A matter of framingHA HYUN-OCK
The author is a deputy financial news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
In the third year of the Moon Jae-in administration, its Achilles’ heel is the economy. After receiving an unsatisfactory report card, the administration chose to extrapunitively respond by attacking the “economic failure framing.”
The president commenced fire. At a year-end luncheon with ruling party leadership, President Moon said the economic failure framing was so strong in society that accomplishments could not be properly conveyed to citizens. At the New Year’s news conference last Thursday, a similar stance was suggested. Roh Moo-hyun Foundation Chairman Rhyu Si-min joined in. At a JTBC debate on Jan. 2, he said the claims for economic crisis were products of an ideological alliance of conservative parties, conservative media and large corporations.
Politics is all about framing. Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world. Dominating the structure is the key to victory. Cognitive linguist George Lakoff discussed framing in his book, “Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate.” He argued, “To change our frames is to change all of this. Reframing is social change.”
Frames may need to be broken for change. Conversely, there is a risk of being trapped by a frame. When in your own frame, you’re unable to accept others’ positions. Lakoff also pointed this out, saying “When the facts don’t fit the frame, the frames are kept and the facts ignored.”
In Moon’s conceptual structure on the other side of the economic failure framing, various warning signs and worries about the Korean economy may not be properly heard. If the president is trapped by his frame and becomes blind to reality, Korea may witness yet another president who gives up on the economy.
Attacking the economic failure framing could make people think of economic failure more.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 14, Page 31