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Checklist for Pundits

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 10, 2011 @ 9:00 am In Humor,Philosophy,Politics | Comments Disabled

The recent shootings in Arizona came after some very heated and ugly rhetoric from the extreme ends of the political spectrum.

Do these folks understand the environment their words create?

Perhaps a checklist might be useful for those who might not be aware of what the impact of their inappropriate language is on the public.

The people driving our political discourse and policy debate should use the following checklist before giving your next speech, airing your political advertisements, even before your next Tweet! It will improve your communications, and be good for the country!

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The Speaker is:
❒ Elected Official
❒ Political Candidate
❒ Radio Pundit
❒ Blogger
❒ Anonymous Troll

Kind of Rhetoric:
❒ Eloquent Statesmanship
❒ Inspirational Poetry
❒ Malicious Libel
❒ Incitement to Violence
❒ 4th Grade English

Dominant emotional appeal:
❒ Prideful Nationalism
❒ Fear & Confusion
❒ Resignation, Despair
❒ Blind Rage
❒ Please make it stop . . .

Underlying Message:
❒ “Ask not what your country can do for you…”
❒ “I Have A Dream”
❒ “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself ”
❒ “Duty, Honor, Country”
❒ “Reload”

Expected Public Reaction
❒ Intelligent Debate
❒ Collective Sacrifice
❒ Reach for Greatness
❒ Mindless repetition
❒ Blind Obedience

Intended Effects
❒ A Call to action
❒ The Demonization of Opponents
❒ Brand Recognition
❒ Coalition Building
❒ A Reality TV Series Deal

In an ideal world, the speech would generate:
❒ Civil discourse
❒ Respect for political process and opponents
❒ Factually accurate debate
❒ Peace in our time
❒ The End of the World as we know it . . .”


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