April 26, 2016 7:32 pm -


Anger sells, and its a big part of the presidential campaign.

It is personality centered, with its ad hominem attacks dividing the political world into heroes and villains. Opponents are morons and idiots, not people meriting a civil response to their viewpoints. Outrage takes the form of political competition, political theater with a scorecard. It is ideologically selective, using a conservative or liberal frame to analyze the issues of the day. Finally, it is highly engaging — the vast audience would be absent if it wasn’t for the skill of hosts and writers to entice their viewers, listeners, and readers to keep coming back.

In less abstract terms, outrage is Rush Limbaugh saying that Obamacare “mirrors Nazi Germany’s” health care system, Martin Bashir saying someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth, Ann Coulter telling Sean Hannity that Ted Kennedy was a “piece of human excrement,” and Mark Levin calling Sen. Chuck Schumer “Schmucky.” These are not occasional transgressions—our measurements show that some hosts use this kind of language at the rate of once a minute.

Donald Trump fits perfectly into this world where his racist taunts reverberate across multiple platforms at a startling velocity. He’s turned political campaigning upside down, relying on interviews with the cable networks and largely eschewing TV commercials. Not coincidentally, he performs strongly among those who are regular cable viewers or talk radio listeners.



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.