Apparently, a group of cash-rich conservatives wanted to finance some good old fashioned, fear-mongering direct mail campaign, but they didn't have any particular message to get out, they just wanted to get people to vote against Obama. So they selected a set of anti-Obama films of, ahem, dubious quality, then hired Frank Luntz to tell them which of those films they ought to start mailing out to people:
They went to the unusual length of arranging a focus group to test anti-Obama films. Conducted by Frank Luntz, the well-known Republican research analyst, a 30-person focus group looked at three choices: Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America,” which theorizes that the president’s political beliefs were shaped by the radical “anticolonial” views of his Kenyan father; “The Hope and the Change,” a softer critique of the president that features interviews with disaffected former Obama supporters; and “Dreams From My Real Father,” which posits the implausible theory that the president’s real father is Mr. Davis, and that Mr. Davis indoctrinated him with Marxist views early on.
Left (surprisingly?) unsaid in all this: whether or not the films were flatly untrue was of no apparent concern. For that matter, whether or not the films were the most wretched, conspiratorial slanders you could imagine did not particularly concern them either:
Focus groups were revolted by “Dreams From My Real Father,” with its conspiracy theory paranoia and dubious evidence. It compares photos of the president and Mr. Davis, noting that they have similar noses and freckles. It also purports to have uncovered nude photos of Mr. Obama’s mother in a bondage magazine.
Mr. Luntz’s clients were not surprised. Their thinking was, “I want to know if it’s as bad as I think it is,” Mr. Luntz said.
Translation: They knew it was a rancid pile of conspiratorial, lying dung—but they still wanted to know if showing it to people would work. The conservative movement is now focus grouping its conspiracy theories to see which ones to promote to voters.
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