Political Fear Sells? Well Duh.

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THE PLANK APRIL 13, 2009

Political Fear Sells? Well Duh.

Politico's blaring headline about Obama's upping recruitment among anti-abortion groups seems like the definition of much ado about the utterly predictable. Isn't the cw that every change of regime prompts, to some extent, a reenergizing of the ideologically opposing interest groups? Thus, organizations championing women's-rights, environmentalism, abortion rights, gay rights and so on attract more members and, even more importantly, raise more money by exploiting members' fears about what a GOP-controlled government will do if left unchallenged. Likewise, when Dems come to power, the NRA, pro-lifers, anti-tax crusaders, etc. enjoy a resurgence. Certainly, if the hysterical emails I'm now receiving from conservative groups are any indication, the right's mobilization-by-fear campaign has kicked into high gear.

Something similar tends to happen with media organizations: liberal outlets like The Nation or Mother Jones often benefit when their followers are terrified of what consersative rule will bring, while the likes of Rush Limbaugh and National Review become havens for out-of-power-and-feeling-beleaguered conservatives. This is why, despite Fox News's no longer having a direct line to the White House, I assume it will thrive as bitter, anxious wingers turn to O'Reilly, Hannity, and that weepy nutjob Glenn Beck for comfort in these trying times. 

--Michelle Cottle

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