Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talk Radio Needs You To Be A Victim

Talk radio is bad for you, makes you feel bad about yourself, and success depends on a show's ability to make you angry and miserable.

So says this report, written by a radio insider:

To succeed, a talk show host must perpetuate the notion that his or her listeners are victims, and the host is the vehicle by which they can become empowered. The host frames virtually every issue in us-versus-them terms. There has to be a bad guy against whom the host will emphatically defend those loyal listeners."
"This is a common talk show tactic: If you lack compelling arguments in favor of your candidate or point of view, attack the other side. These attacks often rely on two key rhetorical devices, which I call You Know What Would Happen If and The Preemptive Strike.

Using the first strategy, a host will describe something a liberal has said or done that conservatives disagree with, but for which the liberal has not been widely criticized, and then say, “You know what would happen if a conservative had said (or done) that? He (or she) would have been filleted by the ‘liberal media.’ ” This is particularly effective because it’s a two-fer, simultaneously reinforcing the notion that conservatives are victims and that “liberals” are the enemy.

The second strategy, The Preemptive Strike, is used when a host knows that news reflecting poorly on conservative dogma is about to break or become more widespread."
This brings us to perhaps the most ironic thing about most talk show hosts. Though they may savage politicians and others they oppose, they fear criticism or critiques of any kind. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it."

Take the above as a sort of follow-up to yesterday's post.


  1. in the words of zach de la rocha of rage against the machine: "fear is your only god on the radio, F-it, turn it off!"

  2. james5:43 PM

    I happen to like some talk shows,Neal Boortz,Coast T o Coast,ANd Phil Williams and the long lost Cup Of Joe.

  3. In the 1980s, Radio and Records published a column outlining successful marketing tactics for rock radio:

    1. To win, you must first have a war.
    2. You can't have a war without an enemy.
    3. If there's no enemy, create one. It can be something vague, like "constant contests" or "non-stop jabber," or you can single out your competition.

    One year after the Fairness Doctrine was overturned, Limbaugh went national and created enemies out of Democratic politicians & policies, and liberal schools of thought. And no one on a national level fought back for almost two decades.