Claremont Insider: Repetition is the Soul of Wit

Monday, November 1, 2010

Repetition is the Soul of Wit

Measure CL Propaganda

We are sure everyone in Claremont has experienced it. That sense of deja vu when you go to your mailbox, open up the latest CUSD Measure CL mailer, and read the same, old, and by now tired messages. You definitely have the feeling you've read this stuff somewhere before.

"Where's the beef?", you are probably asking yourself. Well, there's not much protein in these political mail pieces, animal, vegetarian, or vegan. There's a lot of saccharin and bromide though.

So you wouldn't have to do it, we went through the nine mailers shown above. We tallied the occurrences and re-occurrences of the messages in the mailers. Most of the time the language was identical. Occasionally, either by mistake, fatigue, ennui, or design the ad-writer threw in a different word. We attempted to be accurate but truth be told, our eyes were glazing over towards the end of this project.

One-sided Messaging or,

$135,000 from Special Interests
Is Not Quite Enough
for Us to Tell the Full Story

Here, in rank order are the top 12 messages (of about 50):

1. Local funding: 12 mentions
2. State an unreliable partner: 10 mentions
3. Protect property values: 9 mentions
4. Replace outdated wiring/fire alarms: 9 mentions
5. Safety: 9 mentions
6. Upgrade classrooms/libraries/labs w/ 21st C technology: 9 mentions
7. Attract/retain great teachers: 9 mentions
8. No money for administrators' salaries: 8 mentions
9. Pay off/Refi old leases and debts, usually paired with offset state cuts: 7 mentions each
10. Replace old/worn-out roofs, plumbing, lights, or windows: 7 mentions
11. Local funds state can't take away (see number 1; this is distinct): 7 mentions
12: Reduce energy/utility costs: 7 mentions.

And the messages that the woman or man in the Trader Joe's parking lot might think were often did they occur in these propaganda pieces?:

A. Measure CL is a bond: 0 mentions
B. Measure CL will borrow $95,000,000:
0 mentions
C. Measure CL total cost estimate:
0 mentions.

The spreadsheet we used to tote up these numbers is reproduced here. Click to enlarge.

The messages above align quite well with the polling done by District consultants prior to initiating the bond. A page from their presentation listing projects is shown below.

The entire polling package can be found below. You can see how the propaganda minister of the Yes on CL side, Jared Boigon, has been feeding Claremont what he thinks it wants to hear. It is somewhat lengthy, but see especially pages numbered 23, ff., for the message "resonance" portion.

Claremont USD Survey Report '10 DRAFT 1T