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42 posts from January 2007

January 31, 2007

Frameshop: Bye Biden

Joe Biden could go down as having the shortest Presidential campaign ever as a result of this monster gaffe in an interview with The New York Observer.  Remarking on Barack Obama, Biden laid this egg:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

No need to refresh your screen.  That's the actual Biden quote.  (hand smacks head)

Thanks for the memories, Joe.  The Biden for President campaign sure was fun while it lasted.

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January 30, 2007

Frameshop: Listen To Russ


Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) has issued both a video and a statement about the actions Congress can take to bring President Bush's disastrous Iraq policy to a close.   It is well worth listening to Feingold as he describes the road ahead.

Once again he states that Congress can use "the power of the purse" to bring our troops safely home--to remove them from harms way in Iraq so that they can return to the broader work of protecting the nation.

After the video Feingold's opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee, are also worth going over.  What I hear in Russ' words are echoes of Eisenhower--in particular: the frame of "balance."

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Frameshop: Washington Post Misreports "Democrat" Insult


During his State of the Union Address, President Bush said the following:

Some in this chamber are new to the House and the Senate -- and I congratulate the Democrat majority.  (Applause.) 

Hearing this, Democrats in Congress reacted with understandable anger at this well-known epithet developed and used by Republicans to muddy the name of Democratic Party.  But, lo and behold, rather than actually research this issue,the Washington Post took the easy way out and simply regurgitated the White House talking points delivered by Tony Snow--reporting that Bush apologized for using the phrase without knowing it ("Bush Says Missing "-ic" Was an Oversight," Washington Post, 20 Jan 2007).

He didn't know it?

The Washington Post might be surprised to learn that that the phrase "Democrat Party" appears on the White House web site dozens of times as used by President Bush.   But they might be even more surprised to learn that the phrase "Democrat Party" is a focus-group tested strategy deployed by the Republican Party's top PR consultant--Frank Luntz--who has also admitted to intentionally using it in his recent book--a book that is currently on the Amazon.com best seller list.

Honestly, though, how can we possibly expect the Washington Post to conduct all of this difficult research into the Republican use of "Democrat Party," which took me all of ten arduous minutes. 

At the very least, though, they could go over to the New Yorker online and read a recent article by Hendrik Hertzberg on the topic,  which lays out the whole story.

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Frameshop: A Fairy Tale Iraq

In a recent interview with Juan Williams of NPR (read the full transcript here), President Bush demonstrated his technique for turning potential disagreements into agreements--a technique that would make Dr. Seus roll over in his grave.

In this case, Bush explains how when he said "not enough success in Iraq" and then Vice President Cheney said "enormous success in Iraq," there was not in fact any disagreement.

It's all about the great year for freedom.

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January 29, 2007

Frameshop: Answer This Question

Quickly, and without giving it too much thought, jot down your "yes" or "no" answer to this question:

Does the future of civilization on large parts of the globe depend on the outcome in Iraq?

Be honest,now.  Do you believe the outcome in Iraq makes a large difference for large parts of the globe?  Put another way:  How many people see that the world is now divided along clear lines--similar to the way it was at the peak of the Cold War? 

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January 26, 2007

Frameshop: Spin--Under Oath

Dana Milbank has a great article in this morning's Washington Post, highlighting key details of Cheney's spin factory as they are coughed up under oath in the Libby perjury trial.

Yesterday's spin-and-tell on the stand was Cathie Martin, former communications director to the VP:

With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. "Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday," she said. "Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday."

Martin, perhaps unaware of the suspicion such machinations caused in the press corps, lamented that her statements at the time were not regarded as credible. She testified that, as the controversy swelled in 2004, reporters ignored her denials and continued to report that it was Cheney's office that sent former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate allegations of Iraq's nuclear acquisitions. "They're not taking my word for it," Martin recalled telling a colleague.

Martin, who now works on the president's communications staff, said she was frustrated that reporters wouldn't call for comment about the controversy. She said she had to ask the CIA spokesman, Bill Harlow, which reporters were working on the story. "Often, reporters would stop calling us," she testified.

This prompted quiet chuckles among the two dozen reporters sitting in court to cover the trial. Whispered one: "When was the last time you called the vice president's office and got anything other than a 'no comment'?"

Chuckles, indeed.

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January 25, 2007

Frameshop: Return of the "Meat Grinder"

Hagel Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has been using the phrase "meat grinder" to frame the situation in Iraq.

Take a look at the transcript from his statement.  It seems like real anger from Hagel to me.

But what's even more amazing is how little the media has picked up on this incredibly powerful--incredibly shameful phrase from Twentieth Century American history.

The "meat grinder," as most of us have likely forgotten, was the official military strategy deployed by General  William Westmoreland in Vietnam.  But more than a strategy, the "meat grinder" developed into a mindset that decimated the moral foundation of our military and led to horrendous war crimes committed by soldiers who had been conditioned by U.S. leadership through this twisted world view.

And if Hagel is correct--the "meat grinder" mindset has returned in Iraq, and we would be wise to start talking about how dangerous it is.

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Frameshop: [Cheney] as [A Rabid Animal]

If you watch only one news video today, make it Wolf Blitzer's recent interview with Vice President Dick Cheney (transcript).  I am not a huge fan of Blitzer, but the interview yesterday was incredibly revealing.  In it we see Dick Cheney coming unglued.  The mask is off Vice President as he expresses with no uncertain terms his contempt and disdain for journalists, the democratic process, the American people, and anything vaguely resembling the truth.

Dick Cheney's message to the American people?  Iraq is an "enormous success" and you "won't stop us."

In other words, Dick Cheney is trying his best to frame anyone who disagrees with him as an accomplice to terrorism.

How can you respond to Dick Cheney? 

  1. Contact everyone you know about Blitzer's interview with Cheney
  2. Describe Cheney as "cornered and dangerous" (e.g., not "defiant")
  3. Identify  Cheney as a "roadblock" on Iraq
  4. Argue that for the sake of U.S. troops, we must deal with Cheney

It is time for Dick Cheney to learn a tough lesson.  When he lashes out recklessly, the American people do more than just respond: we frame the debate. 

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January 24, 2007

Frameshop: New Tool for Framers?

A friend pointed out this potentially very useful widget from Huffington Post.  At the bottom of the widget is an active line that allows readers to enter search terms and quickly see a visual image of how often each term has appeared in the media.  Clicking each search bar then takes you to a page of articles at the HuffPost.  I've entered the names of some Democratic candidates, but you can plug in anything you want. 

Even though it would be better if it were plugged into Google, this widget seems very useful for what we do here at Frameshop.  We should be able to plug in a few terms and quickly track down which keywords are dominating the debate.  Try it out and let us know if you think its worth fitting into the front page as a permanent feature.

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Frameshop: Bush Stuck in "Duck" Frame

Plum For this morning's Washington Post, Glenn Kessler has penned a dispassionate, point-for-point debunking of Bush's State of the Union Address.

I know it's hard to believe, but...just about every single point in Bush's speech was false. Education?  False (quack!). Jobs? False (quack!). Foreign policy? False (quaaaaack!). Budget deficit? False (quack, quack!).

We all knew he was going to lie, he lied, then the press reported the lies as lies.  All of it adds up to a crispy plate of irrelevance.  Today's special:  Lame Duck of President, with a side of George W. Bush dipping sauce.

But still, I wondered how exactly this "duck" frame was taking shape around Bush in the press?

So...I woke up this morning and fired off a quick Google search of "Bush+duck." The following is a framing chronicle of Bush's final descent into the plum sauce of political irrelevance...

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