This is an interesting point, on the whole “men in the inner cities just don’t love work enough” Paul Ryan fiasco:
wiscojoeThe problem for modern-day Republicans, like Ryan, is that most of them were trained during an age when direct mail marketing was the primary GOP outreach tool. This allowed them to send direct messages to targeted groups where they could really let the “Southern Strategy” loose, sending out vile rhetoric without the risk of it reaching mainstream audiences at the national level. Now that we’re in a digital age, these Republicans haven’t yet seemed to figure out that once you send out a message, it’s likely to reach well beyond your intended audience.
This would explain why they seem so genuinely shocked that people find out about their stupid crap. “Ooh, we never expected actual black people to hear about how lazy and shiftless they are!”
However, I do feel like this theory gives them simultaneously too much credit and too little. These guys throw this stuff out there so their rabid nutball base hears it, then they apologize, and their wingnut base knows the apology was just more persecution by the liberal media and that the original statement still stands.
The message is still out there, reaching the people it was intended to reach in the first place.
3 thoughts on “Direct Mail Rhetoric in a Digital Age”
People (and I unfortunately include myself in this mess occasionally) don’t really think about how their message will be perceived by a “mass” audience. I’m not sure I’m chalking this up to the direct mailing idea, but I am chalking it up to something I read from the folks who study critical thinking.
Richard Paul and Linda Elder noted more than once that the human is a “self-deceived animal,” in that we tend to think our perspective is key to everything and that we’re at the center of reality. Thus, if we think it, it must be what everyone else is supposed to think.
Turns out, no, we’re not.
It also doesn’t help that people who tend to be front and center on the kinds of things that Ryan is involved believe themselves to be right about everything so everyone SHOULD agree with them.
To the wingnuts it’s just a reaffirmation of their faith, a central tenet being that the undeserving poor (who, ironically are poor because, to the wingnut, they deserve to be poor) are stealing via progressive taxation.
That K Street lobbyists, not to mention fat-cat contractors, consultants, and middle men of all stripes pocket far more government largesse (e.g., Booz Allen Hamilton) isn’t just lost on them. It’s rejected as a sort of “don’t-confuse-me-with-facts-because-my-mind-is-already-made-up.”
Years ago A.J. Liebling wrote about how “the myth of the undeserving poor” (and the flip side, The Deserving Rich) was pushed by the media, and I doubt that was new even then…but maybe what IS new is how acceptable this has become especially among people who claim some sort of Christian morality…
butbutbut its not racism i tells ya.
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