Trial lawyers and framing issues

I’ve posted on this blog before about how important framing is for trial lawyers when it comes to the issues in a case. What we call it and how we refer to it can create an immediate reaction to the issue. That’s what framing is all about.

This is not something new. For over eight years during the Bush administration we read and heard about how important it was for Karl Rove and Frank Luntz to figure out how to frame issues. The Republicans were masters at the the skill. The Bush administration had the good sense to label bills with titles like "leave no child behind" or "death tax exemption." The latter wasa new frame by Frank Luntz after "inheritance tax" proved tocommunicate it was a tax that the ordinary taxpayer didn’t have to worry about – only the rich. To get the bill passed exempting inheritance taxes,it was reframed to "deathtax" because studies indicated every taxpayer understood that it would apply to them, rich or poor. Public opinion about a law exempting estate taxes changed to favorable once the bill waspresentedwith a new frame. In spite of all the publication about this important subject and the writings of Dr. LakoffrecommendingDemocrats apply the technique, I don’t think theygetit.Iagree with this observation from a recent blog:

"Concurrently, Democrats, liberals and progressives, for all we’ve learned in the last eight years, are losing the framing battle — "stimulus package" sounds like a weird service offered at a porn store and, in that context, a trillion dollar "stimulus package" sounds, you know, painful."

When are the Democrats, and trial lawyers, going to learn the importance of framing?

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