The Daily Caller | 11/27/2018 | Staff
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If one wants a prime example of the media being profoundly stupid — and of a political opponent engaging in the worst kind of opportunism that treats voters as equally stupid — it’s hard to do better than the uproar over Mississippi Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” comment.

Without getting into whether it was smart to make the comment (it wasn’t), or whether the incident was another example of a Republican cluelessly giving the opposition all kinds of ammunition to get shot with (good Lord, was it ever), let’s just take a look at the “dog whistle” trope that almost never makes any sense as used in a political context, and is even more ridiculous than usual in this specific matter.

Wikipedia - Politics - Messaging - Language - Thing

Wikipedia defines “dog-whistle” politics as “political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose ultrasonic whistling sound is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.”

We can begin by acknowledging that a “dog whistle,” by definition, involves some statement or action that is indecipherable to most normal people or at least to political opponents, intended only for understanding by relatively few insiders, typically understood to be (or characterized by the opposition as) extremists.

Term - Time - Journalists - Operatives

But the term is misused all the time by incompetent journalists and political operatives who either don’t understand it or don’t care what it means.

In the Hyde-Smith matter, as in nearly all cases over the past couple of years, it has to do with an ill-advised reference to “public hanging” that was translated into “lynching” by both Hyde-Smith’s opponent Mike Espy and the shrieking press in about two milliseconds. So there was self-evidently nothing cryptic or subtle here.


And, remember: The comment was...
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