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?