The cognitive linguist George Lakoff wrote, "Once phrases become part of everyday language, their frames become physically fixed in people's brains. Once this happens, mere facts don't matter. If the facts don't fit the frames, the frames stay and the facts are ignored."
A frame is how something is presented; how it is phrased. For example, many conservatives frame government regulation as unnecessary interference with entrepreneurship and, therefore, a drag on our free market economy. Liberals frame the debate as protecting us from . . . ourselves, our desire for short term gain at the expense of our environment, neighbors, and future well-being.
That's how it's framed, so what about the facts? Do we ignore them?
I think we're ignoring the facts less and less. Our exposure to a flood of information is forcing us to appreciate the complexity of many issues, as well as the implications of our choices, and so we are less susceptible to framing (and less tolerant of it as well).
This doesn't bode well for politicians and marketers who are trapped in the mass media, "boil it all down to a soundbite" stratagem of yesteryear. We can see what they're up to, and frankly it insults our intelligence.
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