Just a day after a gunman murdered 11 people and wounded six others at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Republican Rep. Steve Stivers, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, went on TV to defend anti-Semitic ads his organization has been airing in a congressional race in southern Minnesota. The ads are laden with anti-Jewish tropes and portray philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, as a malign puppet-master of the left. Nevertheless, in an appearance on a Sunday talk show, Stivers repeatedly insisted the ads are "factual" and said they have "nothing to do with calling for violence."
Of course, that's exactly the point of dog-whistles like these: They give bigots the ability to deny they're spewing hatred while speaking in coded language that white supremacists hear clearly. But much of the traditional media takes these denials at face value, helping the right to fool lots of people.
We, however, are not fooled. Images of Soros surrounded by stacks of cash while a narrator claims he "owns" Democrat Dan Feehan are an entirely unsubtle invocation of the hoary and hateful conspiracy theory that wealthy Jews control politics behind the scenes.
It’s no surprise, though, that Stivers would stand behind this filth. Last week, just two days after Soros himself was the victim of an attempted mailbox bomb assassination, the NRCC began airing a second ad in Minnesota’s 1st District that, yet again, featured Soros as a bogeyman. This is where we are now: Neither terrorism nor mass shootings are enough to deter Republicans from their hate-filled rhetoric.
And the NRCC is no outlier here. Last week, the Congressional Leadership Fund began running what may be the first attack ad featuring the migrant caravan that is slowly walking toward the United States from Central America and is still 1,000 miles away. A histrionic narrator intones, "A caravan of illegal immigrants, marching toward America." (No, they are refugees fleeing from violence in their home countries.) "Over 7,000 strong," he continues, "the caravan is full of gang members and criminals." (There's zero evidence for this.)
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