Insulting Talk Radio Listeners

I didn’t have a chance to listen to any talk radio today. Therefore I have no opinions on anything and don’t know what to think or be up in arms about. I failed to download my programming from Rush, Sean and Medved and here I sit—a blank slate.

I must be more diligent to tune in tomorrow so I can recieve my orders from Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy HQ. I’ll have my pitchfork and torch at the ready.

As absurd as the above sounds, it is not far removed from the way many elites in the media establishment and in rarified liberal political circles think about those of us who hold conservatives views. Insulting? Heck, yeah. Wrongheaded? Beyond belief.

The latest evidence that these guys just don’t get it comes in the form of a study released by “non-partisan” (sure) Project for Excellence in Journalism, a group funded by the Pew Trusts (that’s a name you’ll hear a lot at the back of left-leaning programs on NPR.)

The study was highlighted in an online article headlined: “Talk Radio Helped Sink Immigration Reform

Early in the article we read:

Talk radio focused on the immigration debate more intensely than the mainstream media did from April to June. . . Conservative hosts touched off a brushfire in the Republican base that President Bush and other party leaders were helpless to contain.

 The guys at the Project for Excellence in Journalism actually measured all the time conservative and liberal talk radio hosts spent talking about the immigration/amnesty bill and compared it to the time mainstream news outfits spent covering it.

Upon discovering that the conservative talk guys spent quite a bit more time focusing on it, what do they conclude? That Rush and Sean and Savage must have decided to try to kill the bill and therefore went to work whipping up the gullible, weak-minded listening masses into a stampede pointed at the congressional switchboard.

Here’s an alternative theory. Could it be that Rush simply knows his audience and, like any good programmer, chooses subject matter he knows they care about? Is it possible that Sean Hannity’s audience is leading him, rather than the other way around? Maybe. . .just maybe. . .conservative-minded radio listeners gravitate to Bill Bennet’s program, not to be told what to think, but to have what they already think validated?

Did it occur to the guys and gals at the Project for Excellence in Journalism to wonder why the mainstream network news outlets spent so little time focusing on an issue so many people were passionate about and that carried such huge implications for our nation’s future?

I think you know the answer to that.