McCain Ad Looks to Break the "Spiral of Silence" Among Hillary Supporters
A McCain ad released today features a former Clinton delegate telling fellow Hillary supporters that she plans to vote for John McCain and it's okay for them to do so too.
Strategically, the TV spot looks to break what communication researchers call the "spiral of silence" phenomena, the tendency for a person to be less likely to voice an opinion on a topic if the individual feels that they are in the minority, for fear of reprisal or isolation from that majority. Derived in part from the classic Asch and Milgram conformity experiments, the theory holds that when individuals form an opinion and/or decide to voice that opinion, they scan their environment for what might be the majority position and often conform their opinion to that position.
Yet the problem is that most people are not very good at accurately figuring out what majority opinion might be. And often times, news coverage and media presentations shape or skew that perception.
In this particular McCain ad, the strategy is to communicate to Hillary supporters that others like them are shifting their allegiances to McCain, shaping the perception among this reference group of what might be the majority norm. If the Obama team is not able to send a very strong and concentrated rival message of common unity during this convention week, look for this advertising strategy to be very effective.
Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.
- During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
- If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.
- SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
- A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
- A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
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