Thursday, July 30, 2015

Donald Trump Explains How to Reframe the Conversation With a Reporter

“When a reporter asks me a tough question, I try to frame a positive answer, even if that means shifting the ground. For example, if someone asks me what negative effects the world’s tallest building might have on the West Side, I turn the tables and talk about how New Yorkers deserve the world’s tallest building, and what a boost it will give the city to have that honor again. When a reporter asks why I build only for the rich, I note that the rich aren’t the only ones who benefit from my buildings. I explain that I put thousands of people to work who might otherwise be collecting unemployment, and that I add to the city’s tax base every time I build a new project.”

How Donald Trump Plays the Press, in His Own Words

Addendum (9/5/2015): And here’s how his reframes the conversation about his competitors:

“Trump is proving to be an extraordinarily powerful orator. The power is not in the arguments he makes, but in the feelings he evokes and the power relations he implies. ‘What went wrong formerly,’ wrote Bertrand Russell in 1952, ‘was that people had read in books that man is a rational animal, and framed their arguments on this hypothesis. We now know that limelight and a brass band do more to persuade than can be done by the most elegant train of syllogisms’…

“We who don’t much read Cicero anymore can forget that contumely, not logic, is the weapon of choice in classical oratory. Trump never mentions Jeb Bush without describing him as ‘low-energy’ (‘a very low-energy person,’ he said in Dubuque). The adjective never varies. Trump does not ever say Bush ‘lacks oomph’ or ‘has no get-up-and-go’ because his goal is not to be smart or varied or interesting—it is to plaster ‘low-energy’ onto Bush as an epithet.