Critics on the left are constantly complaining that right-leaning radio talkers are getting their daily programming straight from the talking points of the Republican Party. This is one of the main reasons why they're so eager to implement the 'Fairness Doctrine' and either silence talk radio or force an artificial balance on broadcast content so that their message gets equal time. Their argument is that every word that Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly utters is essentially a free political commercial for the GOP, their policies and their candidates.
How much more troubled they must be by this week's developments in talk radio, as the President extended invitations to the top talk radio personalities to come to the White House for a personal conference in the Oval Office to get the administration's views on the War on Terror, Iraq and related issues, direct from the horse's mouth. This can't look like anything but loyal media drones coming in to receive their orders from the queen bee.
Ten of the top talk radio hosts came to the White House Wednesday morning to meet with President Bush for an hour, during which time they had the opportunity to ask any questions they liked on the stated topic, and get his best answers. The only catch was that no recording and no direct quotes would be allowed, but they could paraphrase and describe and give their interpretations of the President's comments freely.
Only a little bit of what went on in the meeting has been revealed thus far, because most of the hosts involved were off the air today so they could attend the meeting. Only a couple of west coast based hosts had shows late enough to discuss it, but it should drive discussion on talk radio tomorrow. From what I've been able to piece together the participants included Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz, Lars Larson, Bill Bennett and Dennis Prager (the ones with links have either audio or articles about the meeting). These weren't necessarily Bush's most loyal allies in the media. Boortz and Larson have both been loudly critical of both administration policies and performance. The one thing they all have in common is that they are generally convinced that the War on Terror is one we have to fight and that Islamic fundamentalism is a very real threat.