Dog Whistles Are Silent. So How Can Left-Leaning Pundits be So Good at Hearing Them?

Dog Whistles Are Silent. So How Can Left-Leaning Pundits be So Good at Hearing Them?

—November 5, 2018

As much as the Left-leaning mainstream media claims Pres. Trump uses it, I have yet to see it. I’ve been watching him on television during many of his recent rallies, and reviewed some old footage, but have yet to see the president blow on that dog whistle. Same with many of the various Republican Senate, House and Gubernatorial candidates accused of blowing the whistle. Given that Left-wing pundits tend to claim on a daily basis that Trump and other Republicans use the dog whistle to send coded messages to specific constituents, you’d think that we’d be able to see those whistles dangling from around their necks like government ID badges.

And this leads to another observation: because dog whistles are silent, how can these pundits be so good at interpreting all those alleged coded messages being sent out by Trump and other Republicans?

The short answer is that they can’t. The longer answer is that Left-wing pundits have had to resort to accusing Trump and other Republicans of using dog whistles because they have limited distinct proof to back up their accusations of racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, misogyny, Islamophobia, Fascism, Nazism, or whatever else they want to accuse Republican politicians of fomenting.

By utilizing the dog whistle tool, pundits can shape the narrative in whatever manner they want through their interpretation of what song is being whistled. Because that dog whistle is silent, a pundit can say whatever he wants—the candidate’s words might be exactly what they mean at face value, but the pundit can claim it’s a dog whistle whistling “Dixie.”

How convenient . . . .

Trump: “There are likely criminal elements within the migrant horde; they have no legal basis to enter America; I am not going to let them enter our country; they represent another example of our broken immigration system.”

Left-wing pundits: “It’s a dog whistle to the racist, white supremacist component of his base.”

Not only can a pundit easily utilize the dog whistle analogy to smear a Republican politician, but to also cast dispersions on the politician’s supporters. And, it is such an intellectually lazy tool—the pundit doesn’t have to offer up any proof or supporting evidence to back up his interpretation of what the politician is “really saying”—nope, it’s a dog whistle and that candidate who just said “America First!” was really singing “Deutschland Uber Alles.”

According to Merriam-Webster, “dog whistle,” as utilized of late by political pundits, is “a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others.” While the “dog whistle” in referencing a high-pitched whistle that humans cannot hear, but dogs can, has been around for at least 200 years, it’s use as a term to describe political speech only emerged to any real extent in the 1990s. The online dictionary cites a quote from the Ottawa Citizen in October 1995 as the earliest recorded figurative use: “It’s an all-purpose dog-whistle that those fed up with feminists, minorities, the undeserving poor hear loud and clear.”

That could be a pundit in 2018 talking about Trump or any number of Republican politicians. In fact, not a day goes by that some element of what a Republican says is not automatically referred to as a dog whistle. CNN’s Chris Cillizza today accused Trump of multiple racist dog whistles based on Trump’s use of former Pres. Barack Obama’s middle name (Hussein); calling Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum “not equipped to do the job;” and saying that Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is “not qualified,” for the office.

Maybe Cillizza is right, and all three of these examples represent coded messages sent out by Trump to his hard-core racist supporters. Or maybe Trump truly does believe that the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates are not qualified for the job. After all, he’d probably say the same thing if the candidates were white.

As for Trump’s use of Obama’s middle name being a case of “playing on racial animus,” I’d say that Cillizza might be correct if he were reminded that Muslim is not a race, and was then to substitute “racial” for “Islamic.” And, unless Cillizza has some kind of secret political dog whistle de-coder, it’s anyone’s guess as to what kind of dog whistle, if any, Pres. Trump was blowing in reference to the former president.

And then we’ve got Trump and the Republican Party’s recent campaign ad featuring cop-killing, illegal immigrant Luis Bracamontes, and a message blaming Democrats for letting him into the country and then letting him stay. One big racist dog whistle advert according to the Left-leaning pundits—an “outrage” and the most racist advertisement since the notorious “Willie Horton” campaign ad used by the Republicans during the 1988 Bush-Dukakis battle for the White House.

While pundits may claim “racist dog whistle advert,” at least half the U.S. population probably sees it as a justified warning against unfettered illegal immigration. Unfettered illegal immigration that seems to receive significant support (sanctuary cities, open borders, etc.) from the Democrats.

So, call that one a dog whistle all you want, pundits—We’ll just call it a clarion call to secure the border and enact meaningful immigration reform.

—Originally published in Discernible Truth.

Nation’s Moral Fabric, Very Soul, in Peril

Nation’s Moral Fabric, Very Soul, in Peril

Ed. Note: The below blog is a piece I originally wrote in the 1990s when I worked for a small-town newspaper in North Carolina. As you can probably surmise from its tone and sarcastic content I leaned more to the left of the political spectrum at that time. I believed that the extreme right and adherents to the “Moral Majority” were a bunch of nutcases, and, to some extent, still believe this to be true. However, today, some 26 years later, I find the extreme left wing to be far more scary and apt to do irreparable harm to the country of my birth, as well as the world at large.

What I also find interesting is how prescient (albeit by accident) some of my thoughts were back then—the moral fabric of America is truly getting torn asunder….

—Originally published in the Johnstonian-Sun, Circa 1992. 

According to all right-wing radical groups, many conservative groups, the “Moral Majority” (which is neither), many religious leaders, Jesse Helms and most other Republican politicians, the moral fabric of our nation is under attack by various enemies and is in danger of being torn asunder.

Do you know what will happen if the nation’s moral fabric is torn asunder?

Well, depending upon whom you listen to, the following scenarios are likely to result from a torn-asunder moral fabric:

—Communism

That’s right, Communism! Once the moral fabric gets ripped up America will become a nation of Godless Communists. Half of us will be working on the collective farm and the other half in the collective factory. Red will be the predominant colour of our nation and Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel will be the equivalent of Gods. This and all other newspapers will carry only Communist theology and official news releases from our great Politburo up in Leninton (the former Washington, DC).

—Sex-Crazed Deviance

You betcha! We’re gonna become a nation of sex-crazed deviants. Once that moral fabric that has protected us for so long is shredded, sexual deviation will become the norm. We will all indulge in sadomasochism, fetishism, pedophilia, necrophilia, bondage, homosexuality, bisexuality, voyeurism, bestiality, cross dressing, sodomy, incest and a host of other warped sexual acts that would make even the most hard-core porno dealer cringe. 

—Godless Heathenism

Once the moral fabric is gone we’ll become a nation of Devil-worshipping Satanists and other religious deviants. Those of us who aren’t worshiping Satan will be bowing down to the altar of Belial, Beelzebub, Eros, Dionysus, Bacchus, Odin, Vulcan, Isis, Thor, Spock, Batman, Anubis, Captain Crunch, Ishtar, The Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh, Apollo, Zeus, Tribbles, Golden Calves, Silver Goats, Aluminum Kangaroos or any number of other Gods and Idols.

—Foreignerism

Once that moral fabric is torn up this nation will lose its white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage and culture and become a nation of Nigerians, Vietnamese, Mexicans, Sudanese, Albanians, Algerians, Chinese, Japanese, Palestinians, Israelis, Bolivians, Burundians, Burmese, Cambodians, Columbians, Cubans, Gabonese, Turks, Gambians, Hondurans, Haitians, Indians, Iraqis, Koreans, Lebanese, Liberians, Malaysians, Mongolians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Omanians, Senegalese, Vulcans, Somalians, Taiwanese, Tunisians, Arabians, Yemenese, and every other un-American non-white, non-Anglo-Saxon, non-Protestant race infesting God’s great earth.

—Drug-Crazed Lunatism

Yep, once the moral fabric is all in pieces we will be a nation of druggies. Yeah boy, we’re gonna be popping pills, smoking crack, toking dope, shooting heroin, snorting coke, freebasing embalming fluid, smoking banana peels, shooting speed, snorting tranquilizers, popping downers, eating quaaludes and ingesting all kinds of chemicals and substances not lawfully prescribed by a doctor.

—All-of-the-Abovism

That’s right, all of the above. Some folks are convinced, heaven forbid, that once the ol’ moral fabric gets torn asunder all of the above will come true. Of course, the majority of these folks relate the destruction of the nation’s moral fabric with Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.

Now that we all know what will happen if the moral fabric of this great nation gets torn asunder, we need to determine who, or what, is responsible for this dire threat to national security.

The list of potential moral fabric destroyers is long, and the roster of enemies entirely contingent uponimgres which purveyor of “Right” you might be listening to.

Most right-wing, Moral Majority, conservative and religious leaders would undoubtedly put a scissors-wielding Bart Simpson high on the list.

Heck, Bart could probably shred the fabric in record time.

So, there’s one for the roster! A complete list of potential moral fabric enemies will be included in next week’s Biting the Bullet.

Closing Ed. Note: Not sure if I’ll be able to find that follow-up column, but sure would be interesting to see who I listed.