Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Influence, Or Lack Thereof, Of Squawk Radio

From the incomparable xoff:

The same is true of talk radio, which will be quick to take credit for any electoral success on Tuesday, with Ron Johnson the first to say that's how he won (if he wins). He kissed Charlie Sykes's ring (and who knows what else) before deciding to run, to make sure he's have his blessing.

Sykes was the emcee at a Johnson weekend rally in Oshkosh, and will play the same role at Scott Walker's closing rally in Wauwatosa.

But here's the thing: Most Wisconsinites don't listen to or pay attention to talk radio, either. Sykes's audience is about 2 per cent of the adult households in the Milwaukee metro area, perhaps 20,000 people on average. Mark Belling has similar numbers in the afternoon. It's a very limited listenership, and most of them are already convinced; they are not undecideds tuning in to be persuaded.

As much as we like to demonize them, their role is limited. They have more clout with conservative activists and Republicans who hang on their every word -- and with the editors and publishers at their sister publication, the Journal Sentinel. But the impact on the general public is miniscule, and Dems and progressives do ourselves a disservice by blaming Sykes, Belling & Co. for the ills of the world. They simply aren't that important, and we should not elevate them by acting like they are.

They may be riding the runaway Tea Party train and hanging on for dear life, but they are not steering.

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