Dangerous Persuasions tells extraordinary and terrifyingly true tales of everyday people who were manipulated into horrific situations that changed their lives forever.

Dangerous Persuasions - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Running

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2013-01-16

Dangerous Persuasions - Overton window - Netflix

The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, is the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who in his description of his window claimed that an idea's political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians' individual preferences. According to Overton's description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.

Dangerous Persuasions - Historical precedents - Netflix

The idea echoes several earlier expressions, the most recent and similarly academic being Hallin's spheres. In his 1986 book The Uncensored War, communication scholar Daniel C. Hallin posits three areas of media coverage into which a topic may fall. The areas are diagrammed as concentric circles called spheres. From innermost to outermost they are the sphere of consensus, the sphere of legitimate controversy, and the sphere of deviance. Proposals and positions can be placed at varying degrees of distance from the metaphorical center, and political actors can fight over and help change these positions. Hallin's theory is developed and applied primarily as a theory that explains varying levels of objectivity in media coverage, but it also accounts for the ongoing contest among media and other political actors about what counts as legitimate disagreement, potentially leading to changes in the boundaries between spheres. As one study that applies Hallin's theory explains, “the borders between the three spheres are dynamic, depending on the political climate and on the editorial line of the various media outlets”. In this way, the idea also captures the tug-of-war over the boundaries between normal and deviant political discourse. An idea similar to the Overton window was expressed by Anthony Trollope in 1868 in his novel Phineas Finn:

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

In his “West India Emancipation” speech at Canandaigua, New York, in 1857, abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass described how public opinion limits the ability of those in power to act with impunity:

Dangerous Persuasions - References - Netflix