Kathryn Ruud Lecture
, Part three
00:15 7 Strategies of Polarization
vs. Outgroup "Them"
Used by extreme left and extreme right
On PTR, used as sales technique
Overlapping similarities [between far left, far right, and political talk radio]
Extremes can take hold in democratic states
Not just what is said, but how
is is said
People are harder to control if they can identify rhetorical methods of control
Hitler is unique-- there's no one in American politics who's comparable.
Contrast of tone: When Hitler spoke about his followers, his tone was of uplift and exaltation, when he spoke of his enemies, his tone was harsh and scathing. The effect of this was that it set loose an unrestrained political attack of defamation, ridicule, and hate. Opponents were made to feel disoriented, because this was a new way of arguing. Opponents weren't fellow citizens with bad ideas, they were bad people.
Examples from left wing talk radio, selected by the Conservative Media Research Center as the worst of 2009, and she agrees that they are good examples of a problem, and as bad as it gets in left wing political talk radio at a national level.
4:37 Olberman attacks Malkin with a series of insults
4:48 Ed Schultz says that Republicans want to see you dead. Also attacks Democrats for not being able to deal with Republicans.
Poisoning the well: inflating one's own credibility while demeaning opponents.
Hitler called the major newspapers "the Jewish press". He called their readers "the so-called educated circles" and "the so-called intellectuals". In East Germany, western newspapers were called "tools of capitalism". Limbaugh talks about opposition between the mainstream (national) media and conservative media. Limbaugh calls himself "the truth detector". Beck calls himself "the constitution czar". Recently, she's heard national media referred to as government-controlled or state-run media.
Lexical fusion: two words are welded together and used repeatedly. Nazis called their opponents "liberal socialists" or "liberal socialist communists". A range of critics are fused into a single threat.
Ideology over information: Beliefs of the group are defined
as true. The outgroups' views have no merit, EVER. There's no middle ground or compromise.
Political radio showcases ideology. Opponents can call in, but what they say is generally followed by derision and ridicule.
The three strategies so far are part of normal political discourse. However, the next four strategies are wading into deeper waters.
There's gotten to be a much stronger emphasis on fighting enemies.
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