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Hullabaloo


Sunday, November 09, 2003

 
Radio Days

Seeing the Forest has a superb post up about the Wurlitzer and AM radio's influence, specifically on the California recall debacle. Read the whole thing:

I listened to the panel and couldn't get over the feeling that all these smart people were missing what to me is the most obvious component. I think that we can't ignore that when you turn on AM radio you hear nonstop ridicule of Democrats and praise for Republicans. There's just no way around this. This is what radio IS now, and this has to have an effect, not just in California, but nationwide. (I'm using AM radio as my example, but the fact is that the right dominates every communications channel.) Before the California election every AM station I tuned into was promiting Arnold all day, every day, nonstop. I mean national as well as local talk shows. Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc. All of them, all the time. They were talking about how the Democrats had caused all the problems in the state, and how "we" all want Arnold to get rid of Davis and "fix" the state. All day, every day.

I have a little bit of a marketing background, but I don't think you need to be a professional to know that marketing has an impact on people. It's pretty basic that repetition drives a message into people's consciousness. And what is going on around us, on the radio, on TV, in the newspapers, and from the Right's politicians is repetition. Coordinated repetition of strategic messages.

In most parts of the country there is NO OTHER SOURCE OF INFORMATION. The public is saturated with right-wing messaging from radio, Fox News, and right-wing local newspapers. People like you and me don't tend to listen to these right-wing talk shows, but I think we should. I think we need to understand the extent of right-wing domination, we need to experience it, and it would benefit our understanding of America to know what they are saying, every day. I listen when I'm driving somewhere -- usually turning it off in disgust after a few minutes of lies -- but I try to listen in several times a week.


Oh, Gawd. If I do that, my road rage level goes up about 100 points. I worry about public safety.

But, he's right.

I don't think anyone can overstate how important the Wurlitzer is to GOP success, and I would suggest that AM radio is the real driver. Even here in Los Angeles, one of the most left-wing, 5th column, commie, big cities in the country, it's all there is on talk stations.

So, I listen to NPR (when it's not doing a play or a music show during drive time) which is like still lukewarm water compared to the boiling oil of AM talk. You hear the Democratic point of view, but you also hear the Republican point of view, usually in a constrained, civil exchange in which each person is allowed to fully expound on the issue at hand. It's an excellent way to educate yourself about issues, but anybody who says that it serves as a counter to the screaming GOP advocacy of the Rush Limbaughs is full of shit.

Sometimes I listen to Pacifica which, with the exception of Democracy Now, is almost entirely devoted to cultural programs and is actively hostile to the Democratic Party about 90% of the time.

So, I listen to music most of the time in the car. Considering how much time I spend reading and following the news, it's actually a nice respite for me. But, as Dave points out, many people get most of their information from these bozos or at least become comfortable with the hyperbolic hostility expressed toward the Democratic party and those who make up the Democratic coalition. They begin to think that this is normal and reflects the thinking of the average person.

The toxic waste of right wing hate radio is seeping into the collective unconscious of the entire country. It's a big problem for us and we'd better figure out what to do about it.



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