Retreating Into Paranoia
Ari Melber has written an interesting article about how the web has impacted the use of dogwhistle politics by deconstructing and exposing them. That tracks with Drew Westen's thesis that the the key to dealing with these lizard brain tactics is to lay them out so people can see exactly what they mean and then reject them.
I think there is truth in this, but it's also true that as much as the internet has made it easier to do expose political tactics, it has also created a monster with these email whisper campaigns that people believe because they tend to come from someone they know and are ubiquitous and untraceable.
This, for instance, is just amazing:
A University of Texas poll to be released today shows Republican presidential candidate John McCain and GOP Sen. John Cornyn leading by comfortable margins in Texas, as expected. But the statewide survey of 550 registered voters has one very surprising finding: 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Obviously, most people are not subject to nonsense like this. But 23%?
I have to wonder what happens when the right wing paranoid strain truly begins to retreat to its already insular alternate universe, reinforcing its bizarroworld "facts" over and over again in a feedback loop. It can't be good.