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What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorDecember 6, 2013 11:16 PM


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And so...

after a decade in which Americans are listening to you less and less, these warnings have to get more shrill just to have an impact -- which, of course, only undercuts the reputation and credibility of those speaking so shrilly.

I know who and what you think this is in reference to. Actually, it's an observation on neoconservative communication, from the always-astute Daniel Drezner, at his Foreign Policy blog. But it sure can apply to other political and policy realms, where a similar communication pattern has played out. Along those lines, it's worth revisiting a piece of advice from this excellent 2010 paper:

research suggests that people can become “numbed” by overuse of emotional appeals and that they can only worry about a limited set of issues (a “finite pool of worry”; Linville and Fischer 1991; Weber 2006). Thus, although vivid images and concrete outcomes are important when presenting the science, one should use them judiciously. Overuse may have the unintended consequence of leaving the audience overwhelmed and thus unwilling to take any action on what they perceive as fait accompli.

Speaking of which, what do you think will happen when the New Normal frame becomes...well, not so new after a while?

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