Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Clash Of The Squawkers

On one hand, we have Fischer, who is whining about Super Tuesday, writing:

When McCain did well Tuesday night, his victories were not a reflection on conservative talk show hosts. People who often speak out about the genre of talk radio or television generally have no understanding of how that piece of the media works.

Talk show hosts, no matter what the political persuasion, are not Pied Pipers. They have no magic spell to place viewers and listeners into a seductive trance.

The consumers that watch or listen are not lemmings or trained seals. They don’t sit back like robots, waiting for instructions from the master talk show hosts. No, they have minds of their own, capable of making decisions after careful thought.

All the talk show hosts can do is their homework, prepare a case, and try to make a persuasive argument.

Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling have no control whatsoever over what a voter in Arizona does after he walks into the booth.

It’s one of the greatest misperceptions about talk show hosts, that somehow they have the ability to make listeners drink the Kool-Aid right through the radio speakers.

Geez, I hope Sykes doesn't hear this. His ego can't take many more blows.

However, let me remind you of the words of the (in)famous McBride, when she was complaining about Republicans voting for the state budget last fall:
What do most share in common? They are largely not in Talk Radio Country. Which simply means they don't hear their constituents' voices quite as sharply as those who are in it. They receive their news through the funnel of the MSM, which likes the budget compromise and liked the Democratic version even more. They might hear from a stray constituent via phone call or email. But they don't hear the groundswell of conservative voices that are empowered in SE Wisconsin by talk radio.

So which is it? That talk radio controls the people or not?


  1. The consumers that watch or listen are not lemmings or trained seals. They don’t sit back like robots, waiting for instructions from the master talk show hosts. No, they have minds of their own, capable of making decisions after careful thought.

    What planet is this guy on.

  2. Planet Franklin.

    But who is talking like a lemming repeating the Belling mantra?

    Kevin Fischer of course. Where do you think he got those talking points. Well from Sykes and Belling. Kind of circular.

  3. Looks like I poked Mr. Fischer once too many times in his blog. He's started spewing all sorts of vitriole at me simply because I had the unmitigated gall to challenge him in a couple of his entries.


  4. Speaking of McBride. Well sort of. I wonder if she is goingto stick her head out of her fox hole and make a post tonight?

  5. Hey now...

    Planet Franklin isn't all a bunch of Fischer's!

    My take on McCain is open for anyone to read:

  6. Link fix for young Mr. Kowalksi's site. Be patient folks, NOW blogs apparently don't use html too much.

  7. Capper, there's more to that link - I just don't know how you did that!

    The full link can be found if you read the comment on the full blog mode (if that makes sense...)

    Sorry, it's my blog "newbie"ness.

  8. Oopsie, typing in the dark...

    Here is the correct link. Sorry, Mr. Kowalski.

    Don't get all Fischer-y on me.

  9. It's ok Capper.

    Hey now - "Fischer-y?"

    Oh, brother! Don't scare me.

    I mean, my main slogan (according to Fischer) is "WOO-HOO!" when my tummy is pushed in by somebody.

  10. I can't speak for Kevin Fischer or Jessica McBride, but allow me to provide some balance on the topic.

    Super Tuesday was not a contest between John McCain and conservative talk show hosts. I can understand why Left-leaning pundits and their ranks wanted to frame it that way because they do tend to suffer from Limbaugh-phobia.

    The fact is the "squawkers" (not nice, by the way) express their opinions. Their shows provide a forum for others to air their views. The hosts do not deliver marching orders. Those on the Left underestimate talk radio audiences. The listeners aren't soldiers. They think for themselves.

    I believe Jessica McBride was highlighting the importance of getting both sides of an issue out to the public. Talk radio provides that diversity.

    It's not about controlling people. It's about an open exchange of ideas.

  11. Greg,

    Do we know if he is still the fill in on the Bellling Squawk Tawk?

  12. Thank you Jessica er...MAry

  13. Mary-

    Please don't misconstrue what is said. Everyone knows that Limbaugh, Sykes, et al. were not running for POTUS. But they have been hammering away at McCain for a long time, and it is obvious that they feel their credibility crumbling. Their lack of persuasion was first evidenced in 2006, and it is becoming more apparent this year.

    Perhaps you cannot see things from the other side, which is sad, but many do not feel that talk radio is an open forum. It is an echo chamber. I have a relative who listens to Sykes, and starts spouting off with the same litany. When I quietly point out the partial truths, and the sometimes outright lies, he doesn't know what to say. He, unfortunately, is NOT thinking for himself.

    Whether it be on their shows, or on their blogs, they do not condone or tolerate an open exchange of ideas. They do not let rational, articulate people through to express their opinions. This has been known throughout the Milwaukee region for more many, many years. There have even been novelty t-shirts sold at common stores that highlighted this truth.

    And Mary, please explain, why do so many right wing bloggers, including Sykes, McBride, McIlheran, and even you, not list any liberal sites on your blogrolls? Where is the free exchange of ideas there? Is there some phobia of letting people see both sides of the issue?

  14. Anony 9:48-

    Mary is from Freedom Eden. She is a conservative blogger that deserves more respect than that.

    She seems to be having a hard time understanding where we are coming from, and your rudeness does not help the situation.

  15. Imagine how dull my life would be if I only listened to the people that think just like I think. How would my ideas ever grow if I didn't try them out on someone that disagrees occasionally? I won't risk becoming a small-minded person by playing favorites to either of the small political circles drawn in the SE Wisconsin blogosphere. If I'm excluded I figure it's their loss. (Anyway, that's what mom always said. It still kind of hurts initially.)

  16. Cap

    McBride is a conservative blogger also. Maybe anony 9:48 was being kind.

    Be that as it may. The right wing talk show hosts spout that their listeners aren't lemmings drinking the kool aid but listen to them when one of their crusades doesn't go right.

    They lambast the listeners for not calling their legislators and sometimes hit the dump button.

    Belling on school cap ex referendums is a good example.

  17. I listen to WTMJ for the news on the half hour (I work in a concrete bunker and it's the only channel that comes in--on nice days I can get WBBM, sort of, with static).

    I am getting good at being objective (for a liberal) to the callers, but always wonder who these morning callers are. I am listening while at work, but would never dream of calling into a radio station and sitting on hold, so are the callers retired, unemployed, truck drivers on cell phones, stay at home moms, sales reps on cell phones....?

    I think it would be nice if they would say Where they are calling from and how it is that they've got the time to do this, if not at work potentially getting in trouble.

    Does any one really know the demographics? And do they et really adrenalated when they hear themselves on the radio (you have to turn it down...)?

  18. Buddy-

    While what you say about McBride is undeniable, Anony 9:48 came across as being snotty and rude in my opinion.

    And you are absolutely correct on the other point. I remember plenty of occassions where Sykes would sneer at his audience, saying, "Don't you people get it?" or words to that effect.

  19. seer,

    I have to say, I don't know much about the issue...other than it's rumors. Actually, I'm kinda glad I wasn't the blog that had the rumor posted - I might have been called something a lot worse than Cheesecake Breath...

    I'm sure Ms. Kilkenny or even Capper might know more than me.

  20. I had looked at WISN's website, but found no information either way. Perhaps someone should contact Tim Cuprisin about this.