Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Harper Index - No Free Luntz!


The Harper Index

This looks interesting - A new website with three objectives :
1) Daily and background info on Steve's shenanigans
2) A place to discuss and analyze Steve & Co spin
3) A resource on how to reframe language and issues to counteract that spin.

A lot of us on the Left resist #3, the reframing of The Message, seeing it as a violation of language.
Two minutes of listening to the right chanting "Support the troops" or "Right to life" with that unblinking useful-idiot insect-mind they have acquired from the Republican hive to the south, and we look down our progressive noses and march off to the beat of our various different drummers. No hucksters, us!

But then we continue to use the Right's carefully crafted phrases and ideas in argument, just to make ourselves understood, mind you, and wind up fighting them on their turf with their choice of verbal weapon, reinforcing their message even as we argue to refute it.

Admittedly many of the rather defensive attempts to reframe language to better represent ideals of the common good have been pretty clunky so far.
I don't see "investors' rights agreement" replacing "free trade agreement" in common parlance any time soon, even though it is vastly more accurate.

Ah, but when it does work!
"Global warming" was so successful at knocking out "climate change" that now even when people say "climate change", they usually mean "global warming".
Remember when you realized that "pro-choice" was a much better description of your actual position than "pro-abortion"? So much more accurate in fact that "pro-abortion" is now merely a signpost meaning "Warning - fetus fetishist ahead". We own that frame; it's our home turf now.
And someone had to think it up.

Anyway there's my pitch. Push back.
It's a new site, they're looking for submissions, and who knows - maybe you'll be the one who can bury one of these awful Rightist slogans - Clean Air Act, decentralization of government, free market, Canadian born, Security and Prosperity Partnership, energy exploration, tax relief, death tax, accountability, tough on crime, What would Hitler do?

OK, I threw that last one in just to see if you were paying attention.

6 comments:

West End Bound said...

Got it Alison - I was paying attention.

This looks like a great site for you to visit regularly . . . . Your contributions should be most welcome!

Holly Stick said...

Interesting site. It looks like they're trying to do the same kind of thing DeSmogBlog does.

I wonder if we should be calling the "pro-life"/"anti-abortion" people "anti-choice" instead.

Dave said...

Good catch, Alison. I agree completely with reframing the message. I make a conscious effort to do that wherever possible.

I dislike MSM for example because it is a Luntz construct. I'll use anything else just to make my point.

Dave said...

Holly stick said:
I wonder if we should be calling the "pro-life"/"anti-abortion" people "anti-choice" instead.

Yup. That's exactly what I use, all the time.

Jan said...

Good call, Holly Stick.
I think Alison was trying to appear 'fair and balanced', instead of using her more usual 'fetus fetishist'.
Have to say I dislike f-f, Alison, for its too obvious mean-spiritedness.

Dana said...

I like to think of them as "adult killers". :-/

I observe that the Harper Index is an arms length project of Straight Goods by way of something called The Golden Lake Institute.

Merely an observation.

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