Why Talk Radio Can be Hazardous to the Conservative Cause

If you are a connoisseur of Conservative Talk Radio, you may be unwittingly undermining the very cause you hold so dear while at the same time sucker-punching your battered psyche into the depths of clinical despair.

WARNING: Your daily dose of didactic diarrhea spewed forth from the ever open mouths of radio’s right-of-center provocateurs can present an insidious hazard to your mental health and a corrosive curse on the conservative movement.

Talking Heads

Here are the Seven Deadly Syndromes inflicted on the patriotic public by Conservative Talk Radio:

  1. Defeatism.  Too much of what passes for discussion on conservative Talk Radio is a seemingly endless stream of negatively reactive babble that boldly goes where only the Borg would dare to tread.  After three hours of being pummeled by a Tokyo Rose of Talk Radio, who wouldn’t fall to their trembling knees in total submission, screaming out the mantra of the cowardly crowd-pleaser: Resistance is Futile!

  2. Victimization.  The sense of helplessness engendered by listening to hours worth of cultural catastrophes supposedly befalling the country we love can only lead to a Victim-hood mentality.  And that Woe is Us meme seeps into the pores of the faithful spreading its poison of passivity and resignation.  Wringing one’s hands in a daily dirge of Look What They’re Doing to Us! doesn’t keep the troops aware and ready—it keeps them dispirited and depressed.

  3. Anger Creation.  Why would anyone subject themselves to a solid soaking in stress hormones day in and day out?  Yet many of our brothers and sisters in the conservative cause do just that—bathing their psyches in aural doses of manufactured frustration, fear, and anger.  The big talkers sure know how to manipulate the masses and the anger addiction is an easy string to pull when you’re peddling perdition.

  4. Sensationalism.  Hyperbole is the name of the game for so many of these Talking Head hosts.  Hype, hype, and more hype to keep the listeners hooked and the advertisers happy.  With so much outrageous exaggeration dished out every day, it becomes nigh unto impossible to see the forest for the tease.

  5. False Sense of Security.  So many conservative radio listeners seem to think that the well-paid entertainment fixture issuing worth his or her per diem diagnosis of doom and gloom is a godlike guru.  Not only do the actual words of their Glorious One register with the adoring public, but all the vocal nuances of inflection, tone, and pitch are devoured by those folks desperately seeking solace.  On those occasions when the politics seem to be headed in the Right direction, the laity cling to any reassuring pronouncement parceled out by their yammering secular messiah.  Perhaps a sermon needs to be preached on the pitfalls of worshiping false commercial idols—or maybe Obama’s 2013 inauguration speech might bring some of these simpering sinners to salvation.

  6. False Sense of Community.  Many conservatives look to Talk Radio as their on-air friendly neighborhood hangout where like-minded compadres meet to offer up their public say while giving the loyal listener that warm and fuzzy feel of community.  Needless to say, Talk Radio can certainly augment a sense of connection among conservatives, but don’t mistake the radio for a relationship.  If we’re not going to bother to create thriving local conservative communities, we can pretty much forget about changing America’s culture.  The personal is indeed political and the grassroots local level is where the seeds of long-term change are planted.  A gem of genuine wisdom that for some bizarre reason conservatives refuse to grab hold of.

  7. Group Think Reinforcement.  Continuing to listen to the same old pack of howling hyenas baying over the bleeding carcass of Lady Liberty day in and day out only reinforces the same old unworkable and impotent mindsets. What the conservative movement needs more than anything else is effective leadership.  Competent leadership brings new ideas, better strategies, exciting energy, and renewed commitment.  Don’t look to the motley crew of conservative on-air blowhards with their  defensive bombast and Chicken Little hysteria to provide even a semblance of sane, let alone strategic, discourse.

Talk Radio has an important role to play in the world of conservative politics, but unfortunately, the current crop of conversationalists for the most part does very little to contribute to the cause.  To the contrary, too many of them are nothing more than Talking Turnips and Paranoia Pumpers.

But there are exceptions….My general exemptions from the Turnip and Paranoia brood, based on the radio shows I get to audit, are: Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager.  But even Mr. Prager seems to be caught in a web of down-talking depression.  He, more than any other on-air talent can articulate the role of culture and its impact on politics.  But Mr. Prager needs to extend the positive concepts highlighted during his Happiness Hour to the rest of his weekly programs—geez, there are times when you’ll need to pop Prozac after listening to his down, down, down delivery.

Hugh Hewitt is informative and Mark Levin has the courage of a street fighter.  We need more of that kind of tough-it-out spirit.  But if they, or any other conservative radio or television personalty, think that our battles are strictly at the ballot box, then all the moxie in the world won’t bring us victory.

Based on the popularity of some of these icons of on-air hot air, don’t look for any change in the line-up any time in the near future or beyond.  Whinging, fear-mongering, sharing that sense of victim-hood and fake family, and of course the clarion call of the lock-step herd, are all very powerful substitutes for strategizing, planning, taking risks, forming real connections, and making things happen.

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6 Responses to Why Talk Radio Can be Hazardous to the Conservative Cause

  1. Paula says:

    Levin is hilarious! Yes, if not a bit hyperbolic, or perhaps passionate. I can relate to the screamIng :-) And Rush, too, is so funny! Some of this is pure entertainment — if I can get a laugh then they are doing something err right.

    In the face of Obama’s media at every turn, con talk radio offers an outlet for many of us where there would be a void. So yeah, perhaps it is like an on-air hangout, and like anything else, one has to temper the voices with our own reality.

    I also think Levin helped elect some conservatives; how much so, I’ve no clue but he did work for the cause as well as blast the hell out of those who needed blasting.

  2. JBrenn says:

    I’ve stepped away from the daytime circuses too. Among my favorites, however, are people like Steyn, Thomas Sowell, and Tony Katz. They offer more thought than non-sense, and they still seem much more connected to the people than the weeks’ prototypical talkers.

  3. Mary says:

    I have to take talk radio in doses! I do like Rush and Levin, but love Mark Steyn and Hewitt. I still get most of my info from reading online. Drudge, Hot Air, Instapundit, You, etc….

  4. AtlanticGirl says:

    Great article. You’ve brought up points I hadn’t before considered. However, I would have to disagree with listening to Medved.

    I had listened to Medved for a couple of years, daily. What frustrated me with him was that he didn’t seem to go in depth enough on some of the issues he discussed or consider there COULD POSSIBLY be nefarious ideologies behind some of our politicians. There points and info often missing from his rhetoric. I felt he was way too cozy and easy on Obama, refusing to entertain that Obama actually MAY just have an agenda that is going to be devastating to the country and it’s people. I felt he gave a sense of “it will all be ok, just vote, politics as usual, here folks.” And I feel what we’re facing is anything BUT politics as usual. I think people DO, at this point, need to feel a sense of urgency and a little fear to jump start them, not words to perpetuate the sense of complacency that is plaguing many in this country.

    A friend of mine listened to Medved religiously and that was her attitude “Oh, the republicans will do what they “should”. We’ll just vote Obama out and things will be fine. He’s not a bad man, just ‘inexperienced.”

    Of course, it’s been nearly 2 years since I’ve listened to him so I may be talking out my butt at this point. Just my 2 cents. But, thank you for a good reminder not to get bogged down by over-saturation.

    • I see your point. Medved was a big Romney fan and supportive of staying clear of Obama’s motivations but instead zeroing in on the ‘inexperience’ factor. I think that affirmative action mentality with its condescension and the fear of appearing racist is still a big driver for many republicans. And Medved is invested in appearing reasonable and cerebral as opposed to sounding like a ‘fringe’ freak. Michael can come off at times as the epitome of 1950s republicanism.

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