Here’s another observation relating to the importance of framing and controlling first impressions. Drew Westen, a psychology professor at Emory University, has written an article outlining how the Obama campaign needs to get their framing of the McCain-Palin ticket out there before the Republicans are able to deliver their own message at the RNC.
As I have noted previously in talking about the impact of false information, perceptions tend to stick once they have been created, and attempts to amend them can actually have a negative effect when the original information is repeated. While this is true of false propositions (e.g., that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11, or that John McCain had an illegitimate black child) and can be used maliciously, it is also true in terms of framing – the attempt to present factual information to emphasise the issues that are to your advantage and minimise the negative impact of that information. Westen has set out some of the ways that the Democrats can use to frame McCain’s choice of Palin as a bad one – naturally, the Republicans will try to frame them as a strong team. While it is not the only thing, the timing of getting these narratives out there will be an important factor in deciding their effectiveness.