Tag Archive: framing

The right way to frame the Affordable Care Act

Messaging Matters2

If you watch or listen to the Republicans and much of the mainstream media, you might think that the Affordable Care Act is nothing but a website that is having problems. However, Nicholas Kristof published an op-ed in the New York Times last Saturday that sets the record straight, and shows us how to frame the Affordable Care Act properly.

Interview with Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars

Nicole

Nicole Belle

“Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal.” That’s Nicole Belle‘s bio at the Crooks and Liars progressive political blog, where she is Senior Editor and a regular contributor. Nicole has also written for Firedoglake, the ACLU blog, and elsewhere, and has been a frequent guest on political talk shows (including Turn Up the Night with Kenny Pick, where the author is a co-host).

With the 2012 presidential election just weeks away, and the campaign season in full frenzy, Messaging Matters spoke with Nicole to get her take on the political landscape:

How to Frame the Affordable Care Act Win

After suffering a historic political loss via the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are seeking to make lemonade by characterizing the ACA as a massive tax on everyone. Let’s not help them do this.

For example, I’ve heard Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh call the ACA (please don’t call it “Obamacare” — that’s pejorative right-wing framing designed to evoke Big Government and the Nanny State) “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world.” I guarantee that Republican politicians will be using phrases like “massive tax increase” over and over. But then I hear Democrats saying “no, it’s not the the largest tax increase in history, there have been bigger ones.” That’s a terrible response. It’s like a criminal lawyer telling the court, “my client didn’t kill 26 people as the prosecution alleges, he only killed 20.” You never want to argue within the frame established by your opponent. That’s playing on a field tilted against you.

Instead, here are some useful points to remember regarding the ACA and the Supreme Court ruling:

How to Take Over a Political Debate in 48 Hours

How do you plant a political message and watch it grow into an expression on the tip of everyone’s tongue? If you’re the Republican Party, you take a term like “class warfare”, get your leaders and like-minded pundits to say it over and over, and, within a couple of days, it’s stuck in voters’ brains like a successful television commercial jingle.

It doesn’t even matter that you’re fighting a real plan with a mere label. Your phrase becomes the basis for the debate. Then, President Obama has to come back first by denying that he’s guilty of the label being applied to him, and then embracing the label as a badge of honor.

Either way, it’s much better when your side controls the frame and the labels that get applied to you and your opponents.