There is an election coming up next week. Perhaps you’ve heard something about it. It’s been in all the papers.
Perhaps you’ve heard from a listener wondering why you’re talking about Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Maybe you’ve received a friendly e-mail from someone questioning your personal salvation because your station aired political commercials for You-Know-Who!
Maybe its even more personal that than. Maybe you’ve unfriended “friends” on Facebook for their political rants. (I know I have). Maybe there have even been conversations at your dinner table that have resulted in awkward pauses, or worse, name-calling-finger-pointing-and-gnashing-of-teeth.
What’s going on here?
Elizabeth Bernstein of the Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Jeanne Safer, a psychologist from New York City. She is a Democrat and her husband is a Republican and a senior editor at “National Review.” Their marriage inspired her latest book, “I Love You, But I Hate your Politics: How to Protect to Your Intimate Relationships in a Poisonous Partisan World.”
“The disagreement isn’t really about politics. It’s about psychology – about how we see the world differently. Once a person understands this, it changes the whole dynamic. Psychoanalysis makes the distinction between manifest and latent content.
Manifest content is what you think you’re talking about. In this case, that is politics. Latent content is what you’re really talking about, which is feelings and what the disagreement, or the act of disagreeing itself, stirs up.
We have a fantasy that people who are our intimates are going to be like us in every fundamental way. We wonder: How can somebody important to me not see what I see?”
We find this at play in our radio brand messaging, where we attempt to connect to our listeners’ world view. When we, as radio stations, infer that we see the world the way they do, and then they hear political commercials (or something they interpret as political), then the trust in your brand can be broken. (See Frost Advisory #526 – What We Can Learn From The NFL).
So what do we do about it?
“The things that really matter is what I call the Chemotherapy Test. When someone has cancer and they’re in the hospital getting chemotherapy, they don’t ask the political affiliation or view of someone who is and by their side getting them through it.”Jeanne Safer
I predict this election will soon be over. I also boldly predict there will be another in four years.
Consider the chemotherapy test for your listeners and your friends and family. We’ll still need each other after this election season is over.