I attended media training offered by the Ohio Democratic Party last night. We are still opposing SB 5 in Ohio (the union-busting bill), and the idea was that they’d train those of us who might possibly be interviewed on our opposition to the bill.
As most of you are by now aware, it unlikely any of us will be interviewed because the protests in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan are not covered by commercial media. However. If some blogger with a cell phone camera wanders by and wants an interview, I’m ready to go.
The trainees were union activists, candidates for local office, and Democratic county chairs. The instructors were a retired state house reporter and a retired television person. They taped our fake interviews, we all watched, and the professionals offered advice.
We all yell a lot here about how Democrats and liberals can’t stay “on message”, but it is harder than it looks. We were told again and again to stick to SB 5, but I immediately forgot the instructions. When I was asked a “trick” question on the budget at the end of the interview, I launched right into my budget rant. Very bad. I was supposed to “pivot” and return to union busting. I also tend to “wonk it up”, as the pros say. Very, very bad. No words with more than one syllable, please.
I don’t know what to think about this. On the one hand, I know that endlessly repeated conservative bullet points dominate media and political debate. There has to be some way to counteract that or we’re doomed. On the other hand, I have real concerns about joining a race to the bottom discourse where everyone has to speak in slogans to be heard.
Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel)
If the media is dominated by wretched old men whose livelihoods are based on appealing to the worst in humanity, then the race will be on their turf.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
“God makes the planets go around the sun” is definitely much easier to talk about than General Relativity.
It’s not just politics. Media training in a business setting will tell you the same thing. If you want to get a particular message out – don’t deviate from that message, and bring every single question about anything else back to your message, even if it makes no sense whatsoever.
PR so spiritually uplifting.
Barb (formerly Gex)
The right is quite skilled at forcing us into lose-lose situations. Getting really tired of it. Waiting for those old dudes mentioned in #1 to move on to the next phase of their lives isn’t a particularly positive political force, but at least we have that.
Barb (formerly Gex)
I think the difficult task for you would be to try to capture the true essence of the issue into a soundbyte sized statement. If you can get enough substance into the soundbyte you may be able to find a middle ground.
I think maybe we sometimes overstate just how completely our discourse is dominated by sloganeering.
I think back to the 2008 presidential election. Sure, Obama did a decent amount of catch phrases and sloganeering, but he also did his fair share of wonkery and treating folks like adults during that election.
Or at least I remember him being fairly specific with his policy proposals over the course of that two year election cycle between 2006 and 2008.
Exactly. Is it any wonder these people turn into soulless ghouls?
The Moar You Know
Too late. We’re at the bottom, at least as regards discourse, and progressives better get on the fucking stick and learn how to do this because it has been winning elections and the whole fucking ballgame for the last thirty years, if you haven’t noticed. ( I know you have.)
That’s true, but doesn’t that seem like the exception rather than the rule?
Too, he had plenty of slogans. He just didn’t spout them, but they were absolutely part of the campaign.
Not trying to lower morale, but staying on message won’t work. The next right-wing meme would be “Liberals only speak in slogans. They don’t have any ideas. It’s the same as it was in the 60s. Because Reagan Islamofascism secular-socialism bargle wargle fargle.”
I don’t know what the best way forward is either, but I agree with Parallel 5th above. Trying to compete with them on this level means trying to win on their turf.
joe from Lowell
Ever punch someone in the face? It’s gross and unsettling. There’s this nasty “thwak” sound, and blood spurts out, and you can feel your fist hitting hard and soft tissue…it’s barbaric. It’s beneath a decent person. I wish that kind of thing never happened, and I don’t want to ever do it again.
But if there’s a crackhead mugging an old lady, you either punch him, or he beats her up and takes her purse. You do what you gotta do.
@The Moar You Know:
See? This is what it was like. Stop hectoring me :)
Seriously, I know you’re right, but it just seems a shame.
While I can certainly empathize with loathing the idea of having to sloganeer everything that is said so the rubes will listen to you, if that’s the game we have to play to be heard, I say let’s put on the pads and start hitting.
Dems Saying “Blah blah blah, good for you” doesn’t work when you have the Right screaming buzzwords like “Death Panels” or “Socialism” at you.
RW = “Death [email protected]”
NRW = “False, we just want you to keep more of your own money”
RW = “[email protected]&*#*&%”
NRW = “We believe in expanding and strengthening The American Dream (TM)”
RW = “JOB KILLING OM NOM NOM!#&$&*@w%&@*ONE”
NRW = “Job Creating”
RW = “TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!1/aneurysm”
NRW = “Lowest taxes ever”
NRW = “Not Right Wing”; I refuse to acknowledge 95% of the so-called “left” in this country as “Left Wing”
Paul in KY
Kay, how about ‘Kasich must die.’
Succinct, yet emotional.
I know y’all will do a fine job. Just look for a sneaky little asshole who looks like Tim McVeigh’s spawn running around in a stereotypical 60’s hippie costume spouting Symbonese Liberation Army slogans.
It’s soul killing; but that’s how to win the game. Check out the Obama team’s win the future message; it’s working. How do we know? Cantor gave a major speech using all the slogans and catch phrases the President’s been pounding since the state of the union address.
Now, if more Democrats had been out there pounding the same slogan we’d be in a better place IMO. Politically speaking, that is.
David in NY
I think you have to decide whether “discourse” is the aim of, or even possible, in the forum you’re in. If you’re being interviewed by, say, a reporter for local news, “discourse” is just not the point. It’s not going to happen, and since whatever you say is going to be boiled down to about 10-15 seconds, max, you better make sure that those seconds contain your main point in understandable language.
There may well be other forums in which real discourse can occur, actual debates and so on with more than a single point under discussion. But they won’t be on TV and you weren’t being trained for them, and you probably won’t get to participate in any, anyway.
Paul in KY
@joe from Lowell: If yur a red blooded Merican who is packing, you can pop him from relative safety. If your aim is shaky though, you might have a bigger problem on your hand.
Whatever you folks are saying and doing seems to be getting through. Just check this thread out from the Columbus OH Tea Party website –
Don’t be afraid to wade in there. It’s pretty amazing.
I don’t think even the worst tri-corner hat with teabags stapled to it had to speak in 1 syllable. Not that they might not get to the point of grunts and screams.
The media editors will put up whatever they want to, so if you have a particular item you want said, you have to say only that. They will either cut you out entirely (this is the most likely result) or, if they believe you were the Most Eyeball Attractive, put you on with what you said.
It is indeed difficult.
I’m the author of the Mr. Media Training Blog, and agree with your assessment at the end of the article in which you said, “I have real concerns about joining a race to the bottom discourse where everyone has to speak in slogans to be heard.”
You shouldn’t have to speak in slogans, but you should be careful not to articulate secondary or tertiary points during media interviews. If you’re quoted on those points, it means you’re not quoted on your primary ones — the exact points you WANT the public to hear.
This article may help: http://www.mrmediatraining.com/index.php/2011/02/17/the-21-most-essential-media-training-links/. Good luck with your interviews.
I think it depends on where we are in terms of the proximity to the next election. Sloganeering and catch phrases dominate our discourse during times when people are not that actively engaged and you need to get your point across quickly before they tune out (Twitter generation!), but then those same things tend to be ripped on during high information parts of the cycle for the mindless platitudes that they are.
Right now, we just had an election relatively recently. We haven’t yet had any of the major Republican names declare for 2012. A lot of folks are relatively tuned out of politics outside of some of the major hotbed locations like Wisconsin.
There’s probably a rule somewhere that the closer you are to a major election, the less effective catch phrases and sloganeering are because peoples’ attention spans get a bit longer.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disagreeing with the overall point that there’s far too much dumbing down taking place right now and that the Republicans are doing the lion’s share of it with their anti-intellectual message.
I’m just musing on the overall extent of it in the context of the timing factor.
I think the one syllable is an artifact of media mindset. Quick! you’ve got fifteen seconds. More than one sentence and eyes start to glaze over. Two sentences and you’re on the cutting room floor. In the case of the TV types, I blame hairspray. Call it second hand huffing.
American Zen‘s Mike Flannigan says, “It’s time for a Koch block.”
Steve in the ATL
@Jim, Once: Is that a put on? I have never before heard tea baggers be (a) reasonable, or (b) articulate. Some of those people sound quite reasonable. Why are they tea baggers?
Culture of Truth
It doesn’t have to mean a race to the bottom. A clear, simple, easy-to-understand argument is not necessarily the same as dumb or false one.
@Steve in the ATL: I know! No, it’s legit – this an honest-to-god TP website, according to my relatives in Columbus.
Repetition of simple to assimilate phrases is a critical part of human learning.
I don’t object to sloganeering. Only manipulating people to achieve corrosive outcomes.
Educating people on the merits of public servant unions seems to me like a positive outcome. And if in the end the public disagrees, so be it, just as long as the debate was an educated one.
@Steve in the ATL: Although I guess we should let Kay look at this, and defer to her judgment.
Wingers are dumb, lazy, basically mean and like to be told what to do which is why they’re all so good at staying on message. In the absence of the message, they’re teabag wearing Charlie McCarthys without
David KochEdgar Bergen.
The exact same thing with the bobbleheads. They’re dumb, lazy and paid to be incurious and misinformed. What else explains Wolf Blitzer?
Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
I’ve been one of those professionals giving advice at media trainings — it does not have to be a race to the bottom. Really and truly. I promise!
It’s finding a way to actually get the message you want out — out. And into the right ears. It’s remembering that we need to pick the right time and place for each battle, and to not allow others to pick that time and place for us. It’s remembering that there really are some basic truths that matter more than the others, and sticking to those.
Also, it’s worth remembering that Rosa Parks didn’t just one day up and decide to become ROSA PARKS. She wasn’t a tired lady on a bus — she was a member of an organized group of activists who had attended and facilitated trainings and education sessions and so on, and when her moment came, she had was able to do exactly what she needed to do.
Trainings like the one you attended kick in at the oddest times.
This isn’t a “race to the bottom” so much as it is “a conversation with people at the bottom”. You can’t discuss high level calculus with most 12-year-olds. You can’t wax poetic about Strauss with a guy that only listens to country music. And you can’t “wonk out” politically to a bunch of people that simply don’t speak that language.
When the wonking urge hits you, come back to Balloon Juice and we’ll wonk with you all day long. But when you’re trying to convince working mother and father that unions benefit their interests, and you go off on a tangent about military spending in relation to national GDP, you’re not doing anybody any favors.
Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
@Culture of Truth: Or, you know, what Culture of Truth said!
Go nuclear early. That is what seems to get the most attention. Cuts become deep slashing cuts, axing cuts, draconian cuts, find a new favorite adjective that has not been played before.
It’s not impossible; rhetoric is a 2500+ year old art. Start with discipline and a healthy respect for the role of style and skill in winning a debate and winning the day. Too many liberals think the truth is enough and consider the rest trivial.
The host or moderator seldom challenges obvious lies. Don’t be shocked by it. If the other side isn’t willing to carry out an honest debate, you have to do double duty–make your point *and* demolish lies, with enough flair that the audience (if not the host) looks forward to having you on again.
Keep an eye on the clock–you have less time than you think to deliver your message–so deliver your points in priority. Turn away any attempts to distract, with “I’ll be happy to return to that, but…” or “That’s a subject for a whole other debate, but for now it’s still about…”
Remember that you, the other guy and the moderator have three separate agendas, and a fair and honest debate is secondary at best to at least two of the above.
Practice, practice, practice. Dress up. Smile!
And you’ll be like the Chinese executioner whose skill was so great his victims didn’t realize they’d been beheaded until they sneezed and their heads fell off.
And if the host is known to stack the deck against you and your side, assume your appearance on his/her show will be your last, and just have fun.
But, of course, always remember why you’re there.
So there are a lot of tactics and strategies to explore long before parrotting slogans until the clock runs out.
I share Steve in the ATL’s incredulous response. The comments section of a TP website being full of reasonable, sensible notions of NOT hating what the GOP tells them to hate? People actually declining to go against their self-interest for the sake of right-wing demagoguery? Amazing. And to top it all off, they make very good arguments as to why this hatred of unions is completely fucking ridiculous.
It might be better if the unions were doing the training courses rather than the Democratic Party. The unions are much better at organizing and getting out the message. Although they spent a few decades (1960s-1980s) in a compromised position, they have basically been doing this for the past 130 years. Isn’t that one of the big lessons of Wisconsin?
Culture of Truth
Your next door neighbor may have a Ph.D in nuclear physics, and may simply be too busy with all that atomic stuff and kids soccer practice and parents trying to get on the Internets and car trouble to pay attention to what’s going on. And doesn’t have time for a dissertation on Gov Walker’s ties to the Koch brothers. Keep it simple.
“I have a dream” was a slogan. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” was too.
@Bubblegum Tate: It is, isn’t it? Some of those arguments were so well-constructed that I wanted to steal and use them myself. And then there’s the guy who said he was leaving the Tea Party after watching that ass Wachtmann (sp?) at work. Actually, that comment was the one my elderly aunt sent me this morning, which led me to the site and thread.
@Jim C. wrote:
I think it’s a human thing to some degree to latch onto phrases. Just think of how much of what gets written on blogs is the repetition of catch phrases. At first they seems like shortcuts, standing in for complicated ideas. But eventually the meaning leaves…due to the sheer weight of repetition.
For example: we are all X now.
(Although in this case Kay uses it in a straightforward way: Cantor speaks only in slogans and she detects that she is being trained to speak in slogans. Which actually means something. Unlike the frequent occurrences here…we are all mayans now…we are all libyans now…WTF?)
I’m with Noam Chomsky. Concision sucks. Gotta be willing to spell it all out sometimes. Like advertisers whose job it is to create demand, PR folks attempt to create a reality, an uncomplicated reality that fits their agenda.
Just read on a Wonkette thread about Haley Barbour—some commenter called him “Haley the Hutt”. Works for me, my first big laugh of the day. Hope it sticks.
Sorry for the OT
You know, it’s easy to think that the American public is too stupid to understand anything more complicated than a slogan. I don’t think this is necessarily true for most people. The problem is that it is all the media will present, so that is (almost)all the public encounters. I still think the most effective tool to counteract this crap is in conversation. But you have to keep anger out of it and listen to the other person.
@Culture of Truth:
I don’t think those are slogans. I think “death panels” and “death tax” are slogans.
Oh, I disagree with the advice to stick to one topic only. You don’t want to go off on lengthy tangents a la Gore or Kerry, but to at minimum tie your issue to the bigger picture can only be a good thing.
It seems like everything today is being reduced to black and white, with nothing in between. This sound bite vs. pontificating is just more of the same. Why is nuance the new evil?
Culture of Truth
Those are not slogans so much as buzz-phrases. And very effective ones too.
Culture of Truth
In any case, the ability to convey a powerful message in a few short words the listen will understand is no small thing.
Indeed, we used to bullseye womprats in Beggar’s Canyon back home!
I think she’s not going into a formal debate–she’s preparing for the possibility of getting interviewed by a reporter.
There’s not much I can add that Chris, Zifnab, and Culture of Troofs didn’t already say, ‘cept this:
Make a quick list of the opposition’s talking points — you can probably remember five or more without even Googling. Find a succinct way to turn each one against its original purpose. Then cough ’em up when you can tie them to a question. Fiscal responsibility? It’s irresponsible of the opposition to attack unions, because they’re the bedrock of our middle class.
Hm, but better than that!
I don’t mean to trash them. They did a good job, it was interesting, and it was a little more complicated than I presented here.
Rather than “nuance” they were telling us to make it “personal” which I think does work.
This is a little bit of a myth, in my experience. It’s like the much-ballyhooed but meaningless difference between the Dean organization and OFA. There’s a lot of overlap between these people. They go from one job to another. We’re basically talking about the same group of people. Vaguely “liberal” or “Democratic” activist-types. . Same people, slightly different plans.
David in NY
Why for heaven’s sake not?
What are you wanting exactly? You ought to be entirely satisfied if you can formulate a phrase as important and pithy as “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and which addresses the unions’ problems, and get it on television. That’s your job. It’s important. If you don’t want it, go write long explanatory stuff nobody will read, or something.
EDIT: This. From Culture of Truth: “In any case, the ability to convey a powerful message in a few short words the listen[er] will understand is no small thing.”
Culture of Truth
I would also add that regardless of how effective a soundbite is vs a lengthy discourse, you have to get on the evening news, and their time is really limited.
@David in NY:
I think they’re better than slogans, is what I meant. Not that I was rejecting them. They’re complex ideas presented (accurately) but beautifully in very few words. That’s not true of “death tax” or “death panels” or “union bosses” or “government schools”.
Interesting story. I’ve dealt a fair amount with local media, both print and tv, and I don’t find them to be anywhere near as bad as national media about swallowing right wing talking points.
@Culture of Truth:
That part is true, and I do appreciate that. I suppose like anything else, once you learn the basics you can improvise :)
@ Culture of Truth:
I agree with what you say, but very few people can really craft a short statement that encompasses much more than a cheap shot or an oversimplification. Too many people focus on word count than clear or concise content.
Culture of Truth
Similar buzz phrases on the other side might be “union-busting” or “catfood commission”
“joining a race to the bottom”
The race is over, we’re already at the bottom, in terms of the quality of public discourse.
“54-40 or Fight!”
Which is to say, this ain’t a new problem…Not that that should make us feel better about it.
David in NY
@kay: Right, they’re not stupid, short things like “death tax.”
I’m just not sure what your problem is. I think it’s a complaint about the forum you’ve got — a TV interview, say — in which you’ve got to distill your point into 10 seconds or so, and not distract from it. But given that forum, you have to deal in really compressed language (a slogan?) or be really, really good at presenting a complex idea in brief. You don’t get any other choices. So go to it.
@kay: Most of ’em were soul-less ghouls to begin with.
@kay: Most of ’em were soul-less ghouls to begin with.
The Bullet Points are critical – but we also all have to be grounded in some coherent understanding of where we’re at and why with this stuff.
I’ve put together a “Common Sense” Guide to the Great Deficit Debate, to help activists get basic background and facts to fight the hysterics generated by Tea Partiers, Koch apparatchiks and GOPer neanderthals:
A PDF download – and related commentary, links & resources – available here:
Right now I’m working on putting this into “bullet point” form. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. Meanwhile I hope this compilation is useful to some of you – and spread it around if you are so moved.
Culture of Truth
Is Cantor known for his messaging? I only know him from his ghoulish appearances on tv.
Politics is a competition. Republicans play to win. Period.
Democrats don’t seem to put winning as their biggest priority, but rather would be happy going off into wonkish rants about policy minutiae.
Republicans don’t have a better product. They do have much better marketing, which is why they are still able to win over large chunks of the population.
If sticking to talking points is what it takes to win, then liberals and Democrats need to suck it up and do it.
@Culture of Truth:
I think union-busting is accurate. That was the intent and that will be the result. Unlike death panels or death tax, or, actually, cat food commission. Cat food isn’t even cheap.
Oh, I agree. I went. I’m just already nostalgic for vague, quirky liberals. They’re funnier, for one thing.
@Jim, Once: Wow, that thread is every kind of impressive. It sounds like a whole lot of Ohio tea partiers are getting a good whiff of industrial-strength coffee regarding what their Tea Party is really all about.
Culture of Truth
Union busting is accurate. Do we another term for true buzz/slogans? Because the real preffered term for Republican slogans is unprintable in a family blog.
Paul in KY
@Comrade DougJ: That’s because they aren’t making the kind of change your ‘national’ member of the village does.
I’m convinced that most of these national types (TV ones, especially) parrot the GOP talking points because they see the concrete benefits (lower taxes on their hugh salaries) that come to them from having the Repukes in power. Plus, they want to keep those cushy jobs (think of that famous Upton Sinclair quote).
Yes. Exactly. Democrats could easily come up with pithy, memorable talking points that are actually true (unlike, say, “death panels”), and sell those to the average person. But they don’t. So they lose the message war.
To paraphrase Charlie Sheen: Why are you doing this? Duh…Winning
There really is nothing more to think about, which I agree sucks.
Until we get big money out of politics, there’s no way to avoid turning yourself (i.e. the politician) into a product, which can be mass marketed. If you don’t blow a wad of cash doing it, your opponent will and you’ll lose.
@Culture of Truth:
Also, reference the income distribution pie chart at every opportunity. EVERYTHING comes back to that.
Assume that your audience is in the pie chart’s lowest 80% and that they’re probably weary, distracted, and stressed-out.
Keep it simple, pertinent, and speak to their hearts.
When they asked you a “trick” question? That is called “changing the subject.” It takes discipline to not follow the new path that someone else is trying to lead you down.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
President Obama will wisely counteract this with his great and far-reaching Silent Spirit, and will keep his comfortable shoes dry until a reference to them is truly needed for his re-election.
We have a real local newspaper here. A daily. Unfortunately, I started this email war with the local reporter over his coverage of the health care bill. It went back and forth. I ended it, so there’s that to my credit. It would still be going on if it were up to him. Which was dumb, because that’s the local paper, so we’re screwed there.
This is why I need training, obviously :)
Too much money lined up against them, in terms of right-wing think tanks, religious right groups to mobilize “values” voters, and right-wing media outlets, churning out a constant stream of anti-Democratic/anti-liberal nonsense.
Just think back to the mid-to-late 1980’s (I don’t remember the exact date). The Left forced Ronald Reagan or the Senate Judiciary committee to reject (again memory’s a bit fuzzy) the judicial nomination of Robert Bork, because he wouldn’t walk back stuff he wrote in 1964 attacking the Civil Rights Act.
The money and business like focus of the Right has moved the debate in this country. They responded to the Borking of Bork, with a purpose to make sure they get their agenda enacted, even though most people don’t agree with it.
Do you really think any Left leaning groups could put that kind of pressure on a Republican President today? The Right-wing wurlitzer would jump into overdrive to completely change the tone of debate.
It happened after 9/11/01, when people got over their shock and asked, did President Bush, Jr. do every thing he could to prevent the catastrophe? The right-wing wurlitzer was blaming it on President Clinton in seconds.
They have ideologues, who have decoupled their personal views from reality. Their personal views are correct, such as Social Security is going broke, therefore we need private investment accounts and / or we need to scrap the whole think, even though the reality is different.
I don’t know how to change things. I don’t think we can change things until we put a lid on the money sloshing around our political process.
@Uncle Clarence Thomas:
Well, Clarence, you’re wrong. Union organizers think it’s best that union workers are the public face of unions. They think the best salespeople are their members.
I think they’re right about that, actually, although I didn’t come up with the idea.
This has been a really, really useful thread, and lots to think about.
Thanks, all. You’ve made visiting this blog very worth it today.
There used to be a time when rhetoric was considered an essential part of education.
@Uncle Clarence Thomas:
If the Left had the focus of the Right and rewarded politicians, who generally did their bidding, I think President Obama and the Democrats would be more passionate about sticking up for the Left.
The Left kept dogging the Democrats about achieving universal health care. The Democrats tried in the 1990’s and failed, at a huge political cost. The Democrats tried in 2009 and succeeded in 2010, at great political cost.
The response from the Left was pretty antagonistic towards Democrats for passing the PPACA.
Say what you want about there not being that many people in Firedoglake, or wherever else in the Left-wing-verse that had a melt down. These sort of triumph’s don’t get promoted by the great masses of people in the middle. They get promoted by the ideologues at the edges, who’ve wanted this sort of thing enacted for whatever reason.
Did Bush, Jr. really need to cut taxes, not once, but twice during his first term? Nope. Did the tax cuts sail through Congress? Nope. Cheney cast the tie breaking vote in the Senate to pass the 2003 tax cut. The Grover Norquist-borg on the right went tizzy with glee and claimed the tax cuts were the greatest thing ever.
No hand ringing about how the bill barely passed. The wing-nuts at the edges declared victory, since they won most of what they wanted. Everyone else, who casually pays attention, just hears “something awesome just happened, WE WON!” and not how Dick Cheney had to cast a tie breaking vote in the Senate.
The people in the middle just notice “we won” and “something awesome” and probably have a more favorable view towards whatever it is the Right is pushing, because the ideologues at the edges are selling at as something good.
turn into soulless ghouls?
The problem is they were/are soulless ghouls who just happened to open their mouths. The crap that spills out is just what was always in there.
The Moar You Know
@gene108: I attained voting age in 1984 and this is something that the Democratic party, as a party, still does not understand after all these years. Individuals get it, and win; but the party does not.
Start playing to win. If you’re in a position like Kay is here, where the media could potentially interview her and she would be given a few precious seconds to get her message out, well, you better bring your “A” game and play those five seconds like your life depends on it.
Someone’s life, and certainly someone’s livelihood, depends on you winning for those five seconds. Keep that in mind.
Ditto. Plus, they did an excellent job of taking apart the lies that are so often pushed by, well, the Tea Party: “Teachers make $80,000 a year! And they get 16 weeks off! And they’re super-lazy! And firemen and police officers are the same!”
I don’t want to get too pie-in-the-sky here, but it gives a glimmer of hope that not all is lost to incoherent bullshit talking points.
I don’t think we need a race to the bottom. The key to good communication is to have a clear message, but that doesn’t mean we have to adopt the stupid to convey it. I often respond to people who greet me with right wing talking points by asking them to stop for a moment and think of their basic premise. In response to someone telling me that health care reform costs too much I’ll say: “It sounds to me like you’re under the assumption that you are presently NOT paying for other people’s health care. What if I told you that you are, and this legislation is going to make it so that not only are you paying less overall, but that your friends and family who don’t have insurance are going to be covered?” In other words, I attack the foundations of their argument while at the same time getting them interested in why I’m saying what I’m saying.
Messages have to be delivered based on the audience, but you can mix your method of delivery. Of course you want to have your slogan for those who have the attention span of gnats, but you’re not required to stay there and I would strongly disagree with any PR type who says you do have to stay there. In fact, I would attack the simple-minded nature of the Republican message, the constant sloganeering, and invite my listeners’ cynicism about the packaging of the message. However, this is not the same as staying on topic. If you’re talking about one thing and your questioner attempts to introduce another, then you should bring the message back to its original frame and not get drawn down an off topic primrose path.
(Idea, ignore if necessary.)
Ohio, probably industrial, or used to be, right?
Because of unions, you don’t have to:
live in a company house
shop in a company store
go to a company school
die on a company road
get buried in a company grave
Yeah. But this kind of ambivalence is where we fall down, in general, I think.
It really helps to be a true believer. And, as a liberal, I tend to run away from the true believers–even the presumably liberal ones.
@Jim, Once: Jim is right. That is an incredible thread over there. It will be interesting to see if any of the TPers figure out that their “grassroots” organization is really one big scam-fabulous exercise in astroturfing brought to you by the usual suspects (Koch Bros., et al.) with Dick Armey sitting like a cherry on top.
Sadly, probably too few.
There is no race to the bottom – we are already there. Depending on which numbers you trust, between 45% and 50% of the US adult population is illiterate or semi-literate (3rd/4rth grade reading comprehension). Fewer than 20% of American adults read at least one book per year. People without basic comprehension skills make emotionally-driven decisions and are primed for manipulation. It doesn’t even have to be sophisticated, thus the rapid rise of outrageous demagogues.
It’s difficult to face, but the race is over. We’ve lost.
This rings true to me. It had never occurred to me, but I think that’s it.
I disagree. I think that a large percentage of Republicans are not true believers, unless you are talking about their belief in the central importance of increasing their wealth and influence. They are true believers in that, and everything they do is toward that end.
But the blather about how “unAmerican” healthcare reform is, or the perils of the deficit, or how Obama is a soshulist and capitalism is the only way, etc., etc….that stuff is just red meat tossed to the terrified masses. The spokesmouths on TV don’t believe that stuff. They say what gets them elected (and re-elected) and what gets them power, influence and money. Whatever it takes. True-believing just drags you away from the bottom line.
Know your audience.
Speak to them and them only,
you might only have one chance.
Well, that’s too bad. I think talking about the budget is a good idea. I don’t like letting the opposition define the terms of the debate. I think I would be a little depressed by that training.
In the paper today– Kasich ordering local governments to make the difficult choice and not to seek levies. Gee, didn’t know that asking for tax increases was so very popular and easy.
@Comrade DougJ wrote:
Hey, prank calls where you ask for Hugh Jass or Seymour Butz don’t count.
@numbskull: Sadly, I think you might be right. Sigh. But, boy, it really felt good reading some of those comments. It made me feel like maybe we’re not as polarized as I’ve thought we were.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
I think that no union member, or union, is an island. Moreover, they need – and should receive – popular, legislative, executive, and judicial support. That’s how wrong I am.
I did not state or imply that any outside party or president should be the sole, or primary, or best public face or salesperson for unions, so I conclude that your deliberate misrepresentation of my views is simply a manifestation of the common balloonbagger ethos.
If they want to take away unions, they want to take away the American way of life.
Louis Howe said to Eleanor Roosevelt beofre her first speech: say what you have to say and sit down.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
It is pointless to respond to him, Kay. We could have a thread about the color red and he would find a way to bash Obama in a way tangentially related to the thread.
Both enlightening and heartening. They were really giving it to that smug site admin clown.
Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people)
@Jim, Once: Thanks for sharing that. Interesting that many didn’t understand what the TP was about until it hit home. I really liked the explanation of how teachers only get paid for 9 months of teaching but can have the payments spread over 12 months. And the admin was surprisingly gracious even though he almost lost it twice. I was pleasantly surprised that he allowed all those opposing viewpoints to make it through and apologized when someone called him on being uncivil (though he never changed his mind about unions).
@Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): I always used to explain to my students that I was a part-time worker who would be more than happy to work full time, since it would be good for them, too. I had two days a year of paid vacation. I have to admit I didn’t care about that – I so loved those kids. It was a privilege to teach them.