Giving Them the Respect They Deserve, Which Is to Say, None at All

Some asshole with a blog might have written that once or twice over the years. It would seem the new generation of professional Democrats might be picking up on this (boldface mine):

Young, rising Democrats such as Frost and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — whose own big moment this week revealed Twitter’s special treatment for Donald Trump — are putting their stamp on the party by modeling how to break through the informational clutter.

“Oftentimes, our party has a problem with having a simplified message that’s able to cut through all the noise,” Frost told me in an interview. “This is something I think Republicans are actually good at.” He added: “It’s something we can get better at.”

…Note the “Dick and Jane” quality here, as though Frost were asking these officials to explain these truths to a child. This highlights a key move: While Democrats sometimes respond to things like the “open borders” claim with high dudgeon, here the tone is one of mockery and contempt.

Asked about this, Frost said he calibrates the tone of his responses to the seriousness of the underlying assertion.

“You match the energy of the claim,” Frost said, noting he hopes to “dismantle the other folks’ arguments but also really show people how absurd they are.” Outrage risks “elevating” weak claims, whereas mockery “diminishes” them, he said.

Similarly, Frost mocked Republicans for obsessing over Twitter’s treatment of a 2020 story about Hunter Biden…

To drive home this idea, Frost also questioned a Twitter executive about the Trump White House’s pressure to take down a tweet by model Chrissy Teigen that attacked Trump in a highly colorful phrase…

Frost went out of his way to get the explicit phrase “p—y a– b—-” into the congressional record. This made the moment viral and underscored the absurdity of the whole affair

As media critic Jay Rosen notes, the sheer absurdity of these GOP hearings poses a challenge to our discourse: It’s hard to talk about them at all without lending them more validation than they merit.

If so, perhaps Frost’s approach offers an answer: Treat the hearings with the ridicule they deserve while marshaling the viral reach that this contempt facilitates to supplant bad information with good.

While Sargent chalks this up to a generational divide, if there is one it’s rooted in something different–politicians have always figured out how to ‘go viral’, even when it wasn’t called that. For the last thirty years or so, the key quality federal politicians have needed is to raise money. That used to be done by appealing to donors who can write large checks–and for many, that still is the model. But if a politician is able to get popular support, the ‘low end’ donations, especially for smaller House seats, can fill in the gaps, especially if activist groups and the like pitch in with a lot of free labor.

To do this, you’re appealing to people who don’t like the opposition, and who think their ideas are awful. The mockery works because the mockery appeals to the target audience, and that’s not the traditional donor audience.

Also, it’s clear the newbies are reading my blog (I kid).

This entry was posted in Conservatives, Democrats. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Giving Them the Respect They Deserve, Which Is to Say, None at All

  1. Dave Dell says:

    Nowadays my feeling is that the mockery approach is better for mass communications needed to change peoples thoughts and actions.

    Sadly, it seems to be a mistake to overestimate the power of logic, to assume that intelligent people think and act rationally, and to believe logic and reason can change people’s minds and alter events.

Comments are closed.