Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Problem With Talk Radio

OK, OK, I admit the title of this post is a bit misleading. That title could cover an entire blog in itself. Oh, wait, it does. Whallah! is McBridean French for "The problem with talk radio." But I digress.

We already mentioned Tim Cuprisin's coverage of Medved's pre-mortem autopsy of talk radio.
Mr. Cuprisin has a follow up post on the issues talk radio might have during this presidential election year. Problems that they brought upon themselves, nonetheless:

Charlie Sykes has blogged on the Medved critique of Limbaugh and his lieutenants, and how they've dumped on Messrs. McCain and Huckabee.

The way Charlie has framed the debate, it's "dueling talk show hosts."

But the reason why this McCain-Huckabee situation is potentially damaging to the talk radio biz is that the first-tier talkers live in a world with its own conventional wisdom and its own version of political correctness. That has meant years of dumping on McCain, a Goldwater conservative, and, more recently, dumping on Huckabee, a religious conservative.

It's the dumping on that's the problem for talk radio. Either you're the savior or you're the devil in the incredibly black-and-white world of talk radio.McCain and Huckabee are devils to the talkers.

If either of them win the nomination (frankly, it's more likely that McCain would do that than Huckabee, especially after McCain's showing in conservative South Carolina), the talkers would be locked out of the election.

There are, of course, some differences in talkers. In Milwaukee, for example, Charlie's been a GOP mouthpiece, while Mark's a loose cannon, more likely to turn on Republicans. But both have fallen in line with Limbaugh on Huckabee, and have long marched in lockstep on McCain.

Mike Mathias also noted Cuprisin's post and added his own take on the future of talk radio:

I actually think conservative talk radio has more resilience as a form, and that form is likely to survive an election-cycle drubbing. The audiences for Limbaugh, Sykes, and Belling could even grow if the Democrats take the White House since the talkers will hurry to remake themselves as the voice of the opposition.

I, as the your reluctant King of the Hate Left, and current defender against the foolishness, fallacies and foibles of the local right wing talk media, must say that I believe Mr. Cuprisin is wrong, and that Mr. Mathias is only partially correct.

I do not think Sykes or Belling (or Limbaugh or any of those other national gasbags) are going to be locked out of this election. I do believe that even if the GOP nominee ends up being Huck-I'm-A-Believer or McCain, these squawkers will be doing their locksteps right along with this candidate. They will weasel out of their words and condemnations of that same person that they had been spewing all year long. This is because the talk squawkers are that two-faced and hypocritical. They follow opinions of the Republican base more than any politician could or would.

They might criticize the Republican more than usual, but they make up for this by being unusually hypercritical of the Democratic candidate, criticizing everything about that person, to the point that some people may call for actions by the parent companies due to the extreme hyperboles and prejudice that will be exhibited.

In other words, it will be business as usual for them.


  1. You speak the truth Capper. The talkers never met a side of their mouth they didn't like. If you go far enough back (and forward) you will see the some of them once upon a time actuallay thought George W Bush was an idiot.

  2. If you call George W. Bush the village idiot, you insult the village.

    If you call McBride or Bucher a village idiot, you insult the idiot.

  3. How do you know the talkers aren't TRYING to bring down the Republicans through encouraging this infighting -- and elect a Democrat so they have something to keep them employed for the next eight years? A McCain presidency could wipe conservative talk radio off the map.

  4. When I first read the title of this post, I couldn't help but wonder, "There's just one problem with Talk Radio?"