But I'll take these points for you nonetheless ... (4+ / 0-)

      First, you have to recognize that you will never get everyone to agree with you. Never. So there is no "right" answer that will get certain people to go, "Oh yeah, DUH! Thanks for clearing that up." The far right conservative is so married to their opinion that no matter what frame you give them, they will twist it to fit into their own world view. For instance ...

      1)  "There is no such thing as global warming.  Liberal scientists and universities are simply trying to scare us to suck more money out of the tax-payers."

      This kind of thinking can't be undone with framing. It just can't. This person doesn't want to understand what's happening to the world around them, they just want to defend their already-firmly-established position.

      However, the wrong answer is to come back with facts and figures, which will only be dismissed. The right answer is to have a set moral frame that you just keep repeating over and over and over no matter what they fling at you about the topic.

      "Renewable energy technology provides jobs and new sources of revenue that benefit all Americans. Innovations in this field are bringing prosperity to our nation, allowing us to compete on a global scale. Manufacturing our own 'home-grown', Made-in-America energy sources protects our country, providing us safety and security against foreign countries who control the old-fashioned technology of yesterday."
      2) "Obama is flushing democracy down the toilet.  He is owned by the insurance and financial industries."
      "Our democracy was built with the wisdom of our Founding Fathers who established this country for the common good, not that of corporations or the wealthy few. It was outrage over corporate control and influence over government that inspired the Boston Tea Party revolt. We need to stay as outraged as our forefathers were about the dangerous influence of monied interests that the right-leaning Supreme Court opened the floodgates for with Citizens United. Defending democracy means standing up for all citizens' voices to be heard, not drowning them out by billionaires who are buying favor with Mitt Romney, and not by finding ways to silence your opponents at the ballot box with unnecessary voter I.D. laws."
      3) "The 2nd amendment gives me the right to own any gun I choose in whatever number I want.  I need to protect myself because the police only care about black people.
      "Your 2nd Amendment rights are as solid as they've ever been, and will remain that way. Everyone benefits from reasonable gun responsibility laws that protect us from going back to the days when outlaws ruled the towns and gun battles in the streets were the way disputes were resolved."
      4) "Obama is using the government to spy on us.  He is against our freedoms and liberties."
      "Freedom and liberty are among the guiding principles of the Democratic party; principles established by our Founding Fathers that made the general welfare of the nation and its people the number one priority of government. We stand behind those principles and continue to fight for your freedoms every single day."

      Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

      by jillwklausen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:28:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very helpful (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jillwklausen, kat herder

        Very helpful.  Thanks for taking the time to respond.

        And your sig line is a great way to talk about tax policy!

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:04:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My pleasure! That's what we're here for. In fact (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kat herder

          your questions inspired our latest framing primer. Check it out!

          http://www.winningwordsproject.com/...

          Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

          by jillwklausen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:35:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Global warming" is a good example (0+ / 0-)

            Of poorly thought-out framing, which makes it far too easy for people to claim there's proof it doesn't exist every winter when we have an unusual cold snap. "Climate change" is a step in the right direction, but I wish we would start using "extreme climate change" instead, or some other phrase that captures the very real peril we're facing.

            •  It doesn't matter what we call it so long as we (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kat herder

              frame the solutions for it as being about protecting the safety and security of our country.

              By doing that we get people behind our solutions regardless of even cost! It's a safety issue!

              There are more threats to our national security than nuclear bombs and terrorists. China outpacing us on renewable energy technology will crush us economically and in a couple of generations we'll all be reading Chinese newspapers ... the ones they deem we're allowed to read!

              Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

              by jillwklausen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:54:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Global warming" is an example (0+ / 0-)

                Of what you're talking about with regard to framing--it does matter what we call it! Until people understand at a gut level that extreme climate change is dangerous, they're not going to accept the need for policy changes to counter it.

            •  "Global Weirding" goes over well (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kat herder, Simplify

              Everyone chuckles at it, but they know deep down it's true.

              I say, "What happens if you're wrong? What happens if I'm wrong?"

              If I am wrong, we will have finally got the U.S. off foreign oil and cut off the money to Middle Eastern countries that hate us. We also will have created millions of new jobs in technology that is going to keep improving.

              If you're wrong, we cannot grow any more corn, soybeans or cotton in the U.S. anymore. Anyone living within 25 miles of a coast will not be able to get insurance on their homes. What happened to their property rights? Do we have a right to destroy their property by being irresponsible?

              And so on....

              •  Plus, even if someone thinks it isn't proven, (0+ / 0-)

                what odds would that person take?

                What if it's a one-in-five chance that climate change is real and human-caused? That's playing Russian roulette with the entire planet. Would you take that chance?

                Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                by Simplify on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 01:18:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  To the question (5+ / 0-)
    From a progressive perspective, the questions revolve around whether focusing on "framing" takes attention away from substance. If Democrats concentrate too much on saying things the "right way," will that take away from efforts to find genuine solutions to the problems facing the nation?
    I would say this; "framing" and "substance" are not mutually exclusive.  Rather, effective framing enables substance.  The more effective the framing, the more political space you create to get to the substance.

    We've all known that progressive solutions are both better and more popular when discussed on an individual basis.  The reason that hasn't translated into progressive solutions for the country is precisely because the right is kicking our asses in the framing war.

    Accepting right wing frames without reframing them is to not only lose the debate before you even start, it is to strengthen the right wing authoritarian frame to the detriment of frames from the left.  Otherwise well-meaning but unknowing Democrats all too often fall into that trap.  The problem is that they're not just hurting themselves and their constituents when they do, they're unwittingly hurting the cause of progress itself.

    So while framing does have a positive relationship with substance, left framing vs. right framing is a zero sum game and unless our side learns how to fight it, the right's prescription for what ails the country will continue to prevail.

    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

    by democracy inaction on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:53:00 AM PDT

    •  Have you been reading my flash cards? LOL (4+ / 0-)

      "Framing isn't an either/or proposition. Good framing exposes the substance of our policies!"

      The Patient Protection Act protects patients from abuses by their insurance companies.

      The Patient Protection Act protects you from being tossed off your insurance when you get sick and your insurance company decides you're no longer profitable for them.

      The Patient Protection Act protects you from being denied coverage for a procedure your doctor says you need.

      The Patient Protection Act protects grandma from an early death because she can't afford her prescription medication with the doughnut hole Republicans left for Big Pharma to get richer through.

      Patient Protection, Patient Protection, Patient Protection.

      We really screwed that one up! Affordable Care Act? Srsly? GMAB!

      Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

      by jillwklausen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:40:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It makes my head hurt (4+ / 0-)

        The ACA is messaging malpractice at its worst! Honestly, the cynic in me believes that the party establishment has been afraid to adopt the angle you're rightly suggesting because it necessitates exposing the insurance companies for the evil-doers (there's another one :) that they are, which obviously puts lots of campaign cash on the line. I do think that's one reason why it's up to the progressive grassroots to take the lead on messaging.

        Again, though, that's where Republicans run circles around us--their party leaders are free to use strong, emotionally evocative framing that doesn't involve bashing major industries or constituencies that donate to their campaigns. So everyone gets the messaging script from the top and follows it. What comes down from the top on our side is more often than not a muddled glop of mealy-mouthed talking points and frames.

  •  Liberal! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Simplify

    Here is a word that has been under attack for decades. It is time to gain it back and redefine.

    They (republicans) have hijacked it and made their own delightful definition to fit a meme. Wrong. At the very least we should give them the dictionary definition of liberal and run with it.

    They have used liberal as code for anything bad. I would like to hear some ideas here, and perform some word judo on them and call a halt to this bullshit.

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:35:32 PM PDT

  •  WOW, this is such a great diary! (4+ / 0-)

    Exactly what Democrats need!

    A lot of great comments and great brainstorming going on.
    Daily Kos is really doing its job right here in this diary.

    Wish I had more time right now to read and rec every comment.

    But here is the worst framing that I've ever seen Dems enagage in:

    Duing the 2010 campaign when they kept referring to the Great Recission has "a car in the ditch & do we really want to give them back the keys?"

    Weak, weak, weak.

    A car in the ditch is no big deal! a farmer had me out in a few minutes when I ran my car in a ditch. And, yes, I was sober, and I kept my keys.

    How out-of-touch the Dems must have seemed to people who were going thru economic disaster at the time.

    How about using language that describes what people are actually going thru: they were facing economic disaster, the Republicans blew up the economy, it was an economic emergency.

    "Look how the Republicans handled Katrina, how do think they will handle this crisis."

    "Now we have a little bit of recovery, no thanks to the Republicans, elect Dems and on day one we will pass a jobs bill, on day 2, we will pass an infrastructure act. America must have the worlds best infrastructure to compete in the 21st Century."

    Well, something like that, anyway. Big & Bold. No more nice polite, meek little Dems, acting like teenagers who are begging for the car keys.

    Forget the damn car keys, hot wire yourself a semi-truck and drive it right thru the Republican Lie Machine.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

    by JayRaye on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:53:06 PM PDT

  •  I feel like "framing" and "reframing" are (0+ / 0-)

    something we can learn to do certainly, and it is something to do "till the Messiah comes."

    However, I look forward to the time that learning "how to debate better" will be trumped by our simply outnumbering the bastards.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:21:51 PM PDT

  •  Well, it's all over but the vomiting when I see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helpImdrowning

    myself on playback.

    No clue if I did the concept proud but since it was my first time on camera, ever, I was very, very nervous.

    Thanks for all your support!

    Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

    by jillwklausen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:05:05 PM PDT

  •  The framing issue is such an important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwakeman, George Pirpiris

    one so thanks for this great diary calling attention to it.  I look forward to seeing Jill on Cenk's show.  Hopefully this is just the beginning.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:28:13 PM PDT

  •  Framing is essential (0+ / 0-)

    Its like the Democrats, liberals, and progressives that say political messaging and marketing are different.  But that's wrong, its absolutely the same thing.  You are selling an idea or product.

    And, if framing weren't so important, the GOP wouldn't spend so much time and money on making sure they were constantly nailing their talking points.  

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