In November of last year, a panel of scholars met at the New York Public Library to mark the 60th anniversary of George Orwell's landmark essay, "Politics and the English Language," and to discuss the current state of propaganda in American politics. A video from that panel is now available on the internet. How are political messages framed? How are they decoded by their audience? These and similar questions are explored by panelists including George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive linguistics and a guru of Democratic political messaging; Republican pollster and messaging consultant Frank Luntz; and Drew Weston, a professor of psychology and author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. Among other things, the discussion demonstrates that political pundits are no better at predicting the future than anyone else. (Luntz, for example, repeatedly predicts that Hillary Clinton will become the next president.) But if you want to understand how rhetorical framing works and how political strategists strategize, this 85-minute video provides some interesting examples.
By Sheldon Rampton on October 08, 2008