The Paranoid Style: Jungle Fever?

Greg Sargent writes about a new GOP Corker ad in the Tennessee Senate race:

Okay, so Election Central has just obtained a radio ad which you've got to hear: It actually has what sound like tom-tom drums playing in the background every time the ad talks about Dem Harold Ford, Jr. The ad -- which says it was paid for by the campaign of GOP Senate candidate Bob Corker -- can be heard right here.

I listened and can't say that I am hearing what Greg is hearing. But maybe this copy is not a good one. See why I say so on the flip.

Greg cites a discussion by a radio station manager and two DJs regarding the ad:

Bill Lockhart, the program director for WGOW, confirmed the authenticity of the ad and that it's running on the station. "They're freaking jungle-drums," Lockhart tells us. "It's racist -- it tries to conjure up deep, dark African moods. Yeah, it's overtly racial."

. . . We contacted WGOW radio to ask about the ad after reader C.C. wrote in telling us that he'd overheard two local talk show hosts discussing the ad:

This morning about 6:45 I'm getting ready for work and have the radio tuned to the local mega talk station. The hosts are talking about the heat that the Corker/RNC ads are picking up, but are pretty neutral on them themselves, suggesting that the ruckus--and the suggestions of racism--are overblown. They're going through some callers, when one says, "That's nothing. Have you heard the jungle drums on the radio ad?"... So they play it, and, sure enough, the caller's right. Soaring music underneath the copy when discussing Corker's merits, jungle-like drumming when cutting to Ford's demerits. The hosts were stone-silent when it finished, until one whistled, and said, "Damn." They both agreed that the drumming--and the intent--was obvious.

So maybe the copy I am hearing is not a good one. It is not obvious to me -- I can barely hear the drumming at all.

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    The drumming is definitely present (none / 0) (#1)
    by jerry on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 03:49:58 PM EST
    It's there, but all the time (none / 0) (#2)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 04:05:49 PM EST
    Yeah, there's definitely drums in that ad, but they're not just during the mentions of Ford.

    It sounds like the track was selected and the dialogue tailored specificallly so the positive mentions of Corker coincide with the "ooohs" of the choir. If you listen carefully you can hear the drums continue throughout until the strings take over midway when it enters the long section on Corker's history. The drums start up again when that's over and run 'til the end of the ad--including through the next section which references Ford.

    This is another example of folks trying their darndest to find racism. If you squint hard enough, you just might see what you're looking for! Kinda like how if you've been told to listen for the words "Here's to my sweet Satan" when you play Led Zepplin backwards you start to hear it after a while. It's the power of suggestion.

    Why play jungle drums? (none / 0) (#4)
    by jerry on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 04:51:10 PM EST
    This is another example of folks trying their darndest to find racism.

    Huh?  What on earth is a good reason to play jungle drums whenever Ford's name is mentioned?


    Great job. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 05:05:54 PM EST
    So, did you want to respond to my comment? Maybe listen to the ad for yourself?

    They're not "jungle drums." They're just part of the soundtrack and they continue to play, even when Corker is mentioned in the first part of the ad. They only difference is that the "ooh-aahs" from the choir are timed to occur when Corker's name is mentioned.

    Then, in the middle section that goes through Corker's history the drums stop and the orchestra takes over. After that section, the drums come back and run through to the end of the ad. And yes, Ford gets mentioned again in there, too.

    That's not racism, that's the soundtrack. And the desperate need of Democrats to find racism in the ad is both pathetic and transparent. Your protestations that they "Really are jungle drums!" is about as bad as BTD's insistence that the other ads are "obviously" racist and there's no need to actually explain why because everyone knows they are.

    IOW, we're back to the nice, safe allegation: "Republicans = racist" and we don't really have to explain that, do we?


    Hold up (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 05:18:53 PM EST
    Forget this ad. KEN FREAKING MEHLMAN admitted that Republicans have run racist campaigns in the past.

    Is he imagining it too?


    I'm holding... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 05:26:06 PM EST
    So...you don't want to talk about the radio ad anymore, you want to talk about past Republican campaigns. Because I thought for a while there that you had something to say about this ad.

    My mistake. I'll just stay on hold 'til you get your story straight.

    BTD, you're better than this. I can understand if you don't want to get into a knock-down drag-out about whether "Republican = racist" or not. I know that it's just easier to assume it. But if you're gonna start posting ads and "Just raising the question..." of racism, you're going to have to be able to defend your assertion.


    I said what I said (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 05:45:00 PM EST
    about the ad. Wrote it right in the post. I can't hear the drums. I can't say it is anything. Others who have heard it, presumably better copies than I heard, said it is jungle style drumming.

    You said that Dems reach for the easy accusation of GOP=racists, as if there is no history of it.

    I responded to you that Ken Mehlman ADMITTED past GOP racism. The history of the Southern Strategy is well known. Read ee Atwater's comments on it.

    Now Gabriel, I do not have patience for disingenuousness on racism and the GOP's dirty history with it. IF you want to debate it, find someone else. I tell you now I do  not respect the argument that it is not so. IT denies an obvious evil.

    You will get neither civility nor respect from me in pretending it is an open question.

    I can argue any number of controversial subjects, abortion, affirmative action, church/state, you name it. But I will not give respect to a noxious denial of the ugly history of GOP politicial race baiting.


    Mark McKinnon (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 09:55:47 PM EST
    GOP consultant - the ad was despicable and racist.

    You say ARE! I say ARE NOT! You say ARE! I say... (none / 0) (#11)
    by jerry on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 10:18:10 PM EST
    Your protestations that they "Really are NOT jungle drums!" is in fact, just as much your opinion and nothing else as it is my opinion that they really are jungle drums.

    Or did you actually do something other than listen casually to it the same as the rest of us did?

    Are you going to answer my question?  Why would the soundtrack include any sort of drums?


    xx (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 09:48:52 AM EST
    Jerry - Because they are scored to come in at the beginning, fade as the music starts.. fade in later..

    You guys are so funny... Would you like to see some of he past Demo racist attacks?? Remember the comments during the CT primary??


    I didn't have to watch the ad (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 04:51:07 PM EST
    To find out if the woman was white.  Of course they are race baiting.  Some where in Tennessee a focus group told them that the whites would not dig it and they ran it.  So are the stereotypes correct about the majority of the south or will southerners stand up and shout against this idiocy?

    I will wait for the opposing southerners while I wait for the Muslim clerics who were supposed to denounce Osama....

    xx (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 09:39:22 AM EST
    Hey JL, where you been??

    Us hicks have come a long way (none / 0) (#17)
    by Russell on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 03:19:26 AM EST
    Now wait just a cotton-picking minute. Whose bias is showing here? As a Southerner, I resent being stereotyped for being stereotypical ... but it kinda feels fun and weird at the same time.

    Rep. Ford got 48 percent of the vote in Tennessee, which ain't bad, I guess, considering that Pulaski, Tennessee is the birthplace of the KKK and Martin Luther King Jr., mentioned Lookout Mountain, Tennessee in his "Let Freedom Ring" speech. And Byron de la Beckwith, the convicted killer of Medger Evers, lived on Signal Mountain, Tennessee ... and ...

    You know what, you may have a point. Still, us hicks have come a long way.


    Giving Ken Mehlman A Dose Of His Own Medicine (none / 0) (#9)
    by Daniel DiRito on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 06:19:23 PM EST
    See a tongue-in-cheek visual that gives Mr. Mehlman a dose of his own "Innuendo" medicine...here:


    And also like this: (none / 0) (#15)
    by Gabriel Malor on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 12:16:01 PM EST
    This is the second major incident involving Democrats putting blackface on opposition candidates as part of a campaign. The first time was Maryland lieutenant governor/U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele. It was especially bizarre in Steele's case, given that Steele is already black.

    Link: Joe Lieberman Blackfaced, Jane Hamsher Redfaced