Monday, November 14, 2005

On Talk Radio

Rather amusing take on the reason for the rise and the effecitiveness of talk radio, although in my experience, I think that he misses some pretty valid points. As I had mentioned in earlier posts, I had an office mate who was the head of the Junior NAACP in Europe. About that time, the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) was looking to put Rush Limbaugh on the air for those of us in Europe. Now, at that time, I had never heard of Rush, so I was curious to hear what the fuss was about. Eventually after much gnashing of teeth, he was given one hour of taped delay starting at 10 at night. Anyway, getting back to my office mate, he told me that Rush was just an "entertainer."
Later, on leave in the US, I heard a whole Rush show, and found him amusing, although at the time, I really objected to his telling me what to think. Apparently, he has stopped doing this. I told my office mate that I thought that Rush doesn't entertain, that it is more than that. Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that what Rush does is not issue marching orders, he simply enunciates and validates what the listeners already feel. The other thing that was interesting about his show, (remember, that this is 1992) was the interaction between him and his listeners. You have to remember, this was in the era before the Internet became quite so ubiqtuous. Instead of screaming at a TV or a radio in impotent frustration, you could actually be heard across the country. Your 30 seconds of fame. His listeners tended to raise issues that I had not considered before, and never heard on the MSM.
Does this mean that it is nothing more than the revolt of the "angry white males" as the election of 1994 was called. I don't think so. What it is, is really people expressing their feelings who had been told for quite a while "Shut up White Boy." and they had come to resent the racism and sexism that did not address their concerns.
Those on the Left who abhor Talk radio are making a mistake. In a way, I suppose that it is understandable that they would resent some media outside of their control that is so widely listened to and discussed. You are far more likely to find a conversation about what Rush, Hannity, Laura, etc said, than what Schieffer, Williams or whoever took over from Jennings said.
I have listened to Air America, but find it frustrating, in that they are the very charachature of what they accuse Right Talk Radio of being.
I've got to admit, that I do enjoy this experiment in the mix of media and democracy.

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