Toward a Collaborative Advocacy Frame
The press must "create that atmosphere of moderation and courtesy in which advocates of contrary views and interests are most likely to listen as well as talk to each other."
-- Archibald MacLeish (Bates, 1995)
Many contemporary critics of the media find the sentiments expressed by poet MacLeish in the 1940s to be an ideal that has long since passed us by. Indeed, the first of Sproule's ( 1988) distinctions between the old rhetoric and the new rhetoric is that the new rhetoric provides people with prepackaged conclusions that eliminates the necessity to either listen to or talk with one another. And, to speak of civility in argument seems a quaint nod of the head to social conventions long since vanished as we endured for another presidential election, replete with its barrage of negative advertising.
The case study about Common Ground presented in chapter 9, however, serves as a vivid reminder that the advocates of contrary views can come together and listen as intently as they often only talk. That members of the two opposing sides in our most emotionally charged national debate can find a forum in which to heed the other -- to engage in a truly integrative dialogue -- is evidence for cautious optimism. That the process of coming together began with an editorial piece published in a newspaper even affirms the sentimentally idealistic role of the press espoused by MacLeish.
What I seek to accomplish in this chapter is to identify some of the ways that the concepts discussed in chapter 10 (i.e., insider/outsider perspectives, symbolic communication behavior and symbolic creation