Framing The Debate: Politics & Language
Behind every catchy right-wing slogan, there are a set of facts that tell a different story. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” has never been fully funded. The “Clear Skies Act” weakens mercury pollution control, poisoning our air. The “Healthy Forests Initiative” allows the lumber industry to plunder our forests.. And “The War on Terror,” has failed to connect Iraq to 9/11. But research shows that most Americans do not cast their votes based on facts alone. Republicans have had great success in framing the debate. They know that values, identity and language matter. How can progressives use language more effectively to express their ideas? How can they re-frame the debate?
George Lakoff is Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute where he applies cognitive linguistics to the study of politics, especially the framing of public political debate. He is the author of Don’t Think of An Elephant and The Political Mind.