Democrats, media using coded language to draw attention to Mitt Romney’s faith
The Obama campaign and mainstream media are using “dog-whistles” to draw attention to and suspicion of Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, while attempting to maintain plausible deniability that any such attack is underway.
The term “dog-whistle” is used to describe coded attacks that targeted audiences may understand, but outsiders might not recognize.
Though the Obama campaign has said it does not intend to make Romney’s religion an issue in the race, campaign officials have on several occasions hinted at the “weirdness” of the Mormon Church.
However, while the Obama campaign has seemed to content to allow its surrogates to go after Romney and Mormonism, the president himself has steered clear of the issue.
“I think Obama is rightly avoiding it as an issue,” said Dr. Matthew Bowman, a professor of religion at Hampden-Sydney College. “It doesn’t play well in American politics to be intolerant of religion.”
Cromartie said members of the mainstream media are most likely to try to make Romney’s religion a factor in the race, potentially as Election Day draws nearer.
“Closer to the convention, there may well be some people in the mainstream media who will want to do an hour special on the history of Mormonism,” he said. “If things were more comfortable in the country and with the economy, Romney’s critics might have the luxury to discuss what might be considered the oddities of the Mormon faith.”
Of course when the mainstream opens the door, the lunatic fringe rushes in:
An acceptable bigotry
Salon’s piece on racism vs. anti-Mormon prejudice misses an important point: It is permissible to insult Mormonism because the religion was invented by a man who was, demonstrably, a con artist.
On the other hand, any questions about Barack Obama’s religious beliefs, history and/or affiliations are strictly taboo.
(Cuz that would be racist.)