STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “Ed Shultz”

Government programs are working to benefit nearly half of all Americans, so radical Conservatives are trying to put a end to this by “Framing” them as “Entitlement programs” that should be eliminated.

Ed Shultz did a segment last Friday on the Ed show highlighting our lack of knowledge when in comes to the role of Government in providing benefits to average working families, called what Government programs?

As is turns out, 48.5% of Americans, nearly half of all people in this country benefit from Government programs.  The problem is that the very people receiving these benefits are not aware of it!

According to a New York Times poll, 44% of people receiving Social Security, 43% of people receiving unemployment benefits, and 40% of people receiving Medicare benefits claimed they have not used a government program. As correctly pointed out by Ed Shultz, “almost half of the people who collect these entitlements do not recognize that they are using Government programs, and Republican candidates feed off of their lack of awareness”

This is accomplished through “framing.”  The social safety net benefits described above, as well as other middle class benefits are being framed as “entitlements” in order to convince people to vote against their own well being by supporting the elimination of these so called, “entitlement programs.”  The “entitlement program” frame suggests that your hard-working tax dollars are funding the bad habits of lazy people who don’t want to work!  Even worse, this frame suggests that the Government is behind this effort to weaken our nation by giving people things they feel entitled to rather than requiring them to earn it like everybody else.

Let’s forget for the moment that entitlements like Social Security, for instance, are called entitlements for a reason.   Working people pay into this Government program their entire lives, and thus are ‘entitled’ to receive these benefits when they retire.  Despite this reality, the word entitlement is literally being redefined by the radical right wing in this country to fit the frame described above in order to justify the elimination of any benefit not going to the top 1%.

Watch how effective this framing effort has become.  Pay particular attention to how the rhetoric of the “entitlement program” frame is used to convince people that the benefits half of us unknowingly receive and depend upon are somehow destroying America.

Mitt Romney – “Even if we could afford the ever expanding payments of an entitlement society, it is a fundamental corruption of the American spirit.

Rick Perry – “I will work every day to try to make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can”

Newt Gingrich –  “It is the left, which has abandoned and betrayed the poor, because its safety net is actually a spider-web and it traps people in dependency.

Michelle Bachman – “Were deluding ourselves if were embracing a dependency culture.”

Rick Santorum – “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

If only the people in the NY times poll knew that these radical Conservative politicians were talking about them!

Ezra Klein pointed out in this segment that, in some cases, “The most expensive Government programs are not the one’s for the poor,” but involve other benefits such as home mortgage interest rate deductions, and not paying taxes on employer provided healthcare benefits.  These are benefits that most people don’t even think of as Government programs.

The problem is that we are not aware of these facts!  Instead, we are becoming aware of the frames, which are repeated constantly on Fox news and other corporately controlled media outlets for the sole purpose of convincing us to vote against our self-interest by supporting Government programs that will strip us of these benefits, and shift costs from big businesses and the super-wealthy to average working families.  If the frames are successful at convincing people, then we will soon have no social safety net, we will pay even more for healthcare costs, and we will not be able to deduct our mortgage interest during tax season, among other benefits we do not currently recognize as being a result of Government programs.

 

 

Marco Rubio attempts to “frame” our social safety net as weakening our nation. Who really has a sense of entitlement?

Ed Shultz pointed out the other night on his show how Marco Rubio accused our cherished Government institutions such as Social security, Medicare and Medicaid, as weakening our nation.  This is an example of an Orwellian style frame designed to convince us of the opposite of reality.  In reality, these programs are examples of social safety nets originally put in place by President Roosevelt shortly after the ‘great depression’ to protect the citizens of this country (all of “us”) from exploitation by a select few of “them”.

We pay into programs like social security with our own money, and thus are ‘entitled’ to receive this money when we retire from working our entire lives.  Programs like this help make us stronger as a nation due to the financial security it provides in later years, not to mention maintaining a vibrant middle class.  It also serves to protect us from a select few at the top who seek to do us harm.

But this is not the story you may have heard or are being told by advocates of the top .1% in this country, such as political pundits and right-wing radio talk show hosts, who pander to the richest among us.  These individuals are actively trying to convince us of an alternate reality, a framed version of reality that involves a belief that Government programs are making us weaker as a nation.

Programs that help strengthen and protect working families, the sick, the poor and the elderly are presented as being inefficient and ultimately rewarding laziness.  We are being convinced that protecting and caring for our sick children, and providing a social safety net for our grandparents must be cut down in size in order to stop those who feel ‘entitled’ to something they didn’t earn.

This frame is also used to justify the current austerity measures being inflicted across the nation by implying that those benefiting from these programs (nearly all of us) are somehow contributing to the moral and cultural decay of our nation.  In reality, the real cause of our nation becoming weaker is a direct result of the sense of entitlement felt by the top .1% in this country, which produces income inequality, and truly represents the weakening and moral decay of our social fabric (see about section).

The newly elected extreme right-wing state Governors are telling us that we are broke and need to cut vital public services that we each depend on daily.  In addition, our jobs are slashed, our wages reduced, our work hours extended, our benefits and pensions cut, all so we can transfer wealth up to the ruling class, who believe they are entitled to receive it! The plain, but ugly truth is that there is a class war in this country, and “they” do not care about all of “us”.   The super-rich in this country are extremely selfish and believe they are entitled to all of the wealth created in this country.  Take a look at this trend.

As can be seen in this graph, nearly all of the wealth generated in this country is going straight to the top .1%.  In order to continue this trend, and extract wealth from all of us, they spend billions of dollars in think tanks and language experts to devise appropriate frames to convince all of us to believe in the opposite of reality, or what I call a framed version of reality.  In this sense, the poorest among us are literally framed for the actions of the richest among us, and the rest of us are framed linguistically to believe it.

The bottom line: The poorest among us are blamed for having a sense of entitlement instead of the richest among us, and this belief is repeated over and over on the corporately owned media with the sole purpose of convincing us of this framed reality.

So, are we weaker as a nation due to a sense of entitlement?  Actually, yes!  However, as indicated above, there are two versions of reality.  In the framed version of reality, the poorest among us are causing all of our problems, and in plain old reality, the richest among us are to blame.

The key to stopping this madness is to first recognize that we are being framed!  The Government institutions discussed above are vital to our strength as a nation and should be upheld and fought for, just as they initially were when implemented.

Second, we should call out the political pundits and right wing talk show hosts whenever they use these frames against us.  Simply turn on fox news on any given day, or listen to right-wing talk radio and post a comment, or send me an email (stopframingus@gmail.com) and let’s get the discussion going.

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