Reader Randy Hagan offers a great lesson for communicators based on comments he’s read to PR Junkie’s political-themed posts. Take it away Randy.
Interesting study in cognitive dissonance here. I didn't see ANYTHING about political views in the article. All I read is a piece dissecting communications strategies. But most all of the respondents here are categorizing the writers/editors/site as pro-Obama and/or anti-McCain, and reacting with their own points of view.
Which is a lesson in and of itself. No matter how sophisticated we get in crafting communications messages, when an audience perceives the stakes are high it seems we have little to no ability to really report without "bias." Whether it's intended or not.
These comments don't reflect the perceived "bias" of the writer nearly as much as the true biases of the respondents. That's why, I guess, the difference between "implied" and "inferred" has been lost.
I looked up “cognitive dissonance” to make sure I understood it. (I sort of did.) Basically, cognitive dissonance is anxiety caused by two contradictory feelings—what you already know and believe versus new information.
Your brain works to accommodate the new and the old; resistance of new ideas is often a side effect. Communicators understand this in theory, I think, but it's probably not an idea you consider every time you write a press release, blog post or e-mail. Or is it?