Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Lakoff and Luntz

The Texas Observer has an interesting article by Michael Erard about Republican framer Frank Luntz and Democrat George Lakoff.

One of the more thorough critiques of Lakoff that combines conservative thought with language expertise comes from Justin Busch, a computational linguist who lives in San Diego and blogs about politics at Busch says that “Lakoff’s problem, and this is one area where Frank Luntz just by virtue of his job has a real advantage…is that he doesn’t see enough ordinary people and discuss these things.”

To Busch, Lakoff simplifies the world the wrong way, citing the linguist’s assertion that environmental progressives see the Earth as the goddess. “This is straight out of cloud cuckoo land,” Busch says. “You and I know that unless he’s dressing up in druid robes and going out to Stonehenge, that he doesn’t really think that. The Earth is goddess is just something that he tossed off as poetic and imaginative, but it’s also freaking disastrous.” As Busch sees it, Lakoff doesn’t offer hard evidence for his claims about what conservatives or liberals think, and he relies too much on his own stereotypes and experiences in his simplification of conservatives. Lakoff counters by saying that his books are empirically based and that more evidence for the models is on the way.


At 2:49 PM, Blogger Tom said...

The following is an example of reframing and recentering the Reform Democrat agenda through discourse framing:

Draft Freedom: Stand up for freedom from the draft.1. Does not "look" anti-war (recenters our positions)
2. Targeted outside of the liberal (Reform Democrat) wing of politics - reaches new people
2. Red-white-blue patriotic feel to the site (but not on defensive terms)
4. No "draft resistance", "draft dodgers" - instead frames the issue on drafts as about freedom and American values
5. Attempts to reframe the war debate to "we oppose the draft" -- which can be bridge for reasons why the draft/war are wrong -- and frames the war as draft (which is more personally connected, puts pro-war on defensive)
6. It works if (a) people get concerned about draft (b) think of draft as a violation of American values and freedoms (c) war proponents must deny there will be draft

While the site is in development currently, it does currently serve as an example of discourse framing.


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