Comm 403 Blog 4-Framing

     As discussed in George Lakoff’s article, Framing 101: How to Take Back Public Discourse, Lakoff discusses the important concept of framing and the ways in which it continually affects everyday life, specifically politics.  In its most basic definition, framing is an image or any other thought brought about by a particular word.  Any word can and will evoke framing.  The example Lakoff uses is the phrase, “Don’t think of an elephant!”  However, it is impossible to not think about an elephant after it is brought up, even if you are not supposed to.  The mental image of an elephant or any other knowledge about an elephant will creep into your mind, even if just for a brief moment, once one hears the word.  Thus, it becomes extremely important in politics because word choice and framing can be used to enhance one’s self or hurt another.  
     Another article, written by LZ Granderson, gives a very relevant example of framing in politics today.  The Republican Party used framing, which Granderson believes them to be extremely good at, to make many people believe the first stimulus package was a complete failure, when, in reality, it was not.  Although it may not have accomplished everything it set out to, many of the benefits of the stimulus package have either been ignored or have not happened yet, as predicted.  However, the Republican Party has done such a good job at framing the word stimulus into having such a negative connotation, that the president tends to not use the word “stimulus” to describe his next stimulus package, as to not discourage individuals from supporting it.    

     Unfortunately, political systems are not perfect and many examples of framing can be seen throughout history.  All sides are guilty of framing at some point.  It may be unethical, but it is a rather good strategy to gain support for oneself and, maybe even more importantly, lose support for another.  An excellent example of framing in politics is the response to Septemeber 11, 2001.  The Bush Administration immediately called these attacks terrorists attacks and declared a “War on Terror”.  The country as a whole was already at a vulnerable place and using the word terror played on that vulnerability.  Not being for the War on Terror means being against fighting terrorists, a place that most people just did not want to be at even if they did not fully support the war.  This led to many people supporting attacking a country that did not even commit the terrorist attacks.  Because framing may very well always be part of the political system, it is important to recognize it and therefore hopefully be less affected by it.


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