Media lynching on the campaign trail [abstract]
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This is a multidisciplinary research project that is about the use of race in political ads from 1988 to 2006. Although the student researcher has analyzed five political ads, only one of the ads, “The Willie Horton” ad, will be discussed. The student researcher has compared the images used in “The Willie Horton” ad to 19th century ethnic notions and caricatures, most notably the hypersexual black Buck caricature and the hyper-violent black Brute. In addition, the student researcher has traced the historical roots of the Southern Strategy and how that strategy relates to a zero-sum game worldview. And lastly, the student researcher has analyzed how campaign ads work. Some of the results of this study are as follows: 1.) Distinctly liberal candidates are most vulnerable to these types of ads. 2.) Coded racial language, when it is used, is effective but not needed. 3.) The coded racial words and/or racial images in the ad need to subtly allude to racial fears. 4.) As time goes on these types of ads must become more subtle.