STOP Framing "us"

How a select few of "them" are Framing all of "us"

Archive for the category “Frank “The Liar” Luntz”

Why Good People do Bad Things: The Power of Names, Frames and Personality Factors

A recent article in the Business Insider, 27 psychological reasons good people do bad things, illustrates many of the common unethical behaviors experienced by people in our society.  Most people are familiar with the acceptance of small theft (#6) in the workplace, for instance, or the pressure to conform (#27) whenever attempting to ‘fit in’ to an existing peer group.  Others, such as obedience to authority (#12), foot in the door (#16), and the blinding effect of power (#13) tell a somewhat different story.  These psychological characteristics appear to stem from something other than minor unethical hiccups, and may have their root in personality factors, as discussed below.

Knowing these psychological tendencies exist may be useful fun facts to discuss at parties or other social gatherings, but they don’t tell us what we really want to know.  What about deliberate attempts to influence people to (unknowingly) act in an unethical manor, or take an immoral stance on an issue?  Does this happen? If so, who is more susceptible and why?  The power of names (#2) provides some initial insight into answering these questions.

2.  The power of names.  When bribery becomes “greasing the wheels” or accounting fraud becomes “financial engineering,” unethical behavior can seem less bad. The use of nicknames and euphemisms for questionable practices can free them of their moral connotations, making
them seem more acceptable
.

The power of names reveals the use of language can literally change the meaning of something, thus leading one to an immoral choice in behavior.  Beyond nicknames and euphemisms is a more sophisticated technique, known as framing.  In a nutshell, framing involves the deceptive use of language to convince others to support immoral choices.  A “frame” has the ability to not only change the meaning of something, but to literally alter one’s perception of reality.  Unfortunately, far too many people fall victim to the powerful effects of framing, and end up taking stances on issues contrary to their own beliefs! Take the “clear skies” initiative, introduced by GOP politicians under the Bush administration.  The so called “clear skies” plan, “would loosen Clean Air Act standards for most of the nation’s power companies. And it has taken the pressure off companies that violate the law, cutting inspections staff and reducing Fines and criminal charges against polluters.”

Basically, this law allows more harmful and toxic chemicals to be dumped into the atmosphere, polluting our lungs and the air we breathe.  I’m confident no one would knowingly believe this is a good thing, much less openly support such a position when provided the chance to voice their opinion at the polls.  Hence, a frame is intentionally crafted that serves the purpose of convincing people to vote in favor of a policy position that is actually detrimental to their health and well being.  Those on the left side of the political spectrum refer to this phenomenon as “voting against one’s self-interest.”

Now that we know framing occurs, who is responsible, and what motivates an individual or group of people to manipulate others in such a fashion?  The obvious answer is money, but in this case it’s much scarier than that.  The use of framing (ie, deceptive language) has been used recently in politics to advance an ideology that is consistent with the special interests of the ruling elite in this country.  This immoral behavior is being carried out by unethical pollsters and politicians in Washington, who happen to share a similar disposition, known as the authoritarian personality.

Shortly after the atrocities that took place in Nazi Germany, researchers in the field of psychology attempted to understand what led people to openly display such hideous behavior under fascist rule, including increased levels of anti-Semitism and prejudice against the “other.”  The result of this endeavor was a personality syndrome labeled, the authoritarian personality, which was later turned into a book under the same title, written by Adorno, et al. (1950).   Adorno and colleagues discovered that this personality syndrome was characterized by pro-fascist, antidemocratic attitudes, coupled with complete submission to authority figures.

Modern day polls can also be traced to this time period.  Due to the stranglehold widespread propaganda had on certain elements of the population, and the ease at which the repetition of lies led to blind submission to fascist authority, Gallup and others developed polling techniques to assess public perception.  Today, these techniques are being used by unethical pollsters like Frank Luntz, who craft frames, poll test the language, and focus group approve the final product for use by right wing authoritarian (RWA) politicians, and other true believers to manipulate public perception in favor of this authoritarian ideology.

Right wing authoritarian (RWA) is a personality and ideological variable studied in political, social, and personality psychology. Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to social conventions and norms, and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who don’t adhere to them.  They value uniformity and are in favour of using group authority, including coercion, to achieve it.”

“Authoritarians are generally more favorable to punishment and control than personal freedom and diversity…they are more likely to advocate strict, punitive sentences for criminals, and report that punishing such people is satisfying for them.  They tend to be ethnocentric and prejudiced against racial and ethnic minorities and homosexuals.

History has already proven what is capable of happening when RWA’s are in positions of power, but what many people may not be aware of is that the modern day GOP are right-wing authoritarians!  Simply take a look at the 2012 GOP party platform.  Many of the personality characteristics mentioned above can be seen in the actions taken by GOP lawmakers.  For a glimpse of how this ideological agenda is being carried out, let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

Radical right wing governors across the country are actively implementing laws to discriminate against minority groups by suppressing their right to vote in the upcoming presidential election.  To get people on board with this radical agenda, the frame “voter fraud” was created.

GOP politicians are passing laws to ship our jobs overseas.  The frame used in this case is “illegal immigrants” are taking our jobs.

GOP politicians are passing laws that force us to work for less, and take away our rights to fight back when our wages and pensions are raided by vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney.  This is being framed as “right to work.”

GOP politicians are implementing laws to control women’s reproductive health, framed as “religious freedom.”

GOP politicians are spending taxpayer money to enrich the super wealthy elite, framed as “tax relief.”  Coincidentally, the funneling of taxpayer money to the richest among us is being framed as using taxpayer money to give to “welfare recipients.”

Perhaps even scarier than the GOP taking total control of our government and convincing people with clever framing to vote against their own interests and well being, is the very future of our planet if these RWA’s continue to gain momentum and firmly implement their dangerous ideology.

“In roleplaying situations, authoritarians tend to seek dominance over others by being competitive and destructive instead of cooperative. In a study by Altemeyer, 68 authoritarians played a three hour simulation of the Earth’s future entitled the Global change game. Unlike a comparison game played by individuals with low RWA scores, which resulted in world peace and widespread international cooperation, the simulation by authoritarians became highly militarized and eventually entered the stage of nuclear war. By the end of the high RWA game, the entire population of the earth was declared dead.[15]

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The Solyndra Frame Exposed! How Mitt Romney and the GOP are Framing reality.

In a speech given last Thursday, Mitt Romney broke out the GOP Solyndra frame once again, but this time while standing in front of the now vacant plant in Freemont, California.  His of way of giving people a visual image to go with the framing, perhaps.  In a nutshell, the Solyndra frame involves the literal framing of President Obama for actions that both former President Bush and the ‘wannabe’ president Mitt Romney are guilty of committing, such as giving taxpayer money to wealthy donor friends (ie, Bush tax cuts) and engaging in ‘crony capitalism’ or Mitt Romney’s specialty (ie, vulture capitalism). This type of immoral behavior regularly practiced under the Bush administration and characteristic of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital days were projected onto President Obama during this brief speech.

The very first question asked after three solid minutes of misinforming the public was, “In 2005, President Bush signed the energy policy act that created the government loan guarantee (ie, putting taxpayers on the hook when companies fail) doesn’t he get the blame for this?”

Instead of answering the question, which is based on facts, Mitt Romney continued framing this issue by deflecting attention away from who is truly responsible by making it appear as if President Obama was to blame for the failure of this single company. The untold reality is that the circumstances that led to the use of $535 million dollars of taxpayer money (a mere 1.3% of all loan guarantee amounts) was implemented by former President Bush, hurried along by GOP politicians, and backed by the super-wealthy Walton family, who have donated millions to GOP politicians over the years.

As reported by Stephen Lacey and Richard Caperton, It’s often claimed that the Solyndra loan guarantee was “rushed through” by the Obama administration for political reasons” In fact, the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush administration launched in 2007.”  They go on to note that “Rather than “pushing funds out the door too quickly,” the Obama administration restructured the original loan when it came into office to further protect the taxpayers’ investment.”

This reporting is backed up by Politifact, who noted, “The Energy Department’s loan guarantee program was created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by Bush.”
 To make matters worse, President Bush touted the bill as a success at the time, while using many positive sounding words to provide the illusion of responsible governing.

President Bush: “This bill will strengthen our economy and it will improve our environment, and it’s going to make this country more secure. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is going to help every American who drives to work, every family that pays a power bill, and every small business owner hoping to expand.” What President Bush failed to tell the American people is that this positive sounding language is an intentional act of deception that conceals the GOP’s true intentions of minimizing the risk made by wealthy investors who donate to his campaign, while maximizing the risk to unsuspecting taxpayers. This two-faced political strategy of the GOP involves taking credit for initiatives they frame as strengthening our economy and helping Americans, while blaming the opposition for any market failures that occur as a result of gambling with our tax dollars.

This win-win strategy is a product of the memo Frank “The Liar” Luntz crafted with the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, in the mid 1990’s, called Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.  Ever since then, the GOP began using positive sounding language when describing any social, economic or political position advocated by the GOP, regardless of any immoral or devastating consequences to the public, while simultaneously using negative sounding language when describing any social, economic or political position in opposition to their ideological agenda.

So, when Mitt Romney breaks out the Solyndra frame and says that “It’s a symbol not of success but of failure, and that “the president was taking money from the taxpayer to give freely to his friends”, he is partially correct.  It just so happens the serious conflict of interest and the decision to line the pockets of wealthy donors was a result of the immoral actions committed by Bush, not President Obama. This is what the modern day George Orwell Party (GOP) does.  They literally frame the opposition for actions they are guilty of committing.

When the market fails, or when the immoral and reckless behavior of a select few causes catastrophic conditions for the rest of us, people like Mitt Romney and other corrupt politicians step in and use it to their political advantage by framing the issue, and focus media attention and blame on the very people who are trying to protect the public from the abuses of crony capitalism.

Why Newt Gingrich can’t believe he is not the front-runner for the GOP, especially since he is doing everything right! (to manipulate people, that is)

Newt Gingrich has certainly come a long way since the early 1990’s when he teamed up with Frank “The Liar” Luntz to craft a memo called, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control“, which he then circulated to every member of the Republican Party.  The primary purpose of this memo was to educate fellow GOP members on how to effectively use language to manipulate voters into supporting legislation that is detrimental to their health and well being.  This is accomplished by “framing” issues that are important to the average voter in such a way that demonizes Democratic proposals, (ie, use of negative language) and praising anything put forth by the GOP (ie, use of positive language).

Since then, Newt Gingrich has learned how to perfect this framing technique, or art of manipulation for many of the key issues affecting our livelihood, including how to secure a job (ship them overseas) educating our children, (no need, just reinstitute child labor laws, and have poor kids clean up after the rich kids) providing healthcare to our family members when they get sick (let the for profit insurance companies can handle it) and ensuring our parents and grandparents are taken care of when they retire (take away our safety net by handing over the Social Security purse strings to the Wall Street casino).

In the process of learning how to better himself when it comes to manipulating the rest of us, Newt Gingrich has also become a natural at deflecting attention from his own immoral acts and redirecting the focus on the issues that he wants us to pay attention to by virtue of “framing” them.   A classic example can be seen in the opening Presidential debate when he was asked about his “open marriage” request with regards to his ex-wife.  His response, taken straight out of the memo was, “I think the destructive vicious negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. I’m appalled you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”  He cunningly tried to redirect the focus of this reasonable question by using the “liberal media” frame.

Although the issues he “frames” may appear to make sense on the surface, deep down they actually serve to enrich the most privileged members of our society at the expense of everyone else (ie, the people he is framing).  This is why Newt Gingrich is scratching his head wondering why he is not the front-runner of his party.   After all, he is ahead of his time in the sense that he has learned how to successfully use language to manipulate people into thinking we should reinstate child labor laws, end Medicare, dismantle Medicaid and Social Security, and continue to give our hard-earned money in the form of tax cuts to the upper class in the “privileged sector”, who are benefitting at our expense at every turn.   Can you blame him for not wanting to take credit!  In his mind, the ruling elite he his helping to enrich owe him at least a spot in the White House.

Paul Ryan’s “Path to prosperity” for the upper class is being paved by a “path to poverty” for the rest of us.

Paul Ryan and members of the GOP recently released their budget plan for America.  They are referring to this plan as a “path to prosperity.”  What they really mean is a “path to poverty” for everyone who is not in the top 1%.  After all, in the land of George Orwell, the “path to prosperity” can only mean one thing, it’s opposite, or a “path to poverty.”

This “path to poverty”, or GOP inflected austerity, is destructive to the working poor and middle class in this country, since it transfers wealth from all of “us” to a select few of “them” primarily by eliminating our social safety net.   This is accomplished by taking away guaranteed benefits currently being provided to protect the most vulnerable among us, including the poor, sick, disabled, and elderly populations, in order to give guaranteed benefits to the wealthiest among us, by permanently extending the Bush tax cuts for instance, which will add trillions more to a deficit “they” continue to pile on the backs of everyone else.

The irony is that the George Orwell Party has already “framed” the issue of taking from one group to give to another in their often-repeated “transfer of wealth” frame.  The radical right wing constantly repeats this Orwellian frame to convince the rest of us that Liberal Democrats are somehow taking from the rich to give to the poor.  In reality, the Paul Ryan budget plan and the rest of the GOP is in favor of what you would call Robin Hood in reverse, since their agenda is all about taking from the poor and middle class in order to protect and enrich the upper class.

Interestingly, the GOP’s plan for the money that will be generated by making drastic cuts to vital services affecting the working poor and middle class, such as ending Medicare, and handing over the Social Security trust fund ($2.6 Trillion) to the Wall Street Casino, will not be used to pay down the deficit, but rather to further pave the “path to prosperity” for a select few.  In this sense, Paul Ryan and members of the GOP are not necessarily lying when they say their budget will create a “path to prosperity”, they just left out the part about who will prosper and at who’s expense.

In order to get people on board with taking away guaranteed benefits that have been enormously popular ever since they were first enacted to protect the people from the abuses of the “privileged sector” in the past, the GOP must hide their true intentions by using positive sounding language when describing their budget plan and vision for America, and negative sounding language when describing anything that conflicts with their agenda.  It really is that simple!

In line with the memo Newt Gingrich crafted with the help of Frank Luntz, the GOP is using language such as “save” and “strengthen” in relation to Social Security and Medicare to present the illusion of being in favor of these programs.  In reality, the GOP is adamantly opposed to our social safety net, and regularly refers to such programs that benefit disabled children, the elderly, and the working poor, as “entitlement programs” that should be eliminated.  So, why should we believe Paul Ryan or any other Republican politician in Washington who claim they are in favor of helping our senior citizens, disabled children, and those who are trying to survive on non-livable wages?  The short answer is that we shouldn’t.

 

Poll-tested, Focus group approved! How Frank Luntz manipulates public perception.

The Motto Frank Luntz uses is “Its not what you say, It’s what people hear.”  What this means to Frank Luntz is that he is not manipulating the public if they choose to believe what he says!

In his “dial sessions” Frank Luntz asks people what their deepest thoughts, feelings and emotions are about whatever issue his corporate masters want him to focus on in order to manipulate public opinion to support their radical agenda of maximizing profit at the expense of the people.

Once he discovers how we really feel about these issues, he attempts to “frame” language in such a way that will bring about support for positions favorable to those who are paying him to manipulate public perception.  This is accomplished by using the feedback he receives from one focus group on another group of unsuspecting people in order to test this language to see how well it works!

Once he is confident, based on visually witnessing his manipulation tactics in action, (seen below) Frank Luntz then runs straight to the corporations, GOP, and other members of the “privileged sector” to brag about how well he did his job, and how effectively the use of certain language can be at manipulating people into supporting an agenda that is detrimental to their own well being.

The following clip is a great illustration of Frank Luntz’s dirty work in action!

Watch how excited he gets (like a kid in a candy store) when he discovers what language will work to manipulate the next batch of people with.

“This is going to work, watch. This will work.”

“I told you, the words work, the words apply to the policy, this is how were going to sell it!”

“LOOK AT THIS”, he says.

He then brags to the person interviewing him, “I will be able to walk to this electricity company on Monday and be able to say to them your policy makes sense and here is the language to explain it.”

The next step Frank Luntz takes to ensure he can effectively manipulate public opinion is to cunningly craft questions using the language that worked in the focus groups to create surveys, or polls to further test these frames.  Interestingly, Vice President Joe Biden is catching on to the GOP’s use of such tactics.  Vice President Biden recently gave a speech on C-span where he called out the GOP for their use of Frank Luntz style poll-tested language to sell Paul Ryan’s “path to prosperity” for the top 1% plan.  After all, he says, “today’s new Republican party is fixed on one thing, additional tax cuts for the very wealthy.”

The feedback Frank Luntz receives from both the poll-tested language and focus groups are later used against the public at large through the right wing echo chamber.  This is where all forces unite, so to speak, against the public, in a well-coordinated fashion to endlessly repeat (ie, echo) the latest batch of Frank Luntz “frames.”  The echo chamber consists of the corporately controlled media, radical right wing talk show hosts, and members of the GOP, all of whom are ‘believers’ in this radical agenda of placing profit over people.

Since this agenda primarily benefits the “privileged sector”, or those in the top 1%, Frank “The Liar” Luntz’s services are required in order to manipulate public opinion in favor of this radical agenda by creating the perception that the status quo of income inequality is somehow good for us, despite actual evidence based research that proves the opposite.  In this sense, the “frames” Frank Luntz ends up crafting are Orwellian in nature, since the exact opposite of what the frame suggests is true!

A prime example is the “liberal media” frame.  In reality, a handful of corporations control the media, including what we read in newspapers, see on television (particularly Fox news), and hear and the radio (90% of which is right wing).  Therefore, what we have in this country is a “corporate media” that benefits the radical right wing, not a media that is controlled by the left, which is what the Orwellian “liberal media” frame suggests.

Making the facts fit the frame: Cherry picking biased data to make the claim that union members support “Right to work” legislation.

The National Right to Work Committee, a right wing group, recently cited a single question from an 18-page survey conducted by Frank “The Liar” Luntz as proof that union workers support “right to work” legislation.

For those who are unaware, Frank Luntz is the guy who specializes in the creation and use of deceptive language to convince the general public to vote against their self-interest by supporting bad legislation.

“Here is the question Luntz’ pollsters asked union members across the country…”

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “Workers should have the right to decide whether to join a union. They should never be forced or coerced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.”

Responses to this single survey question was offered as proof that 80% of union members agree that right-to-work is the best policy.

Wait a minute!!  Notice the obvious deception in trying to convince us that “right to work” literally means forcing someone to join a union.

Hopefully, people can see that this question is framed in such a way as to practically guarantee the desired response.  Responses that are then used to justify the implementation of a radical piece of legislation that will take away the very rights and freedoms the GOP (George Orwell Party) claim to be in favor of protecting.

It is important to point out this survey conducted by Frank “The Liar” Luntz was commissioned by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who’s motto is “Defending America’s workers from the abuses of compulsory unionism since 1968”

With a slogan like this, no wonder why they commissioned a professional liar to make sure their biased “facts” fit the frame.

Radical right wing groups who conjure up and then use this framed data are trying to convince the rest of us to support “right to work” laws because it will make it illegal to force people to join a union.

Think of how absurd this sounds.  The “right to work” frame claims that it is protecting someone’s right to not join a union.   If someone doesn’t want to work for a union, then they simply will not apply for a union position.  Case closed.  No one is forced to work for a union in this country.  (Hence the need for a frame that says otherwise)

In reality, if “right to work” laws pass, our right to work for a union will be taken away, and “we the people” will not be able to join or form a union to protect ourselves against the abuses of vulture capitalism.  So, when these corporate vultures decide to lower our wages, reduce our benefits, phase out our pension plans, and reduce or eliminate safety standards in the workplace, (all of which are occurring in states that have adopted “right to work” laws), we will be defenseless to stop it!

As can be seen by this chart on the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s website, the radical right wing is winning the war against workers in this country.  The “right to work” frame is being used, along with Frank Luntz’s cherry picked data to systematically take away people’s rights all over the country to join or form unions to protect themselves against the abuses being inflicted upon them in their respective states.

 

 

Newt Gingrich holding true to the memo he crafted with Frank Luntz

By now many people are aware of Newt’s Gingrich’s preference for multiple partners while being married, or as his 2nd wife put it, “he wanted an open marriage.”  She should know.  After all, Newt cheated on his 1st wife with her!

Since this story broke right before the South Carolina primary, it was inevitable that he would receive a question regarding the claims made by his 2nd wife.

The question he was asked was, “At a time when you were having an affair, you came to her and asked her for an open marriage.” Would you care to comment on that?

Holding true to the memo he crafted with the help of Frank “The Liar” Luntz, watch how he applies what he learned by completely avoiding the question.  Instead, he resorts to using negative language to blast the commentator for asking the question, and purposely distracts our attention away from his adulterous acts by focusing on the classic “liberal media” frame.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich circulated a memo entitled, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.”

This memo describes how Republicans should talk about themselves using positive words such as, moral, lead, courage, reform, vision, success, family, prosperity, and hard-work.

What a coincidence.  Newt Gingrich portrays himself as a family man with morals, who has vision and is able to lead us into prosperity by encouraging hard work.

Interestingly, this memo also describes how Republicans should talk about their opponents by using words that actually describe the behavior of radical conservatives, such as destructive, abuse of power, corrupt, cheat, selfish, greed, intolerant, steal, disgrace, and shame to name a few.

What better way to distract from your radical views and behavior than to ‘frame’ the opposition for your actions.

By the way, Newt Gingrich was the one who led the charge to impeach former President Bill Clinton for actions similar to his own.  Talk about hypocrisy!

On a less serious note, take a look at Stephen Colbert’s take on Newt Gingrich’s immoral behavior.

 

Watch how Frank Luntz, the guy who lies for a living, manipulates the public.

Who is Frank Luntz?  Briefly, he is the guy responsible for crafting specific language that is intended to guide our thinking in a certain direction.  This language is then repeated over and over on Fox news and other corporately controlled media outlets until others start repeating it and it becomes common knowledge.   This is what is called framing, in a nutshell, and works similar to schemas in psychology.

To see Frank “The Liar” Luntz’s work in action, check out the frame he created to direct our attention away from providing health care to our citizens in favor of thinking that this type of legislation would allow Government to stand between you and your doctor.  (which is precisely what insurance companies do)

This video SAYS it all!  (GOP parrots Frank Luntz)

This isn’t the only frame this guy is responsible for.

Frank “The Liar” Luntz is responsible for much of the misinformation and out-right lies about a host of issues from health care reform, framed as “Government take-over of healthcare”, global warming framed as “climate change”, immigration issues, framed as “illegal immigration” and budget and tax policy, framed as “tax relief”.

These are a few of his latest and greatest hits, revealing how he gets paid to lie for a living, and manipulate the public to hate each other, vote against their self-interest, and perpetuate a system of income inequality that transfers wealth from the middle-class and working poor up to the very people who pay Frank Luntz to lie for a living.

Who are these people?  Those in the top 0.1%, who benefit enormously by exploiting the shit out of us!

With the help of this Liar, we are being manipulated by framing to blame poor people and immigrants for destroying our economy and taking our jobs, to vote against life saving protections of the air we breathe and water we drink, for providing all citizens with healthcare, and to provide corporate welfare and more of our tax dollars to the very corporations and exorbitantly wealth people who stand to benefit by perpetuating all of the lies Frank Luntz helps to create.

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