Thursday, March 18, 2021

Honey v. Vinegar

I agree Trump should endorse the covid vaccines. I don't agree that his endorsement means all that much to his "supporters". (I put the word in quotes because the group runs the gamut from Q-Anon and Proud Boys to people just angry about...well, we'll see in a moment.)

NPR ran a story yesterday about Frank Luntz conducting a focus group  of people who have vowed never to get the vaccine (one participant, in fact, had been sick already, as had her husband.  Still, they swore off the vaccine.).  Luntz spent 2 hours with them, presenting the ad by the former Presidents, presenting infromation from doctors, etc.  The ads swayed no one:  some were insulted by them, insisting the Presidents were trying to tell them what to do, or it was "propaganda."  By the end of the two hours with Luntz, however, some minds were changed.

Why?  Because they felt they'd been listened to; or simply had things explained without being told what to do.  (I know; it's the reaction of adolescents, not adults.  But real life really is just high school stretched out to the grave.)  They had relaxed about the subject (which has been made too political, but this is America; even apple pie is political).  I have my own idea why that happened.  I think it was because they were getting information from sources other than FoxNews or possibly Facebook or even Twitter.  They were getting information without commentary, and they were reasonable human beings (well, as reasonable as you and I; right?) who reacted to reasoned presentations with....acceptance.  No, they didn't suddenly subscribe to "The Nation" and pledge to NPR and take out subscriptions to the New York Times.

But they felt listened to; and they heard, probably for the first time, real medical information presented by people whose only concern was to inform and educate, rather than harangue and argue (the most effective method of indoctrination is argument.  Not at someome, to someone.  Limbaugh was quite good at arguing to his audience; he never argued at them.).

Could Trump sway some minds?  Probably no more than Biden, Carter, Bush, and Obama already have.  Could more people be reached just be giving them more information, calmly and clearly?

Seem so.

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