Siliconcowboy's Blog

Technology, journalism, social media and social responsibility

In Politics, Tone is Everything

If you’ve ever engaged in a political discussion online, you’re probably familiar with the situation where your opponent makes a claim about your candidate or subject, causing you to Google up a response…only to find that they appear to be right.

Have no fear, there is a simple solution.

Just turn the statement around.

For instance, let’s say your opponent’s position is that “the economy is worse under Obama.”

If you try to argue against this position by Googling it up, all your are going to find is articles – lots of them, in fact – that support your opponent’s contention.

But if you turn the statement around to say “the economy is better under Obama,” you’ll just as quickly find plenty of supporting articles for this position as well.

In political discussions, tone is everything.

In fact, political parties are sufficiently aware of this phenomenon that they often attempt to game the results by republishing major articles and posting opinion pieces that specifically use common phrasing for political discussion.  To carry that even further, political strategists try to tease out political discussions that will produce searchable claims with sufficient virality to surface huge SEO hits.

Of course, all of this strategy goes in the circular file if your candidate has a habitof  flip flopping on the issues.

And while it might be tempting to simply use this concept as a rule of thumb in political discussions … e.g., turn the phrase around when you search for answers … keep in mind that you’re likely to encounter answers that have been strongly slanted in favor of your position, just as your opponent likely pulled his claim from a political party’s talking points.

If you really want a challenge, go from the gut. Search on a concept that you think carries weight, and see what you come up with.  You may well uncover an angle that represents an agreeable compromise that the politician simply aren’t discussing.

After all, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how YOU play the game.

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This entry was posted on May 2, 2012 by in Art of Communication.
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