Report from Talk-Radio Land
I am returning from holidays in La Jolla and the Sarasota area where I listened periodically to talk radio to see how Obama was doing in that medium as I walked the glorious beaches. (I know I should be communing with nature, listening to the Pacific and Gulf tides and seabirds but I am a political junkie.) San Diego County went for Obama in November and McCain just eked out a victory in Sarasota. But in both locales I was unable to pick up NPR or Air America on my headphones. It was a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Bill Bennett, Monica Crowley, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher and others. And they all generally agreed that:
Obama was a socialist or communist (Barack Brezhnev); a puppet of evil forces (Axelrod, Emanuel) since he cannot leave his teleprompter; his administration is made up of incompetents and tax cheats; he is an appeaser abroad; he will soon take our guns away; he is a Chicago hack or thug; he lies and dissembles, he wants to kill babies; he is abetted by radical diva Nancy Pelosi; he wants to raise everyone’s taxes, but especially those entrepreneurs who will lead us out of the recession; the pork-laden stimulus package has failed; and the drive-by or mainstream media is in love with him. More generally, FDR’s New Deal did not help end the Depression, the Great Society was a total failure, the current economic crisis was brought about by Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Fanny and Freddy, Ronald Reagan’s presidency was a complete success, and above all, using the Fairness Doctrine, the Democrats will soon take all the microphones away from conservative talkers.
We may not need the Fairness Doctrine but there should be some way to encourage or compel stations, in the public interest as per federal regulations, to present an occasional dissenting view, even if polls currently show majority support for Obama. It’s a wonder that any talk-radio listeners in my two locales voted Democratic in November.
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mary lili jory - 8/16/2009
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Mike A Mainello - 3/25/2009
I totally disagree with the left's "public interest" argument. There are many radio stations with many different formats available for liberals to broadcast.
If liberals force "fairness" and "balance" you will only bankrupt the radio industry and put more people out of work. The people have spoken with their money and want talk radio. Why do you think newspapers are going bankrupt? They lean way too left and with the advent of the internet, people can get their news somewhere else.
Melvin Small - 3/23/2009
I appreciate your comments Mr. LoSpinoso. The Communication Act of 1934 requires the federally licensed radio stations, among other things, to serve the "public interest." Unlike the print media, the airwaves belong to the people. I wondered in my post whether it is in the public interest if virtually all of the talk on all of the radio throughout the country represented one point of view. I know that everyone is free to buy his or her own radio station and to compete in the market place for ratings, after obtaining that federal license, but it is difficult to compete against broadcasting near monopolies.
Jeff S. LoSpinoso - 3/21/2009
It’s profoundly sad how Free Speech via the First Amendment can be completely misunderstood to the point where on something called the History News Network, a Student of History can state that “privately owned radio stations should be encouraged or compelled to present a dissenting view”, I hardly know where to begin.
Our founders where smart enough to make our Free Speech Right unambiguous, the First Amendment DOES NOT SAY that private citizens or enterprises can speak freely so long as you allow all opposing viewpoints.
Imagine, how many viewpoints are there on a given issue, who would decide which ones are to be officially recognized, some "un-biased" government official perhaps?
As you may have guessed, I’m a big fan of Conservative Talk Radio and an even bigger fan of the Constitution. The Conservative Hosts that I listen to are spot on with their factual information and are clear to distinguish Facts from their own Opinions.
I suppose that if the so called “Fairness Doctrine” is instituted, the Conservative Talk Shows could simply grant themselves press credentials and not be subject to it. Funny how for years the Traditional Media has practiced a biased against Conservatives, Liberal Scandals get the back page, Conservative Transgressions are hammered on for days on end until someone goes down for it, even then often times it continues. Talks Radio is the Conservative Response to Traditional Media Bias, we did not try to shut down the Dan Rathers of the world, let them talk, let them compete, that’s Conservatism, Free Markets, be they Cattle Futures or Political Philosophy.
What’s truly at the core of all this is a simple truth, Conservatism welcomes an honest debate on any given issue, whereas Liberalism seeks to destroy its opponents, as it knows it cannot argue on the merits of its philosophy.
Melvin Small - 3/16/2009
At least in Fargo I can pick up Big Ed Schultz.
HNN - 3/15/2009
Splendid report Mel.
Let's send you around the country to sample radio opinion.
Next stop perhaps ... uhm ... Fargo?