November 26, 2002

Wrong label, wrong expectations…

Was part of the problem with the Wellstone memorial an improper labeling of the event? According to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, the correct name for what happened in the sports arena was “celebration,” not “memorial.” People tuned in to C-SPAN expecting a funeral and saw what evolved into a political rally. How might public perception have been different if another word had been used? I would argue that billing it as a “celebration” would have created an entirely different set of expectations. And, it’s not likely that Trent Lott would have attended a “celebration,” thus sparing him and the Democrats the ugliness of the crowd’s booing. In the end, I’m simply surprised the Democrats didn’t see this coming. Where was the competent political/rhetorical advice?

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