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Michael Erard

Reframing the Ordinary with Metaphors

by Michael Erard April 22, 2013 Framer Reads the News

There are some ordinary things in life that you think don’t need a metaphor. But once you hear the metaphor, it helps you see the ordinary in a whole new way. I found two cases that recently floated across my social media radar that are not only presented well, but are also immediately evident in [...]

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The Wedginess of Communicating Statistics

by Michael Erard February 14, 2013 Framer Reads the News

You may have noticed that scientists – as well as other professionals – frequently point to, write, talk, think about, and argue in terms of graphs, charts, and other visualizations of data. Sometimes, these visualizations are complex enough that they need to be explained, and in some cases, those explanations themselves give shape to the [...]

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Framing Social Media for Learning – A Positive Example

by Michael Erard December 23, 2011 Framer Reads the News

Our research has shown that the media often publish stories about the perils of living in a digital world. However, we found a very encouraging example that indicates how to positively frame digital media use for students. In a recent article in the New York Times, a high school English teacher talks about the role [...]

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The Defenseless Metaphor: Pyramid of Life

by Michael Erard July 21, 2011 Metaphor Man

If Metaphor Man were a real superhero, surely one of his tasks would be to deliver justice on behalf of misused metaphors. One such metaphor, the “pyramid of life,” was unfairly maligned in a New York Times editorial on Tuesday about predator-prey relationships in the animal world. “Like most simple metaphors, this one has a perceptual [...]

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Metaphor Man: Comments on David Brooks’ metaphor column

by Michael Erard April 15, 2011 Metaphor Man

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently promoted the importance of metaphor in his April 11th column. “Metaphors are not rhetorical frills at the edge of how we think,” Brooks wrote, “They are at the very heart of it.” To anyone who has learned and uses Strategic Frame Analysis and who has come to share [...]

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Frank Luntz and the “so-called government option”

by Michael Erard December 22, 2010 Framer Reads the News

We don’t expect Frank Luntz, GOP pollster and message maven, to do our work for us — in fact, he’s often working in the opposite direction, and for political clients (which we don’t do). But he inadvertently confirmed some of our findings on government and budgets and taxes, that talking about “public structures” and “public [...]

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Metaphor Man: “A Wall Between Church and State”

by Michael Erard November 11, 2010 Metaphor Man

The debates in this most recent election cycle about the separation of church and state, and its presence or lack thereof in the Constitution, caused Metaphor Man to notice this comment on the Talking Points Memo blog. It traces the history of the metaphor of the wall separating church and state. This metaphor is attributed [...]

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Metaphor Man: Mixing Metaphors

by Michael Erard October 1, 2010 Metaphor Man

Colin Powell’s name recently crossed Metaphor Man’s email inbox, after his appearance on “Meet the Press” in which he was accused by Politico of “mixing his metaphors.”  What Powell said, verbatim, is this: “[T]he President … has to, I think, shift the way in which he has been doing things. I think the American people [...]

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