We’ve long suspected that the GOP deliberately altered the flesh-tone of Barack Obama’s photos for use in Republican political ads, clearly as a means of scaring bigoted white voters into believing Obama is somehow blacker and therefore more threatening than he really is. It’s all part of the well-known “Southern Strategy.” We’ll circle back to this presently.
But a new study appears to have proved that anti-Obama operatives did indeed alter the president’s skin-tone to make him appear blacker. Based on more than a hundred videos produced by the GOP and its affiliates during the 2008 election cycle, Public Opinion Quarterly determined that whenever Obama appeared in an advertisement in which he’s accused of criminal activities, the producers of the videos “almost always” used photos that made Obama look like a darker-skinned African-American.
“Eighty-six percent of these ads contained an image of the president in which the his skin tone was in the darkest quartile of all ads studied.”
Of course this makes perfect sense given how the GOP has been engaged in a strategy that involves scaring certain white people into turning up at the polls in order to prevent the sinister black man from being elected. This is the cornerstone of the Southern Strategy. It’s existed as a tactic for more than 150 years (used first by conservative southern Democrats), but it only recently got its name during the Nixon years when White House strategists determined that the best way to scare up white votes was to literally, you know, scare up white votes. Some examples included the Jesse Helms “White Hands” ad; the Bush/Atwater “Willie Horton” ad; and, most recently, accusations that “Obama Isn’t Working” (implying blacks are lazy) and that Obama is “foreign.”
Lest any Republican trolls insist that the Southern Strategy doesn’t exist, you should know that RNC chairman Michael Steele publicly acknowledged it and apologized for it. So… there it is.