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Evaluating political language in the age of information overload

Wednesday, 11 March 2014

Seeing the amount of spending on political advertising rise to historic levels is certainly cause for serious concern, but perhaps even more threatening to the future of our democracy is the effect these messages have on our psyche. How are we to navigate the morass of messaging we are bombarded with from all sides of the political spectrum, the sole aim of which is to change or strengthen our opinions and biases about x, y, and z, when our minds have been attrited into a catatonic stupor?

I would like to propose that media literacy has actually gotten easier, not more difficult in the current political climate. It isn’t cynicism that brings me to this conclusion. It’s the realization that at the end of the day, there are only a few variables that reliably affect the opinions of the “average citizen”. You might be thinking, “It’s all about the money.” And it is, but there are two important concepts you need to keep in mind when evaluating political language.

Have you ever asked yourself how you form opinions about a particular issue or candidate, or what it would take for you to change your mind about the candidate or issue? The two most significant variables that are likely to affect your opinions about “Candidate X” or “Referendum A” are (more…)

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