So, the reporter from the LA Times started with this question, “Why do you think the cable TV people are using the Internet to fight the government’s attempts to expand their crackdown on broadcast indency to cable?”
That’s when you know which side has already won the debate.
How can you be against indency? How can you argue against a crackdown?
Would the question have been just as accurate if it had been, “Why do you think the cable TV people are using the Internet to fight the government’s assault on the first amendment as it tries to censor and control what adults choose to watch on paid TV in the privacy of their homes?”
It’s easy to assume that I’m just playing with words here. I’m not. The words that are used in any debate are at the heart of the story we tell ourselves.
One side often tries to rely on facts, on the truth, on what’s right. The other side tells a story that fits our worldview. Who wins?
The storytellers will win every time.
Try for a moment to divorce the way you feel about this issue (personally, I’m sort of ambivalent) and take a look at the tactics. They are precisely the tactics that a wi-fi router manufacturer needs to use, or someone searching for a job.
Yes, it feels Orwellian. It doesn’t seem fair that it’s not just good enough to be correct or qualified or the best value. That’s not even close to what it takes to succeed in today’s marketplace of ideas. Instead, you must frame your message in a way that gives people a story that matches their worldview.
I heard a spokesperson for the governor of Missouri on the radio today. She was supporting the governor’s claim that eliminating Medicaid in Missouri was a moral, socially acceptable act of generosity. She explained how unfair it was for taxpayers to subsidize health care for the poor, and that in fact, eliminating health care for the poor might be quite positive because it would encourage people to go out and get a job. She did this in a calm and reasonable manner, and you could hear the foundation being built. After all, how can you be against people going out and getting a job? How can you be against people keeping their own money… If this story fits your worldview, I’m sure it sounds reasonable and believable. If it doesn’t, the story won’t persuade you. That’s the way marketing works–you don’t persuade people with your story, you just give people who already agree with you the tools they need to persaude their friends.