Day 205: The Overton Window

Day 205: The Overton Window

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I’ve never heard of the Overton Window before. I’m not sure how recent it is. I’m under the impression it’s not that new, yet everybody I mention it to seems to be hearing it for the first time. It doesn’t sound like anything more than salesmanship, but on a sliding scale, yet I find myself increasingly looking at things through its prism.

The idea is simple: if diametrically opposed beliefs and values exist on a spectrum, then people generally fall somewhere in the middle – their values falling within a very narrow window. Values that fall outside the window are unacceptable and become increasingly repugnant the further one moves away from the window until one reaches the outermost extreme, which is considered unthinkable. However, if a person is made to believe the unthinkable could really happen, they would be open to shifting their window towards a more moderate suggestion that would otherwise have been unacceptable.

When this idea is applied to the media, it becomes much easier to understand not only why consumers seem to live in their own little echo chambers , but also why there seems to be increasingly poorer tolerance for moderation.


About today’s photo: like my explanation, I don’t think it makes any sense at all. Sorry, it’s been like this for me for the last couple of weeks. 

One thought on “Day 205: The Overton Window

  1. Pingback: Day 211: Understanding the White Australia Policy |

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