Thursday, March 01, 2007

Right Wing Radio is Over...

I remember sometime about six or seven years ago - late 1999 or early 2000 I was sitting on my couch with my roommates watching some schlocky awards show and one of the popular boy-bands was performing. It was just awful - over-the-top, ridiculous, and nauseating. I turned to my buddies and told them I thought that (thankfully) the boy-band era was over - that performance had killed it. It may not end that week, or even that year, but its days were numbered.Maybe that situation was too easy to feel that I've got any sort of prognosticating power - but I'm here to make another prediction:

Right-wing Talk Radio is Over.

That may be a more bold prediction that the boy-band claim. Right wing radio is at its height. According to AC Nielson ratings, the five highest rated talk radio programs in the United States are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz, and Glen Beck - all right-wing talkers. In addition, Hannity and Beck have TV shows, and Limbaugh used to be on TV as well. These shows attract millions of listeners each day. Their influence is widespread in Republican and conservative circles. I sometimes listen to the Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage radio shows (and these are the main Wing-nuts that I am addressing) in the car, and they attract sycophantic listeners and callers ...but I think that we are very near a time when their influence will dramatically lessen. Why? I have three reasons...

1. Environment/Climate Change -
Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage are all VEHEMENTLY opposed to the thought that pollution in the atmosphere is negative. These guys have taken to calling any discussion about pollution, climate change or conservation as "the new liberal religion of environmentalism." I don't even know that that means - "liberal religion?" They shout from their radio-station thrones about all the scientific uncertainty that exists about climate change and pollution. They speak of the insidious conspiracy that caring for the environment is really communism in disguise. They almost burst blood vessels in raging about how they will never drive a hybrid and never use compact fluorescent bulbs...

Okay, okay - settle down boys. The fact is, they are on the wrong side of this issue - and it is no longer a political issue - its simply a responsibility issue, a stewardship issue. As the evidence of their wrongness grows, they are more desperate to oppose any discussion of responsible environmental actions and policy.

Regardless of what anyone "thinks" about human impact upon climate change - how can any possibly argue that polluting air, water, and earth is healthy? It is not healthy for us, for animal-life, plant-life, or large-scale eco-systems. So clearly, efficiency, conservation, and finding cleaner fuels are imperative. There is no conspiracy, no new religion. In fact - it's old time religion - stewardship.

As Americans (and the world's population in general) become ever more aware of the seriousness of these issues, and as Americans become ever better stewards of the earth that we are given, these right-wing radio types are further-and-further distanced from the mainstream in their 1800s-era environmental thinking. These guys growing irrational bitterness about environmental responsibility is alienating them from even their core audiences...

2. War in Iraq -
Obviously, huh? This issue is almost not worth discussing, because it is so obvious. Limbaugh and Hannity should be absolutely ashamed the way they still support and schill for the Bush Administration on Iraq. These guys actually still talk about links between Al Qaeda and Iraq (links that were shown to be Bush-admin fabrications years ago), and weapons of mass destruction (which they insist were there and hidden/are there and hidden/or have simply been covered up). They cheer leaded during the run-up to war, and now that the predictable has resulted - they blame everyone else. (Admittedly, Savage has been highly critical of Bush and his handling of the war. But his criticism is being Bush has not been harsh enough - Savage argues for massive bombings of civilian areas and/or a nuclear strike to clean out the insurgents. So, it's a "different" form of criticism - to say it lightly.)

This is another example of an issue that these guys have been proven totally wrong - but are steadfast in supporting those proven-wrong policies - and bitterly fabricating about and attacking those who disagree with them on these issues. These guys are self-confessed "water-carriers" - they support the Party and the policies regardless of wisdom. They are out-of-touch and irresponsible in their discussions of the occupation of Iraq. Their growing irrational stances regarding American involvement in Iraq is alienating them from even their core audiences...

3. They eat their own -
Most of all, the further and further these guys distance themselves from average Americans, and even from their core audiences, the more it has led them to eating their own. They attack anyone and everyone who thinks critically. Obviously, it is no surprise that these types wildly attack progressives and Democrats (including vicious personal and/or fabricated attacks). (An example, two years ago John Murtha used to be viewed by the right as a hawk on the war, and one of the few Democrats that could be trusted on military or foreign affairs issues...but he changes his stance on Iraq, and he is one of the chief targets of their attacks.) But, it's gone far beyond that now. They attempt to destroy even those in their own party who dare to think for themselves or not follow the party line. Chuck Hagel, long-time respected Republican, is mercilessly ridiculed and skewered on these shows. Jim Baker, Republican stalwart and long-time Bush family advisor was pilloried for his involvement in the Iraq Study Group. McCain and Giuliani are regularly roasted for their lack of "true" conservative credentials.

And more recently, and more importantly in my thinking, they brutally attack conservative callers who DARE to mention that they think that corporate welfare handouts to oil companies making billions of dollars a year are unnecessary; or mention that they have switched to compact fluorescent bulbs and are saving money; or mention that they are skeptical about the Bush administrations declarations about Iran, when so much of the Iraq intelligence proved cherry-picked or fabricated. These guys just trash their callers when topics like this are broached. These days listeners to these shows often begin by talking about how long they've listened and what an old-school Reagan-conservative they are - trying to deflect from the attack they know is coming. Any possible critical thought that is mentioned is simply crushed, or hung up on, or ridiculed. And this is what they do to their own listeners. These guys growing irrational bitterness is alienating them from even their core audiences...

Why would they eat their own? They are scared. They see the writing on the wall. They see how wrong they are on some of this, how they have backed the wrong horse on a lot of this, and how they are now looking up - and realizing they've dug a hole so deep that they just can't get out. They are scared - so they are more bitter, more caustic, and more vicious than ever. To their downfall.

It may not happen tomorrow or even this year...but these guys' days are numbered. Just like the boy bands...


Anonymous said...

Do you really listen to these guys about the environment? Savage is a rabid conservationist/environmentalist. It's not that they don't think pollution is negative. It's the herd mentality of acedemia that man is causing global warming and man can affect global temperature change. The earth is warming, (marginally, very marginally - in places - at times) but carbon emissions or, if the global warming doomsayers have their wish, the lack of carbon emissions cannot stop or reverse that. The science the global warmers rely on is inconclusive as to the reasons why temperatures are warming. When at the same time science that shows the normal cyclical temperature fluctuations throughout the millenia is naysayed and discredited.

The absolute refusal of the global warming crowd to entertain any further discussion, debate or contradictory science is what the these commmentators rail about.

Earth is warming, man is the cause, end of discusion. Not exactly an open, liberal, progressive debate on facts.

Everyone has their agenda. It's global warming as part of a lefty agenda rather than a serious debate on unresoved science that is the new 'religion' of the times.

Dean Becker said...

I am a reporter for "Left Wing" radio station KPFT. I focus primarily on the 92 year old prohibition of drugs, but I also focus on the nexus between the war on drugs and the war of terror.

The parralel to draw between your thoughts and my 9 radio programs per week which are broadcast on 70 affiliate stations each week include:

Politicians who have "made their bones" by being tough on drugs, who have used their "morals" in this regard as credentials to justify the arrest each year of more than 1,650,000, mostly black and Hispanic youngsters for minor amounts of drugs and who cannot back down now from their stance taken, despite the fact that statistics show they continually miss their target by 180 degrees.

Reporters who, never having discerned the truth about the racial beginnings (and ongoing racial mechanism) of this drug war, who have never examined the science and statistics which show that despite the fact that recreational drugs are made by untrained chemists and distributed by armed gangsters, aspirin and tylenol kill more people each year than do all hard drugs combined. Reporters also have a "reputation" to protect because they too have made their bones by sending more than 14 million young Americans to prison since 1970 for bags of plant products in their pockets.

I am proud that we at Pacifica radio were the ones boldly sharing the information that Saddams "weapons of mass destruction" were destroyed in 1992 to 1995, we were the ones shouting that Colin Powell was lying with every breath at the UN and we were and will be the ones examining all available data and sharing it with our listeners.

My individual goal is to stop America's funding of Al Queda with opium money, to destroy the cartels in Mexico and Colombia, to eliminate the reason most violent street gangs exist, to take away our childrens easy access to drugs, to curtail the number of AIDS and Hep C cases, to decrease the corruption of our officials with funds derived from the $500 billion per year black market, to basically end drug overdose deaths and to restore respect and bring proper focus to our law enforcement community now scratching their heads over why the violent crime rate is rising. All these positive steps can be done in one day, by ending drug prohibition.

If you would like to learn more, please visit my website or listen to KPFT radio, (90.1 FM) Monday through Saturday at 4:20 PM for the 3 minute "Drug War NEWS" and on Fridays at 1 PM for the half hour "Century of Lies" and Fridays at 7 PM for "Cultural Baggage".

I am a former cop and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition,

We offer cash money to anybody on the planet who will visit our shows to proclaim the need for drug war. I have invited everyone in my "chain of command" from the white house, the drug czar, congressmen, senators, governor, mayor, police chief, sheriff and more to accept our cash offer. This offer has been in place for more than 4 years, nobody, no official of any kind is willing to defend this policy for 15 minutes over the airways of our "Left Wing" station.

I hope to hell you are right, that Right Wing radio has had its day.

Dean Becker
Producer - Drug Truth Network

Anonymous said...

I just love it when self proclaimed "experts" tout their ideology over facts.

Do you realize that you fit in that catagory along with both Hanity and Rush?

Stick to law school. Famous last words? What a joke.

Blake said...

Responses to some of the Comments:
1. Just because Savage claims to be a "rabid conservationist/environmentalist" doesn't make it true.

2. I never used the phrase "global warming" in my post. I'm not exactly sure where the idea that "science that shows the normal cyclical temperature fluctuations throughout the millenia is naysayed and discredited" or the idea of "absolute refusal of the global warming crowd to entertain any further discussion, debate or contradictory science" come appears to me thse are straw-men created by right-wing pundits. I've never read or seen any credible commentator on the subject of climate change discredit cyclical temprature fluctuations. But on the other hand, I have also never read one credible "critic" or opponent of the science of climate change that was not funded by major polluting industries. As more big polluting industries follow the recent change in direction of Big Oil, the public relations/lobbying efforts (disguised as science) will lessen, and science will win the day - as it always has eventually triumphed in the past despite entrenched opposition. I try not to engage in the scientific debate - I'm certainly no scientist. What I stick to is the fact that it is clear that polluting the air, water, and earth is not healthy. So clearly, efficiency, conservation, and finding cleaner fuels are imperative. Right-wing radio, specifically Limbaugh, Hannity, and yes, Savage, oppose efficiency, conservation (in terms of wide-spread reduction of consumption), and finding cleaner fuels. That's going to be one of the things that undoes their power with their audience.

3. I do not think I fit into the same category as Limbaugh and Hannity, for several reasons. Not the least of the reasons is that I don't command millions of listeners a day... But more importantly, I think, is that I do not (or at a minimum, I try not to) avoid or attempt to ridicule those who disagree with me. Admittedly, I'm not always so quick to posting comments, but I will post any comment entered. In addition, I try to respond to those comments in a reasonable way. If you disagree, I encourage you to say so!

I think one of the most important aspects of political issues is the debate. The discussion of ideas. It is right-wing radio's rejection of debate and discussion of ideas that is (in my opinion) leading to its downfall.

KingBushwicktheToityToid said...

Okay,I'm a former Houston Area(Freeport)kinda guy whose Family"Loaded Up The truck and Moved To Fayette County.Flatonia to be more specific.Best place in the State to watch Trains!!"in the Spring of'74 and I stayed there until 1996,when I moved to temple.Somehow,I found myself remarried and in the Fort Worth area in 2004.
Yet,I get down to the H-town area at least once a year to spend Xmas with my Family.
Anyway,I'm a Backsliding Scots-Irish Protestant Semi Libertarian Guy Married To A Fundavengelical Fairly Conservative Woman.
Here's my philosophies about Politics:"A Conservative Looks at A Glass of Water and says It's Half full.A Liberal Looks At A Glass of Water and Says It's Half Empty.A Realist Says'Give Me That You Damned Twits!!'and Drinks The Water.".
"People Who Listen to talk radio Shouldn't Be allowed To Have Children.".
About Religion:"When We Were Children,Some Of Us were Little Sunbeams For Jesus.
Some Of Us wanted To Be Richard Widmark in'Halls of Montezuma'.
I Was One Of the Latter.".
Keep Up The Good work.