LOCAL NEWS

‘The Dignity Index’ launches pilot program in Utah to score messaging from candidates

Oct 6, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 9:46 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A new project in Utah is trying to encourage political candidates to use more dignity and get rid of contempt by scoring the words and messaging they use on a scale from one to eight.

The Dignity Index is part of a national project that selected the Beehive State for a pilot program to rate public messages from candidates running for U.S. House and Senate.

“Politicians are scored on how they vote on every issue but not on how they treat their opponents,” project leader Tami Pyfer said in a press release. “By rating how they speak to — and about — one another, we’re hoping they will see the benefit of taking the higher road.”

The University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics and Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute have trained a group of coders to score portions of candidates’ debates, speeches, fundraising messages, campaign ads and posts on social media.

“The Utah project will focus on political speech because it’s so influential in shaping our culture,” said a statement from Tom Rosshirt, project director for The Dignity Index. “But those of us excited to be part of this movement will be watching our personal speech as well. We all have a role in changing our culture for the better.”

Starting this Friday and continuing every Friday through Election Day, scores for The Dignity Index will be published on dignityindex.us.

Organizers of the index provided the following scoring criteria that will be used to examine the words and messages that candidates use:

  • 8: Each of us is born with inherent worth, so we treat everyone with dignity – no matter what.
  • 7: We fully engage with the other side, discussing even the values and interests we don’t share, so we know where they’re coming from.
  • 6: We always talk to the other side, searching for the values and interests we share.
  • 5: The other side has a right to be here and to be heard. It’s their country too.
  • 4: We’re better than those people. I don’t trust them.
  • 3: We’re the good people and they’re the bad people. It’s us vs. them.
  • 2: Those people are evil and they’re going to ruin our country if we let them. It’s us or them.
  • 1: They’re not even human. It’s our moral duty to destroy them before they destroy us.

The weekly scores will also have explanations about the scoring process and, at times, include what adjustments could have been made to get a higher score.

“We think the biggest problem we face is division,” Rosshirt said in a press conference Wednesday. “We think the biggest cause of division is contempt. We believe the antidote to contempt is dignity.”

The Dignity Index is the latest initiative from the national group UNITE.

“The Dignity Index reveals both the danger of contempt and the power of dignity, and most importantly, it shows us how to change,” said a statement from Tim Shriver, Founder of UNITE. “It shows us that dignity is the means of preventing violence, easing division, and solving problems. Treating people with dignity has been at the heart of my work in the Special Olympics and in schools, too. But now we need it in our politics and we have no time to waste.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Lehi mom stranded in snowstorm grateful for help from unexpected stranger

Two Utah County women are sharing how a desperate situation during Monday's snowstorm turned into a heartwarming story they'll never forget.
16 hours ago
Some residents of an Orem student apartment complex ran for their lives after shots were fired on t...
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Man accused of shooting at Orem apartment complex surrenders

A Utah man accused of shooting people at an Orem apartment complex in a confrontation caught on video has surrendered to police.
16 hours ago
(Karah Brackin/KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin

U of U working to get victims help after two cameras found in Student Life Center

The University of Utah and its department of public safety said Thursday they are focusing on victims and getting them the help they need to move forward after two cameras were found in the Student Life Center.
16 hours ago
Apartments and townhouses on Traverse Mountain Boulevard in Lehi are pictured on Wednesday, Aug. 11...
Carter Williams, KSL.com

Utah experiences largest population spike in 16 years. Here’s where people are moving

Utah's population skyrocketed by a little more than 61,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022, marking the state's largest spike in absolute growth in 16 years, according to a new population estimate report released Thursday.
16 hours ago
(FILE) Salt Lake City Police car responding to a scene....
Madison Swenson

Police: Man arrested for burglarizing two SLC businesses

A 44-year-old man has been arrested after police say he burglarized two businesses in downtown Salt Lake City, including an office space belonging to the Utah Attorney General's Office.
16 hours ago
FILE: A UTANG KC-135, modified with Real-Time Information in the Cockpit and gateway technologies, ...
Josh Ellis

Utah Air Nat’l Guard airman dies during routine deployment in Guam

A Utah airman assigned to the 151st Air Refueling Wing died Tuesday after suffering a medical emergency in Guam.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
‘The Dignity Index’ launches pilot program in Utah to score messaging from candidates