An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Monday, October 17, 2005


One of the toughest things to teach would-be campaigners when they come out of school or other professions is how to write so that readers will be persuaded to keep reading, to believe what you want, and to help you accomplish your goals. Too many write too directly or too academically.

To that end, take a look at the web site of the conservative campaigners in Montgomery County calling themselves Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum? They’re the group that wants sex education to just be about abstinence. You know, the reactionaries. But they’ve got a very slickly put together web site (word is that national conservative groups sent money because they are so excited to be winning in a liberal stronghold) with even slicker language that makes the sex education pilot program the county was supposed to start sound radical. It twists the facts and the wording so that readers who don't know the issues might be persuaded that the school system is discriminating against so-called "ex-gays," people of faith, etc.

While this is hardly a textbook example of how to write effective copy because it is too manipulative and dodgy -- statements by the likes of the Surgeon General are taken out of context and facts are played with far too loosely -- it does give future progressive campaigners an idea of how even wacky viewpoints can be portrayed sympathetically if you think them through.