“America is currently experiencing a wave of far-right propaganda previously unimagined in our history.”
“In order to connect with people we have to break down those barriers that separate us from them. “
There’s always something interesting on the Thom Hartmann program. This segment (video below) is a conversation with Roger Wolfson, a TV writer associated with the Writers Action Group and former counsel to Senators Wellstone, Kerry, and Kennedy. As I watched, I thought about how Iowa Democratic and progressive activists are currently engaged in intense conversations about how to reach out to, connect with, talk to, listen to, and understand our rural, Trump-voting brothers and sisters in Iowa.
The Writers Action Group seems like they are onto something that could enhance these conversations and push them outside of the usual blame-game box, as well as help candidates. The Writers Action Group works with progressive candidates to help them build their personal storytelling skills. In this segment Thom beautifully tells his personal story and tears up as Wolfson walks him through the process.
Here’s what the Writers Action Group does, as described on their website. Italics are BFIA’s.
The Power of Story
Ten years ago, the Obama campaign proved that great, heart-felt storytelling can pump up donations, fire up volunteers, drive historic voter registration and turnout, and endear an African American senator with an unusual name to millions of skeptical swing voters.
Storytelling is not the same as messaging. Storytelling is the emotional glue that makes a message stick, opening voters’ minds by touching their hearts, whether a candidate is campaigning for town council or president, on TV or door to door.
Enter the Writers Action Group, founded by a former counsel and speechwriter to four U.S. Senators, who went on to write for five network TV series. Writers Action Group has assembled America’s finest screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, directors, documentarians, and creative professionals to help you find your most compelling story and express it in your most authentic way, honing the emotional hook of your campaign to make certain that all of your efforts are impactful, unforgettable, and successful.
To teach and share storytelling skills with candidates, officeholders, organizations, and non-profits so that they have all the communication tools needed to meet their goals. Our writers have demonstrated expertise in fostering long-term, loyal, and emotional relationships with red and blue audiences in all fifty states.
In 2008 the Writers Guild of America went on strike, against the six largest media conglomerates in the world. We were a small group, up against a collected force that controlled the airwaves. But if we couldn’t get our side of the story out, we were going to be crushed, and our union destroyed.
The Guild asked a TV writer who had previously worked in the U.S. Senate to assemble a handful of politically knowledgeable writers, who would find creative ways to get our side of story out to the public. Thirty writers banded together, and developed their storytelling skills into a political context.
The strike lasted for 100 days. Against all odds, and in part buoyed by a wave of positive public opinion that this room of writers helped create, the Guild won.
America is currently experiencing a wave of far-right propaganda previously unimagined in our history.
At the end of 2016, this same group of writers came together, and realized – we might have something to offer other people struggling against propaganda, once again.
Watch this fascinating interview.