During Thursday night's VP debate, Sarah Palin used the phrase "mainstream media." To paraphrase, she said something like, "I'm not going to allow my comment/words/etc. to pass through the filters of the mainstream media, I will speak directly to the American people."
I happen to have recently had the displeasure of reading some posts and comments on several far right websites, and so the phrase set off an alarm in my head. On these far right websites, they use the acronym MSM, demonstrating their belief that the ordinary media outlets in our nation have been hijacked by some nefarious forces. Since we are talking about the right, after all, it's safe to say that they are not articulating a marxian critique of the corporate-owned media.
During the last eight years, certain phrases have become code understood mostly by Bush's right-wing evangelical base; phrases like "no more legislating from the bench" and the like signal a certain position on abortion and similar "values" issues. But what Sarah Palin did on Thursday was to use a code word that signaled to a particular, mostly underground, group of white Christian nationalists that she speaks their language. That's darn scary. You betcha.