They know—and I thought the right wing knew—the obvious: What we see and hear in the mass media can influence behavior. It can establish a cultural norm for what’s acceptable. It can magnify grievances and provoke action.
In fact, somewhere today I’m sure there’s a rapper kicking himself because he didn’t originate the catchy phrase “Second Amendment solution” for dealing with police, drug rivals or whomever. Somewhere there’s a rapper who can’t believe a middle-aged white woman beat him to the slogan “Don’t retreat, reload.”
And don’t tell me the tea party audience is less susceptible to such rhetoric.
Whom are the rappers talking to? The alienated who feel that the deck is stacked against them, that the powers that be don’t care about people like them and that playing by the rules is for suckers because the American dream was never meant for them.
Whom are tea partyers talking to? The newly alienated who feel that the deck is stacked for Wall Street and against the middle class, that the suits in Washington don’t care about people like them and that the old rules don’t apply because the American dream is slipping away.
Stoke either group enough, and the results are predictable