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Rush Limbaugh And Company, Air America Radio, And The Folly Of All Of Them

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Among the many lessons Bob Lassiter taught me was one about the nature of talk radio — a lesson that so many of its own participants seem never to have learned. He was talking one evening about the ardent liberals that identified him as one of their own, but who no longer called his show to tell him so and express their agreement, because he had bitterly disappointed them. He singled out one in particular, a woman from Clearwater named TJ.

"I've had calls from TJ begging and pleading with me," he said. "When I first came back to Tampa I was doing mornings over at WSUN. I mean it was hilarious and yet pathetic at the same time. There was poor old TJ on the phone — I'm over at SUN trying to do a morning show, and she wants me to listen to Rush Limbaugh every day and come in the following day on SUN and point-by-point go over what he said and correct him!"

He paused — Lassiter was a master of pacing. "This is not a battle between the forces of good and evil," he finally said. "It's radio. It's entertainment. Period."

Why are liberals so threatened by conservative talk radio? And vice versa? (Yes, I know that conservatives, especially those on radio, love to make fun of Air America and its ratings and financial troubles… hell, Neal Boortz feels a need to repeat any story, no matter how small, about Air America and its problems. But you know what, folks? They wouldn't make such a big deal about it if they weren't at least a little bit afraid of it.) I posit that it's because they believe the propaganda that both liberal and conservative radio personalities deliver about themselves: that they have the power to make a difference in political elections.

Balderdash. Rush Limbaugh, the all-important King of Talk Radio, the darling of the conservative publicity machine, would be ahead of everybody else on the radio if he'd made an impact of greater than five total votes. Air America Radio, the floundering liberal-talk outpost that conservatives love to trash (see above), had even less of an impact, of course. And guess what? Neither side's radio talking heads even have the potential to deliver any more votes for their candidate of choice.

The people who understand that the least seem, at least outwardly, to be the ones on the air.

You see, ladies and gentlemen, post-Limbaugh talk radio is not about convincing people to vote one way or the other. The people who listen to any given radio host have already made up their minds. Let me repeat that: Anybody who listens to Rush Limbaugh is already going to vote Republican. Anybody who listens to Air America is already going to vote Democrat. They are not there to change minds — they're there to reassure their constituencies. People like to hear their own opinions repeated back to them, and they absolutely hate to hear opinions on the radio that they disagree with.

Talk radio these days plays up both of those facts. The Limbaughs, Hannitys, Frankens, and Malloys of current talk radio don't want to challenge anyone; much as they take shots at the other guys, much as they may ask for the other guy to call in and explain some point, they don't actually want the other guys to call into the show and take part in any kind of real discussion. Sure, if you've listened to any of those people, you've heard the opposition call, but when was the last time you heard them get in a word edgewise? The hosts cut them off, do their best to make them look like fools, and move on. Why? Not because they're political hacks who don't want to allow the other guys to have any influence. They do it because that's what their fans want to hear: they want to hear the other side be made to shut up and look like an idiot.

Do you really think that anyone who hasn't made up his mind – the almighty Swing Voter – is going to listen to talk radio to help make a decision? Do you think that anyone who listens to, say, Laura Ingraham, is even slightly ambiguous about who they're going to vote for? No. Of course not. Talk radio in the 21st century is support-group radio: people listen to hear nationally prominent people say, "I agree with you." That's why local talk-radio is all but dead: nobody cares if some dude who lives in your hometown agrees with you or not when you've got a national celebrity to say what you want to hear.

In fact, fellow Blogcritic Dave Nalle – a man whom I respect – wrote an article not long ago titled "Air America: Telling Lies the Left Wants to Hear." I made plenty of comments on that post, but I now realize what I should have said–I should have simply commented on the title, as follows:

Air America: Telling Lies the Left Wants to Hear

Well, no shit. What else would it be?

So all of you on the left who are terribly upset by Rush Limbaugh and his fellow conservative talkers, their nationwide soapbox, and their subsequent influence on the electorate: forget it. They don't have any influence on the electorate. All of you on the right who are so gleeful at the apparent oncoming demise of Air America: what do you care? They're not stealing any votes, or listeners, or influence. Again, there's no influence to be had. Neither right-wing nor left-wing radio in this country has ever changed, or will ever change, a goddamn thing at the polls.

Let the babies have their bottles.

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About Michael J. West

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Michael J. West: Telling lies that Blogcritics want to hear.

  • Ozy

    Sorry Mr. West no cigar. Please keep trying to kid those who listen to am talk day after day to work and home. Come back when you can back up your nonsense with fact and stats.

    Good night and Good Luck!

  • Clavos

    Awww, c’mon Suss.

    In your heart, you know he’s right.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Ozy,

    I really love to write comments to the effect of “What the Hell are you talking about?” but in your case I genuinely have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Baronius

    I don’t think that talk radio can get someone elected, but it does have a long-term “get out the vote” impact. There was a sense of isolation among conservatives, pre-Limbaugh. That’s gone.

  • MCH

    “So all of you on the left who are terribly upset by Rush Limbaugh and his fellow conservative talkers, their nationwide soapbox, and their subsequent influence on the electorate: forget it.”

    It’s not so much that I’m upset by anything Rush Limbaugh does or says. Just that I’m painfully aware of the irony that a phoney draft dodger has been able to make a fortune pretending to be a patriot; while many of the real heroes (who couldn’t afford to buy their way out of Vietnam) are living in cardboard boxes, haunted by never-ending nightmares….

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    There was a sense of isolation
    among conservatives, pre-Limbaugh. That’s gone.

    It is certainly gone, Baronius, but I don’t credit Limbaugh for that. Pre-Limbaugh, I assume, means before he was nationally syndicated–which was 1988. Pre-Limbaugh was the Reagan Years.

    Did Limbaugh unite the conservative movement? Or did Reagan? The 1980 and 1984 voting statistics pretty much answer that question, IMO.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead!

    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead!

    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Yes, MCH, we are all aware of how you feel about the draft-dodging chickenhawks. Painfully aware, to use your phraseology. Many of us, as a matter of fact, wish you would fucking talk about something else for a change.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooo much, Mr. Sussman. Perhaps I should refer to you by your tribal name, He Who Has Editing Permissions And Yet Does Nothing To Fix Repeat Comments Except Make Fun Of Them.

  • Clavos

    Many of us, as a matter of fact, wish you would fucking talk about something else for a change.

    Second…

  • Bedford the Great

    Actually, there was a internal Democrat poll a few years ago that got Tom Daschle cheesed because it said that Rush does indeed convert Dems into Republicans..

  • Clavos

    Turnabout:

    Awww, c’mon, MJW. That was funny as hell!!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Got a source or a link for that, Bedford?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    I’m not saying it wasn’t funny, Clavos. I’m just observing…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    MJW, you know I’m just givin’ ya a good ribbing. Hell, not much else to do on a MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Oh, I know it Suss, I know. The only real crime here is that I’m still awake enough to bitch about anything.

  • Samurai

    “[R]eal heroes […] are living in cardboard boxes, haunted by never-ending nightmares….”

    HA HA! Living in cardboard boxes! Losers! I’m sorry, that just really cracked me up. Gave me a mental picture, you know, of some bum crouching in a urine-soaked box in an alleyway, looking paranoidly around and muttering to himself. Ahh…that’s good stuff.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Most people here on BC seem to operate on the inexplicable assumption that I’m a conservative. That said, I find myself listening to Air America more than Rush Limbaugh, because it’s more entertaining to here people ranting about crazy shit than it is to hear someone plugging the same old party line.

    I don’t want to hear someone telling me something I already know. I’d rather hear a different perspective, even if it’s flawed or a little wacky. What I find myself listening to most, of couse, is Neal Boortz, who doesn’t toe the GOP party line and is a real independent thinker. He’s hard on Bush and hard on the left and always provocative and entertaining. Second best IMO is Ring of Fire with RFK Jr. and Mike Papantonio. It usually has interesting topics. But it doesn’t have the same crazy fanatic entertainment value of Randi Rhodes or Mike Malloy. They’re all a better listen than Limbaugh, but even Limbaugh is better than Jerry Springer who’s the radio equivalent of nembutol.

    The point is that it all IS entertainment. And it gets the blood pumping even more when it’s outrageous. You don’t have to agree to enjoy it.

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet In Columbus

    A sign of an intelligent mind is one that listens and learns from all viewpoints… bravo Dave Nalle Bravo

  • Nancy

    Those who DON’T listen to “the enemy” never know what the opposition is up to.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Listening to the enemy is one thing. Plenty of Limbaugh and Hannity’s listeners are the people who hate them.

    But Dave and Nancy, has there ever been even the slightest chance that those on-air personalities were going to sway your vote? Of course not. It’s not designed to.

    There’s a website called Calling All Wingnuts that’s dedicated to calling right-wing talk shows and challenging the things that its hosts say. Sometimes it’s really interesting and amusing, but generally it’s a waste of time; nobody’s mind is going to be changed.

  • Maurice

    Great reading and great points, Michael. Much like religious factions will never presuade each other.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I think an effective argument from a talk radio host can at least sway my viewpoint on a specific issue if not on who to vote for alltogether. Although I’ve always been for tax reform, I thought the Fair Tax was unworkably and sort of retarded until Neal Boortz explained it to me over and over again on the radio. I’m now more or less in support of it. But I doubt any of them are going to change my basic beliefs in some sort of sudden revelatory conversion experience. On the other hand, I think there ARE people out there who really aren’t sure what they think – the Tabula Rasa element of the audience – and for them the ideas they encounter on the radio may be the first political ideas they ever consider, and they might be swayed by them.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    I think an effective argument from a talk radio host can at least sway my viewpoint on a specific issue if not on who to vote for alltogether.

    How many talk radio hosts make “effective arguments?” Boortz, and Lionel (who I would consider the left-leaning counterpart to Boortz), are extraordinarily rare exceptions, and even they are not really aimed at people who don’t agree with them (although they both sometimes get blocks of callers who scream at ’em) — most of the time they preach to the choir.

    I think there ARE people out there who really aren’t sure what they think – the Tabula Rasa element of the audience – and for them the ideas they encounter on the radio may be the first political ideas they ever consider, and they might be swayed by them.

    In theory, maybe–but those people don’t listen to political talk radio.

  • Clavos

    Maurice says:

    Great reading and great points, Michael. Much like religious factions will never presuade each other.

    Well said. I submit that, here in US, politics IS one of our religions…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    How many talk radio hosts make “effective arguments?” Boortz, and Lionel (who I would consider the left-leaning counterpart to Boortz), are extraordinarily rare exceptions, and even they are not really aimed at people who don’t agree with them (although they both sometimes get blocks of callers who scream at ’em) — most of the time they preach to the choir.

    But at least their choir is a slightly different one. I’m not familiar with Lionel, but I know Boortz must be doing something right when half his callers who disagree are from the left and the other half are from the right and the religious right is picketing him and hanging him in effigy at public appearances.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Lionel is a late-night (10 PM-1 AM) host in NYC who’s nationally syndicated. (He started out as a chronic caller in Tampa and was so smart and entertaining that the big talk station there offered him his own show.) He doesn’t seem to have an affiliate in Austin, though; his closest is KRNX 1340 AM in Victoria.

    You can hear podcasts of his past shows here.

    He’s an extraordinarily thoughtful and honest personality, one whose callers left and right often disagree with him, but he’s still talking for a specific subset of people.

  • MCH

    It’s not so much that I’m upset by anything Rush Limbaugh does or says. Just that I’m painfully aware of how gullible a good portion of the country is, that their sacred integrity/morality cow is a drug addict, who was illegally purchasing black-market narcotics while at the same time preaching that all drug dealers should be “sent down the river.”

    It is amusing, however, that he beat the rap using the same techniques he’s supposedly against, ie, through a loophole of the law with the aid of a liberal lawyer.

  • Clavos

    MJW,

    I remember Lionel calling in TPA. I think he was a lawyer at the time.

  • Nancy

    Agreed with Dave: sometimes a good, cogent explanation of something I don’t understand will at least get me thinking about it & open to the idea. On the other hand, sometimes it gets me thinking about it & just jells my original conviction. Either way it gets me thinking, and that’s to the good. Those that only listen to get their own point of view corroborated are wasting their time, because all they want is their ego massaged, not to listen to ideas or valid arguments. Maurice is right about that.

  • Nancy

    FOr example, I HAVE had my mind changed about a couple of things from discussions here at BC. It does happen – rarely, I admit, but it does happen.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Nancy:

    sometimes a good, cogent explanation of something I don’t understand will at least get me thinking about it & open to the idea.

    and

    FOr example, I HAVE had my mind changed about a couple of things from discussions here at BC.

    Yes, but BC isn’t talk radio. When was the last time you had your mind changed by a “good, cogent explanation” on talk radio?

  • Nancy

    … well, it HAS been a while….

  • zingzing

    “Gave me a mental picture, you know, of some bum crouching in a urine-soaked box in an alleyway, looking paranoidly around and muttering to himself.”

    dood. in my neighborhood we have the “man who has it all.” he has been spotted several times in various alleys, masturbating and shitting AT THE SAME TIME! now, that’s heroic. double-timing. a man with business to attend to. left-right-left-right. good days ahead. never lose or take second best.

  • Martin Lav

    “Most people here on BC seem to operate on the inexplicable assumption that I’m a conservative. That said, I find myself listening to Air America more than Rush Limbaugh, because it’s more entertaining to here people ranting about crazy shit than it is to hear someone plugging the same old party line.”

    Hmmm….I think the case is rested.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    And Martin proves that he’s never listened to Air America.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    You are correct in that assumption Dave.
    Never have.
    Listened to plenty of Rush though and I guess that is the point the author is making, isn’t it? My mind is made up as is yours. Inexplicably people assume I’m from the middle of the road, but I didn’t like the view and headed straight for the ditch. Neil Young

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You’re missing the finer distinction here, Martin.

    While my mind may be made up on general politicial philosophy, that does not mean that it’s made up on specific issues. A good communicator can explain an issue in such a way that I reevaluate it and how it relates to my core beliefs. So while Rush may not turn me conservative and RFK Jr. may not turn me into a leftist, either one of them might make me change my opinion on a particular subject with a good, reasoned argument.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    Dave,
    As usual your response is that someone is not getting your point or not making the “correct” distinction or whatever other gobbly goop you come up with to show your superiority over all, however, I know what you mean to say, but you mean what you say. In other words BULLSHIT, you can say you are objective all you want, you can wonder why it’s “inexplicable” that the majority of people on BC think your a conservative, but the truth is, your leanings are your leanings and they come out naturally and nothing is going to sway you from your side AND THAT MY FRIEND, is the point of this article.

    Good show Mr. MJW!!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Thank you Martin,

    I appreciate your compliments, but I have to point out something about Dave:

    In other words BULLSHIT, you can say you are objective all you want

    I like to call bullshit on him too, but objective? I’ve never seen Nalle call himself objective.

  • Martin Lav

    Maybe I should say pretend to be….

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    And that one I’ll leave to the two of you. :-)

  • Baronius

    “I think there ARE people out there who really aren’t sure what they think – the Tabula Rasa element of the audience – and for them the ideas they encounter on the radio may be the first political ideas they ever consider, and they might be swayed by them.”

    “In theory, maybe–but those people don’t listen to political talk radio.”

    You may not want to listen to talk radio, but there’s the spouse, the guy in the office who plays it too loud, the moving van with an AM radio… It happens. Sometimes you find yourself listening.

    The trick is to entertain the occasional listener (or the unwilling listener), and keep him coming back. That’s one reason I think you have to differentiate early Limbaugh from the current state of talk radio. Rush entertained, informed, and persuaded, creating an audience for himself and future talk show hosts.

  • Arch Conservative

    “It’s not so much that I’m upset by anything Rush Limbaugh does or says. Just that I’m painfully aware of how gullible a good portion of the country is, that their sacred integrity/morality cow is a drug addict, who was illegally purchasing black-market narcotics while at the same time preaching that all drug dealers should be “sent down the river.”

    Rush Limbaugh illegally gets prescription pain pills for his own personal consumption because he has back pain and this makes him exactly like a drug dealer who gives dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin to young children?

    Gotta love that kind of logic!

  • MCH

    Here’s what Lardbaugh said about drug usage on his program before getting popped:

    “There’s nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up,” Mr. Limbaugh declared on his radio show on October 5th, 1995.

    He concluded the point by noting: “What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we’re not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.”

    Bradley Report

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    That’s one reason I think you have to differentiate early Limbaugh from the current state of talk radio. Rush entertained, informed, and persuaded, creating an audience for himself and future talk show hosts.

    There’s a good deal of truth to that.

    On the other hand, though, early Limbaugh didn’t take himself nearly so seriously. He cheerfully characterized himself as an entertainer, not a pundit, and even went out of his way to admit that his radio persona was not who he was and that he even exaggerated some of his beliefs and opinions for radio. It was when he became a GOP insider–staying in the Lincoln Bedroom under Bush I, becoming best friends with Newt Gingrich–that he started believing he was an influential arm of the “Conservative Movement.”

    So yes, early Limbaugh is exempted from the current state of talk radio…but later Limbaugh is what CAUSED that current state.

  • Clavos

    On the other hand, though, early Limbaugh didn’t take himself nearly so seriously. He cheerfully characterized himself as an entertainer, not a pundit, and even went out of his way to admit that his radio persona was not who he was and that he even exaggerated some of his beliefs and opinions for radio.

    So true. I listened to him quite a bit back then; I don’t anymore.

    Michael, you and I seem to have some common ground in the talk radio thing…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    As usual your response is that someone is not getting your point or not making the “correct” distinction or whatever other gobbly goop you come up with

    It’s not bullshit to point out that there are two levels on which one can be influenced, the philosophical level and the level of opinion about specific issues. That is one of the points I’ve been trying to make. Do you even disagree or do you just like to throw up your hands and call names?

    to show your superiority over all,

    What does my superiority or lack thereof, or opinion of my relative superiority have to do with anything? I’m just trying to have a discussion here.

    however, I know what you mean to say, but you mean what you say. In other words BULLSHIT, you can say you are objective all you want,

    When the hell did I say I was objective. I’m rational. It’s not the same thing. I reach my conclusions based on a logical process. I even use logic to analyze how I reach those beliefs I hold which don’t really originate in logic. That doesn’t make me ‘objective’. Objectivity is a myth. I’m entirely partial to my set of beliefs, just like everyone else.

    you can wonder why it’s “inexplicable” that the majority of people on BC think your a conservative, but the truth is, your leanings are your leanings and they come out naturally

    Yes, but you have to admit that it IS inexplicable that someone who believes in gay marriage, abortion and legalizing drugs is considered a conservative.

    and nothing is going to sway you from your side AND THAT MY FRIEND, is the point of this article.

    Right up to a point. But what I’m saying is that while no one is going to sway me from my basic belief in traditional liberalism, it’s quite possible for someone to sway me from my position on a specific issue. I cite as an example my change of position on gay marriage. I went from supporting civil unions to supporting gay marriage outright as a result of the reasoned arguments of other people on BC I discussed it with, particularly Steve S.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    We do indeed, Clavos. I guess once you’ve heard the Mad Dog you never hear talk the same way again. :-)

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    I went from supporting civil unions to supporting gay marriage outright as a result of the reasoned arguments of other people on BC I discussed it with, particularly Steve S.

    Reasoned, yes, but Steve S wouldn’t be nearly as persuasive if he wasn’t as passionate about the gay-marriage issue as he was logical.

    Not actually sure what that means to the discussion at large, just thought I’d point it out.

  • Clavos

    Michael,

    Nope. All the others pale by comparison, fer sure!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Oh, oops. What I meant to say was,

    “I guess once you’ve heard the Mad Dog you never hear talk the same way again.”

  • Mohjho

    Talk radio most likely does not influence the voter to change their mind on a subject, but it does fire up the listener in a way that encourages them to vote and talk or argue with others and maybe get involved in some political way.

    The rhetoric used by these talk show pundits is a type of canned argument that is easily assimilated. Just listen to Rush for a few days and soon you can answer any question with the same slick logical conclusion.

    It is impossible to charge them with hypocrisy since what they are selling is not any kind of moral value. These are simply entertainers that makes us feel good about all the bad that we perceive around us.

    My favorite was Dr. Laura. I loved listening to her moralize the hell out of young women while people downloaded her naked pictures from the internet. Now that’s entertainment.

  • MCH

    “There was a sense of isolation
    among conservatives, pre-Limbaugh. That’s gone.
    It is certainly gone, Baronius, but I don’t credit Limbaugh for that. Pre-Limbaugh, I assume, means before he was nationally syndicated–which was 1988. Pre-Limbaugh was the Reagan Years.
    Did Limbaugh unite the conservative movement? Or did Reagan? The 1980 and 1984 voting statistics pretty much answer that question, IMO.”

    But aren’t you forgetting about Joe Pyne? He originated the style Lardbaugh imitated 20 years later.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    If anything, Limbaugh has moved AWAY from Joe Pyne. Pyne confronted and argued with people who disagreed with him. Rush just talks over them and terminates the conversation.

  • MCH

    “Rush Limbaugh illegally gets prescription pain pills for his own personal consumption because he has back pain…”

    Spare the medical excuse, Archie. He was popping 100 oxycontins every fucking day, on a prescription that called for 3 or 4 pills per day.

  • MCH

    Michael,
    Did you ever listen to Joe?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    I’ve heard recordings of him, yes.

  • MCH

    I listened to Joe Pyne quite a bit in the late ’60s, and when Lardbaugh came on the scene two decades later, I thought to myself, Wow, this guy’s another Joe Pyne!

    …The loud, overbearing, arrogant, know-it-all persona; the bombastic bragging; the controversial subjects; the mocking of anyone different than he; the black-or-white mentality; never admitting to being wrong; the name-calling; etc.

    Lardbaugh and I are the same age, and there’s no doubt in my mind he listened to his share of the Joe Pyne show. Just like I’m convinced Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali watched plenty of Jersey Joe Walcott films during his development.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Influenced by Joe Pyne? Sure. EVERYONE, regardless of politics, who came up through the radio business after 1970 has been influenced by Joe Pyne. He was the Lenny Bruce of talk radio.

    I promise you, even the most devout and thoughtful talk-radio leftist (to differentiate from people who don’t know jackshit about radio, like, say, Al Franken) would consider it a compliment to be compared to Joe Pyne.

  • Baronius

    MCH: You’re either far more current than I am, or far behind the times. The last time I saw “Lardbaugh” he was at fighting weight, maybe 230 pounds. Calling him by that nickname makes you seem out of touch. (Does anyone know if he has put back on the weight from the 1980’s?)

  • Dan

    MJW #51 “…Steve S wouldn’t be nearly as persuasive if he wasn’t as passionate about the gay-marriage issue as he was logical.”

    I don’t know if it’s possible to have a meaningful exchange with anybody who could type that without blasting his keyboard with milk through his nostrils.

    Without getting in too deep, I’ll just hack away at a couple of assumptions you seem to make.

    * nobody listens to talk radio who doesn’t have their political attitudes ensconced in concrete, and has those attitudes reenforced by the host.

    this could be true of Air ‘merica but definately not Rush. There are thousands of angry libs pouring over every sentence of his transcripts, hoping to manipulate things out of context or smear him with some ugly motivation. He’s extremely influentual. Not just with his listeners, but with the liberal dominated media as well. When he addresses a political issue of the day with a more comprehensive analysis, they move on it like traders on the stock market floor move on a refinery explosion. Often he will accurately predict what their next spin will be.

    * Rush doesn’t get votes for Republicans.

    Well, he doesn’t get votes for them, but he makes it easy to see who the cynical calculators, propagandhists, kooks, and frauds are. Not because he tells you, but because he demonstrates it with their own words and actions, and sometimes non-actions.

    Listening to the tortured protestations, and seething unsupported accusations on Air america makes you realize the futility of their venture. In abject blind zealotry, they mis-interpet the attraction to conservative talk radio. Apparantly, in their mind, they just need to conform to a caricature of what they ignorantly believe Rush to be. Then magically, like the pied piper, liberalism will return to the prominence it had when it dominated all organs of media.

    Fox news is filling the same void except they can be “fair and balanced” Rush is only fair.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Dan:

    I don’t know if it’s possible to have a meaningful exchange with anybody who could type that without blasting his keyboard with milk through his nostrils.

    Somebody who thinks Fox News is actually fair and balanced has the temerity to question MY intellectual honesty?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    OK, that knee-jerk snark out of the way, let me see if I can’t respond to that on a reasonable level. As for my quote and your response to it, I’m just going to assume, Dan, that you haven’t actually READ Steve S’s arguments about gay marriage on Blogcritics, otherwise you would know exactly what I was getting at. If I’m wrong, and you have read them, then I hope you won’t mind explaining to me how I’m wrong about them.

    Now then.

    * nobody listens to talk radio who doesn’t have their political attitudes ensconced in concrete, and has those attitudes reenforced by the host.

    The second part of this was a bit of an exaggeration, yes, and I admitted as much on this thread when I mentioned that yes, people do “listen to the enemy” in Nancy’s words.

    But I stand by that first part (which you didn’t address). The strict “nobody” is probably another exaggeration–I certainly can’t speak for the entire radio-listening population–but in general, there ain’t a whole lot of undecideds out there. Those “angry liberals” you mention who listen to Rush are also ensconced in their beliefs.

    * Rush doesn’t get votes for Republicans.

    This was the whole point of my argument. To which you replied:

    Well, he doesn’t get votes for them,

    So we’re agreed that my main premise is accurate. You continue:

    but he makes it easy to see who the cynical calculators, propagandhists, kooks, and frauds are. Not because he tells you, but because he demonstrates it with their own words and actions, and sometimes non-actions.

    The statements here are particularly broad and as such not spectacularly meaningful. If you’d like to elaborate, perhaps specify, maybe we can talk.

    Listening to the tortured protestations, and seething unsupported accusations on Air america makes you realize the futility of their venture.

    Tortured protestations, yes. I agree. Unsupported accusations? How come that demonstrates Air America’s futility, but it doesn’t show futility when Rush, Hannity, Liddy, Ingraham, Levin, and Beck make unsupported accusations? (Oh, yes they do. Every one of the above-mentioned names. Especially the last two.)

    In abject blind zealotry, they misinterpet the attraction to conservative talk radio.

    You’ll get no argument from me. Air America knows absolutely nothing about radio and how the medium works.

    Apparantly, in their mind, they just need to conform to a caricature of what they ignorantly believe Rush to be.

    Actually, they do a pretty good job of conforming to what Rush is, except for the fact that Rush has a sense of humor and knows how to talk on the radio in an entertaining and compelling fashion. (Well, okay, Malloy does too, and apparently many people like Randi Rhodes for some reason.) The distortions, exaggerations, outright lies, nasty personal attacks, framing, hypocrisy, and absurd pomposity, however, are straight from the Limbaugh playbook.

    Then magically, like the pied piper, liberalism will return to the prominence it had when it dominated all organs of media.

    Fox news is filling the same void except they can be “fair and balanced” Rush is only fair.

    On this part I don’t even know where to begin. Even the right-wing people on this thread, and for the most part on this site, don’t buy into the “Fox News is fair and balanced” angle. Rush is not fair either–he and fair aren’t even on the same continent–and that’s okay. That’s his job, and I’m not one of those people who believes the “fairness” doctrine bullshit that gives equal time to the other side.

    But let’s not kid ourselves or each other, okay? Rush Limbaugh is the James Carville of the right.

  • Clavos

    MJW,

    RE #65:

    A tip o’ the hat to you, sir!

    You are both a reasonable man AND a real connoisseur of talk radio…

  • MCH

    “MCH: You’re either far more current than I am, or far behind the times. The last time I saw “Lardbaugh” he was at fighting weight, maybe 230 pounds. Calling him by that nickname makes you seem out of touch.”

    Baronius;

    I enjoy calling him Lardbaugh, regardless, since it was OK for him to call Bill Clinton a “draft dodger,” in spite of the fact that he himself evaded service using a medical deferment from his family physician.

    And “fighting weight”? Are shittin’ me? I would love to get in the ring with a wimp like that who couldn’t serve his country because of an ingrown hair on his bummy.

  • Dan

    “Somebody who thinks Fox News is actually fair and balanced has the temerity to question MY intellectual honesty?”

    No, I’m willing to assume we just have a profound difference in our perceptions of reality.

    Perhaps you think that I lack intellectual honesty? Or maybe just plain intellect eh? I wouldn’t blame you. It’s difficult to reconcile an attitude that is so alien from what we know to be true, without the suggestion of intellectual dishonesty popping into your head.

    It’s almost like a litmus test to see if someone is on the same plane as you are:

    To what degree do you think the main stream media has a left wing bias?
    a) ‘well, maybe, but usually only on issues involving race, gender, and victimization.

    b) are you kidding? forged documents weeks before a Presidentual election? A Republican said the “n word” 24 years ago? 3 out of 26000 retired generals say Iraq was a bad idea?

    c) (stunned silence, accompanied by an akward, pregnent pause)

    d) well, I don’t think the media is biased at all, in fact, I detect a right wing bias. That’s the ticket. Right wing…

    If someone answers D… I recommend disengage.

    anyway… yes I believe Fox news is the closest to straight, non-politically encumbered news that you can get. I also think Rush is a genius, and an honorable one. He understood the void of information being delivered by the mainstream media. His show is all about what is being hidden from you. Weather or not you’re comfortable with that is your decision.

    “But let’s not kid ourselves or each other, okay? Rush Limbaugh is the James Carville of the right.”

    It’s hard for me to group them like that. They’re both pretty damn ugly. Unless you’re a woman or gay. Then I guess they’re hot. Or so I’ve heard. Carville’s relationship is the weirdest. It must be a game to them.

    “The distortions, exaggerations, outright lies, nasty personal attacks, framing, hypocrisy, and absurd pomposity, however, are straight from the Limbaugh playbook.”

    I don’t know how someone could come to such an absurd conclusion. It’s as if we’re from different planets.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    It’s as if we’re from different planets.

    That’s the most logical thing you’ve said so far.

  • MCH

    “But let’s not kid ourselves or each other, okay? Rush Limbaugh is the James Carville of the right.”

    The main difference, since you bring up the comparison, being the fact that Carville served two years in the United States Marine Corps, while Lardbaugh was awarded a deferment for a cyst on his ass…

  • Clavos

    # 70 yadda yadda yadda

  • troll

    rush and newt…two of the rightist wrong people around

    and a great ticket for ’08

  • Lumpy

    Limbaugh is not the carville of the right, carl rove is.

    As for Newt, I find him a lot more appealing than all these christian right tools who’ve infested the GOP.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    bah… this is a wacky Issues, but one that deserves a bit of Thought…

    ok…thought about it…

    there is really only one Answer to the whole thing

    this…

    nuff said…

    Excelsior?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    argh!!!!

    that was supposed to be an embedded video link…

    guess it doesn’t work in comments…

    so alas, the Jest is lost…

    Excelsior?

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    I fixed your coding error, gonzo 😉

  • groucho

    wrong, buddy. liberals are in radio and internet changing the politicians. did you forget joe loseman? he was backed by the repuklicans, had been a powerful force in Washington for a long time and he lost. why? blogs and radio got information about what joe was really saying and doing and their listeners contributed to the opposition.

    today i donated to the opposition of dennis hastert and shimkus after listening to Al Franken, Ed Schultz, Racheal Maddow on Air America.

    stick to fiction

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Air America: Telling Lies the Left Wants to Hear
    Well, no shit. What else would it be?

    Well, maybe, Air America: Telling the banks they don’t have enough money – HERE

    liberals are in radio and internet changing the politicians….today i donated to the opposition of dennis hastert and shimkus after listening to Al Franken, Ed Schultz, Racheal Maddow on Air America

    *LOL* Not if they can’t afford their rent… You should’ve donated to the Air America Charity Fund. Talk about Fiction…*Smirk*