on presence and narrative frame in reporting

One of the most helpful things I ever learned about communication is the significance of presence, that is, what receives attention and focus and how that shapes what is communicated. Visual representation of events is especially important for presence. A large group of people can be completely misunderstood if the published photograph gives presence to a tangential feature of the gathering.

A related issue has become known by the phrase “narrative framing,” largely associated with Berkeley professor George Lakoff, where the emphasis is on using terminology that buttresses the position being advanced and attempting to exclude terminology that opens the door to considerations of opposing points of view. Thus any subject that might lead to an examination and subversion of one’s point of view must be avoided (i.e., afforded no presence) and deflected into something that supports it.

That strategy has been vividly displayed this week in the focus of the establishment media:

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