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"Dog Whistle"... what does that mean?

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VoodooGuru Donating Member (327 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:43 AM
Original message
"Dog Whistle"... what does that mean?
I see this term a lot, and I'm trying to figure it out from context but I'm not quite getting it. I assume it has to do with sending a signal only certain people are hearing, and it seems to have something to do with the culture war.

What does it mean, exactly?

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sutz12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. Its based on the basic difference in hearing between dogs and humans.
In political terms, it means saying things in a kind of 'code' that only your followers will get or 'hear' and that outsiders won't get.

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billyoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. I say something that sounds innocent, but is a code phrase to whip up a lynch mob.
"real americans", "pals around with terrorists", "socialist", etc.
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VoodooGuru Donating Member (327 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. OK, I get it, that clears it up and makes a lot of sense.
Thanks to everyone who answered.
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dem629 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. Sort of the same as "code words"
Edited on Sat Oct-25-08 11:48 AM by dem629
For instance, when Jesse Helms ran against Harvey Gantt, Helms used "dog whistle" politics when he ran a commercial showing a white person's hands crumpling up a job application.

The implication was that Gantt, an African American, would implement racial quotas, etc.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
4. "spreading the wealth around"
is a dog whistle for take money from white people and give it to "welfare queens", otherwise known as n******.

There have been plenty of others since the civil rights movement.
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lapfog_1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. "thinks well of himself" dogwhistle for "uppity ni**er" - n/t
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. You pretty much have it.
IT refers to words or symbols or pictures that trigger reactions for certain targeted audiences.

Examples in McCain ads:

There was the McCain ad that had the Biden quote "She's attractive" referring to Sarah Palin (but it didn't say Biden said it) along with the "Lipstick on a pig" remark of Obama's (which had nothing to do with Palin) but implied that both remarks were made by Obama about Palin. The photo of Obama they used was one that made him look sinister. Then the ad ended with the commentator saying "Distrespectful" Very clear racist undertones in that ad. Black men used to get lynched for 'disrespecting' White women.

Then there was the ad with pictures of Obama and that mortgage guy Raines linking them together. I saw that one as "sinister Black guys want to take your money."

Then there was the really sleazy ad accusing Obama of supporting witholding life support from babies. Subtext: The Black guy wants to kill your children.

Those are 'dog whistles'. Blow the whistle and the dog will perk up its ears and come when he hears it.
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morillon Donating Member (809 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
8. These are all great examples.
And Palin's quoting of Westbrook Pegler in her nomination speech was yet another dog whistle. The quote she chose (or her speechwriter chose, depending on who actually wrote that part of it) was innocuous enough, but it was seriously a dog whistle to the Birch elements in the Republican party.
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