dog whistle

(redirected from dog-whistles)

dog whistle

1. noun Literally, a whistle that emits sound at a frequency so high that it can be heard by dogs but not humans. The dogs all started howling at the sound of the trainer's dog whistle.
2. noun By extension, a word or phrase specifically used to convey an innocuouss meaning to the general audience while conveying or suggesting a different, often controversial, message to the target audience. Especially used in politics. He's using that term as a dog whistle to signal to his base what his values really are.
3. noun The tactic of using such a term. His use of the term is clearly a dog whistle intended to rally his base.
4. adjective Describing such a term or tactic. When used as an adjective, the phrase is commonly hyphenated. Allusions to issues like race are commonly couched in dog-whistle terms to appeal to certain blocs of voters while going unnoticed by others.
See also: dog, whistle
References in classic literature ?
He took his dog-whistle from the chimney-piece, and turned his steps at once in the direction of the drawing-room, in which his guests were passing the evening.
Boris Johnson and his pals are blowing dog-whistles to the hard-right.
In the run-up to the May 2018 parliamentary election, the Fidesz government used anti-Semitic dog-whistles to appeal to the xenophobic portion of the electorate in a campaign whose central issue was the call to bar Muslim and African refugees from Hungary.
In a campaign speech this spring, Orban demonized his opponents by employing a collection of classic Nazi/anti-Semitic code phrases: "We are fighting an enemy that is different from us...not straightforward but crafty..they are not national but international...they do not believe in work but speculate in money..they have no homeland, but feel the whole world is theirs." Just weeks ago, Orban declared that Soros himself was responsible for growing anti-Semitism, apparently on the logic that if Soros stopped supporting refugee resettlement in Europe, his government and others would stop antiSemitic dog-whistles.
As in her despatch from the battlefield, so to say, reporter Supriya Sharma notes, Mr Modi has used a wide range of dog-whistles to insinuate that the Congress is a party of Muslims, and hence untrustworthy for Hindus.
This week, from this White House, we have heard the racist dog-whistles of campaign rhetoric morph into the clear and undeniable language of racism.
He attracts racists, and sends racist dog-whistles that the worst of his followers pick up on.
No dog-whistles, no scapegoating, just honest policies.
Many of the writers who are fond of the Israel Firster smear areappropriatelyvery good at hearing and analyzing dog-whistles when they're used to dehumanize Arabs and Muslims.
(That both the New York and the New York Times Magazinepiecesand believe it or not, both are well worth your timesent dog-whistles to readers "in the know" is all the more objectionable: These little knowing asides depend on the ideal of exclusive, elite knowledge that is the proper enemy of all good journalism.)
This week's column, however, argues more persuasively and with more nuance that certain bloggers are sounding dog-whistles to certain commenters, and while I do not agree with every word of it, I urge folks of all political stripes to give it a full read, because that argument deserves to be grappled with.