Show respect for the other side.

Unite with others who generally share your values. Be willing to compromise with coalition mem- bers to maintain a united front

and communication strategy.

Be proactive, not reactive. Play

offense, not defense.

Display controlled passion and

dignity in making your case.

Find stories where your frame

connects with the audience.

The Ethics of Framing

In addition to providing guide- lines for engaging in debate, the author makes some important dis- tinctions between two unethical practices in framing issues—spin and propaganda. He defines “spin” as put- ting “an innocent frame on an embarrassing occurrence to make it sound normal or good.” Propaganda is “an attempt to get the public to adopt a frame that is not true and is known not to be true, for the purpos- es of gaining or maintaining political control.” Deceptive framing is often used to cover up a weakness in the advocate’s position. Some organiza- tions, for example, call their new and reduced health insurance benefits package the “security plus” health plan. The phrase conjures up images of enhanced health protection, when in reality employees are paying more and receiving less. In Lakoff’s words, “Deceptive framing is not only repre- hensible, but usually breeds cynicism and reduced credibility.’ Authentic framing, on the other hand, conveys genuine values and beliefs in support

of a course of action. Martin Luther

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, for

example, envisioned a country where

the “Black men and white men, Jews

and Gentiles, and

Protestants Catholics will join hands” to cele- brate a new condition of freedom in our country. His authentic use of lan- guage changed our country forever.

This book is clearly a partisan treatise that may, at times, oversimpli- fy and misrepresent conservative positions. Nonetheless, it provides valuable insight about the art and sci- ence of framing messages for political advantage. Lakoff teaches us that “frames trump facts” and that pre- senting genuinely felt values that link to people’s identity is a powerful means for building support.

In the world of public adminis- tration, extraordinary leaders need to assess changing external conditions, formulate missions and visions, repo- sition priorities, reorganize struc- tures, build a winning culture, rede- ploy staff, build networks of copro- ducers, and create new human resource and information technology systems, among other actions. Given these responsibilities, authentic fram- ing is an additional tool for building support to generate meaningful change. A change initiative can be framed in terms of enhancing citizen value, preserving democracy, building organization capacity, and giving meaning to one’s professional life. A

skillfully framed message can tap into

an employee’s identity as steward of

the public interest, who works with a sense of pride to create meaningful results. George Lakoff’s book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, is a reasonably good choice if your goal is to learn how to strategically express values that attract a following and unite

people in pursuit of worthy goals.

the Public


Index to Volume 34 Issue 1, Spring 2005; Issue 2, Summer 2005 Issue 3, Fall 2005; Issue 4, Winter 2005-06

Author Index Issue/Page Bailey, Margo 1/8 Baker, David L 4/31 Bayat, M.S 2/15 Blake, Richard 2/43 Bunker, Kerry A 4/9 Caulkins, Jonathan P. 1/22 Chakrabarti, Oisika 2/56 Ciconte, Barbara L 1/16 de Barbieri, Mary Ann 1/13 Dzuray, Emil J 4/22 Douglas, Judy 2/54 Edwards, Amy 3/61 Ferreira, |.W 2/15 Fillichio Carl 2/51 Gill, Tony 3/26 Ginn, Marshall H 1/11 Goldstein, Rachel 3/49 Grimaldi 1/54, 2/61, 3/64, 4/62 Helgason, Kristinn 4/42 Hyde, A.C 1/3, 1/57, 1/61, 1/62 Jackson, Rick 1/40 Klareskov, Vilhelm 4/42 Kenny, Brooks B 1/19 Kissane, Jonathan M 2/4 Kluver, Jodie 4/16 Laubsch, Paulette 2/43 Leuenberger, Deniz Z 4/16 Long-Green, Alethea 1/28 Mameli, Peter A 2/27

Aaster, Warren 1/2, 2/3, 3/1, 4/1 McGinnis, Patricia 4/60 Mendis, Patrick 3/3 Miller, Geralyn M 2/47 Morrison, Erica L 1/22 Mortlock, Mick 3/9 Naff, Katherine C 1/59 Nathanson, Philip 3/42 Pettibone, Craig 1/51 Phillips, Dale 2/32 Pinteric, Uros 4/27 Pizzella, Patrick 2/37 Plant, Jeremy 3/13 Raga, Kishore 2/22 Rasmussen, Jill C 1/19 Romito, Joe 3/32 Runde, Dan 4/38 Sanow, Susan 1/7 Saxton, Gregory D 1/34 Shiplett, Myra Howze 1/26 Shipman, Stephanie 3/53 Spahr, Adrienne 4/14 Stier, Max 4/55 Stone, Steve J 4/22 Taylor, Derek 2/22 Trahant, Bill 4/49 Vivadelli, John H 3/20 Wakefield, Michael 4/9 Walker, David , 2/10 Weeks, Dale 4/3 Weidemann, Timothy 1/22 Yearout, Steve 4/49 Yi, Hyong 1/62 Zauderer, Donald G 1/44, 4/65


Title Index Issue/Page