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In the debate over why conservative talk radio outdraws liberal talk radio, I've found the answer and it's incredibly simple.

In the debate over why conservative talk radio outdraws liberal talk radio, I've found the answer and it's incredibly simple.
Conservative talk radio is very simplistic and dumbed down. Dumb and dumber. It's easier to instill fear in your listeners by saying things shouldn't change or they should revert back using old prejudices than to promote intelligent solutions.
They don't call liberals progressives for nothing. Conservatives aren't.
Conservative radio is also a mental comfort zone. It's easier for people to lay back and not move forward in their thinking. That, of course, is the weakness of conservatives as a whole.
Look at the debate over immigration and how talk show hosts have used the logic of prejudice to make their point.
Look at the whole recent "Redacted" controversy manufactured by Bill O'Reilly, who isn't a true conservative talk show anyway host, but more like a sideshow clown. O'Reilly did a cheerleading act to get his audiences to hate "Redacted" before it was released and before even he saw it. Don't bother suggesting your audience judge for themselves. Just tell them it's bad. Easy way out. No work on their part. Dumb and dumber.
Liberal radio, on the other hand, isn't dumbed down. Actually, if there's one thing liberals probably do too much of on the radio is they intellectualize. You don't see a lot of conservative show hosts do that. Their audiences would turn them off in a millisecond.
Conservatives follow the old axiom Keep It Simple, Stupid. Keep 'em entertained. Conservatives wisely keep their ideas in basic terms even a child could understand. Most liberal talk show hosts don't. Conservative ideas generally don't challenge. They rely on existing ideas and prejudices. That's why it's so easy to listen to conservative talk radio. It doesn't take any brainpower.
Most of all, conservatives want to dictate everyone's values. Don't criticize the president. Fund the war and shut up. Marriage is reserved for heterosexuals only. And the most outlandish of all: I got mine, so the hell with everyone else. All too simple answers to complex questions. Conservatives have no compassion, no soul and no values -- unless it benefits them.
Liberals, however, will ultimately triumph in the end. Conservatives may apply the brakes, but liberals supply the propellers. You can't move forward without them.

Please visit my blogs: Bill O'Reilly Is an Idiot, A Capitol Idea or Two(from where this diary came) and The Report Colbert.

Originally posted to madasheck on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 06:26 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Advertising on conservative radio (6+ / 0-)

    Ever listen to the commercials on conservative radio?  They sell the stupidest, most useless crap imaginable;astronaut mattresses, cures for baldness and vitamins to cure the floaters in your vision.  The conservative talk shows gather the most gullible pigeons in America, and their advertisers pluck them.

    I have little doubt that the shows and advertisers know exactly who they are marketing to.  They are laughing all the way to the bank.

    •  I listened to some rightwing radio (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird

      last summer for a couple days.  Some VERY SCARY stuff. Between that and the crap that passes for news in the MSM, I'm not sure sanity can survive.  Small wonder that the vast majority of the American public is completely disengaged.

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 06:41:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  H.L. Mencken once said (4+ / 0-)

      Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

      Let em eat jellybeans, Let em eat cake, Let em eat shit, cause they can't make it here anymore-James McMurtry

      by Mr Stagger Lee on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 06:44:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mencken was right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mango

        And it's a sad but true fact that the only way to win elections in this country is to be willing to take the low road and willfully appeal to the lowest common denominator. This is the secret that Rove and the Rethugs understand, and that Dems in general, and all too many of my fellow Kossacks stubbornly refuse to face.

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 07:12:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A few years back (5+ / 0-)

      I was down on my luck and reluctantly took a job answering the phone in a boiler room for a company that sold that kind of junk (their big product was a snake-oil cure for psoriasis) and they just loved it when their ads played on Limpaugh's show--they knew to the minute when the phones would start ringing off the hook. Advertisers love wingnut radio because they know that the audience is made of mindless sheep. That's why it'll always be with us, and we can't match it. After all, how can you duplicate something if you don't have any dupes?

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 07:10:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, if you listen to most talk stations... (0+ / 0-)

      ... (with a few salutary exceptions, like KPOJ in Portland) you'll get those same ads whether you are listening to Left- or Right-Wing talk.  It's just the bottom-feeding nature of the talk radio business.

      However, it's true that right-wing talk radio is stuck on stupid.  I especially love it when the stupid leaks over to C-Span, like this morning when an Orange County CA Republican caller to Washington Journal told a sympathetic Jonah Goldberg that it was the fault of the illegal immigrants that six of the 12 houses on his cul-de-sac couldn't be sold.  There could be no more irrational statement on the subject, but he said it like everyone he knows believes it.

  •  I disagree. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, AJsMom, Mr Stagger Lee

    Liberal radio doesn't fail because it is more intelligent or nuanced, though it surely is.  It fails because, almost without exceptions, it sucks.  AA just went off the air in Austin.  Trust me, there is no shortage of progressives and liberals in Austin, Texas.  If they can't attract and hold an audience there, they are hopeless.

    AA was launched with an unprecedented deluge of free hype and publicity.  It had every advantage in that regard.  But there was an unbielvable sense of arrogance and entitlement that basically held that: If we put a smart, well informed progressive in a studio, good-listenable radio would follow.

    The right makes it look easy, because, like him or not, Limbaugh is a Professional Radio Guy.  He knows his business front to back.

    •  AA was not good .. (0+ / 0-)

      It would take a book to detail all the problems with Air America. But Air America is not liberal talk radio, per se. Radio does need to entertain to succeed. Air America doesn't do a great job. The day is coming when a good liberal network will take hold. That thought is scaring conservatives, whether they want to believe it or not.

      •  I hope you are right, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct

        but I see absolutley no evidence that "the day is coming when a good liberal radio network will take hold."
        I read an article in In These Times magazine -- I think it was in the summer of '06 -- about "building a progressive infrustructure" or somesuch.  It was filled with pretty lists and charts and diagrams.
         It was detailed and ambitious and hilariously naive.

    •  I totally disagree (7+ / 0-)

      Randy Rhodes, Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and the old Al Franken show were all on par with anything the wingnuts put out.

      The entire premise of this diary is flawed.

      Talk Radio is an avalanche of right wing hatred not because of something silly like "ratings points."  

      Talk radio is an avalance of right wing nutjobs because of the ideological agenda of their parent companies.

      1-shares or 2-shares don't mean bupkis if the parent company can get no-bids in Washington.  So they put on the hate-mongers to confuse the public, to serve as the smokescreen for the real money making -- the looting of the tills in Washington.

      That's the function of Clear Channel, Sinclair Media Group, and the Scaife and Murdoch empires.

      Not selling 30 second Trimspa ads.

      •  If that brings you comfort, so be it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct

        Their parent companies would put Bob Avakian on the radio if he drew an audience.  If you listen to any radio, you'll find that, for example, Limbaugh and Schultz share many of the same advertisers.  The differnce is while Limbaugh charges them about $20,000 a minute, Schultz charges much, much less.

    •  the failure of liberal radio (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drewfromct

      I think it has more to do with the function of shows like this, and the diarist hints at that. The 'comfort zone' of conservative radio renders it, basically, background noise. What sounds like outrageous demagoguery to us is like a mother's cooing to the wingnut's infantile mind.

      The vast majority of humanity (including politically engaged liberals), however:

      1. Don't have the time to listen to dedicate to talk radio.
      1. Would rather listen to music.
      1. Don't need a constant stream of white noise to reinforce their ideological positions.
      1. When considering politics, would rather be actively engaged (on blogs, for example) than passive repositories of someone else's discourse.

      I suppose liberal radio made sense as a business venture, but I just don't see that it would really be a necessary aspect of a progressive movement in the same way conservative radio is to organized wingnuttery. The people who would be inclined to listen to liberal radio to begin with would really rather just hear fact-based journalism without any ideological presumptions.

      "Being in the center just means you're closer to wrong."

      by Stroszek on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 07:05:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, and sometimes Limbaugh is funny. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AJsMom, bugscuffle

      When the Eubonics debate was raging several years ago he did a bit about a promotion in the form of a national beauty contest from all 50 states to crown a Miss Eubonics USA.

      The punch line was that they had to call it off when they couldn't find a contestent to be Miss Idaho.

      Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them - T Paine

      by breezeview on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 07:05:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  hah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil

        hilarious.  Because making fun of black people by overweight white, fat, drug addicted millionaires is the height of comedy.

        Or not.

        Perhaps you're referring to "Ebonics," which was simply an attempt to help teachers decode what certain students were really saying.

        Then the wingnuts freaked out and claimed Ebonics was an attempt to legitmize slang.

    •  It went off the air in Austin... (0+ / 0-)

      ... because the station was sold out from under it, to a businessman whose business it is to air Spanish-language programming.  It had nothing to do with what sort of fan base it has.

      •  And (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi

        The signal strength was extremely poor, you practically had to be next door to the station to get a listenable signal.  It also went off the air at dusk and came on again at daylight.  NOT good indicators for a successful run.  
        The programming was ok, (I did prefer the old programs with the old hosts) but ANYTHING in Texas opposite Rush and/or the other right wing blowhards is welcome. It is streamable, which is how we listen now.  

        I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

        by Lilyvt on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 10:08:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the problem as I see it (0+ / 0-)

          It's not available or it's available only on low power stations.  It's media consolidation that's led to this point. Here in the capitol city of MI there's no AAR. You can listen to limbaugh, o'reilly, hannity and the others, but AAR or any other progressive radio is nowhere to be found.  The station owners (in this case Clear Channel) tell us what we want to listen to. Some sheep follow right along and listen to it. Others listen to classic rock, country or sports talk.  Others listen to their IPODs or CDs, since there's no alternative.  The problem is the media telling us what we want to listen to on the radio.  TV too, since I know of no market for 24/7 natalie holloway news and that and shopping are all that's on right now.

          The media is pitiful and it's because the same companies own all of it.

          A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

          by dougymi on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 10:53:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I listened to AA in Dallas before it cratered (0+ / 0-)

    It was on 910 AM.  

    It never came in all that well, and if you were on a street with a electrical power trunk, it was mostly static.

    Contentwise, I think too many of the hosts relied too much on bashing as format.  It may work in conversation and two way media, but not so much as a feed.

    Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them - T Paine

    by breezeview on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 06:50:00 AM PST

    •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)

      Everyone I have talked to about AA said that it got so tiresome hearing the non stop bashing.
      It was actually depressing to some.
      Conservative hosts seem to use humor a lot more.
      Limbaugh does his show with a wink and a nod, which is why I think he has such a large audience.
      Conservatives may not always agree with him, but he is funny and personable and that draws people to listen also.

      •  start laughing at 'em (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AJsMom

        I couldn't agree with ya more about using the whole humor thing.  I been saying for years that the dems should be hiring professional comedian writers for some of their stuff. In fact, with the writers strike in hollywood, now would be a perfect time to do it.

        We need to start laughing at these people a lot more, be totally dismissive of any harebrained schemes they come up with, take a sort of "what are you serious" tone with them. Nothing makes politicians (or people in general) cringe more than to be laughed at or not taken seriously. Of course we have to be able to back it up with real (or semi-real facts) but the point is to laugh at them and get the listeners laughing at them.

      •  It hard to overstate Limbaugh's talent. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AJsMom

        And I will get hate for having witten that.
        Limbaugh, because of his format, must from time to time read from news stories, from the NY Times, washinton Post, etc.  Reading things over the radio in a way that "punches" words and doesn't sound flat is a learned skill.  But Limbaugh is a master.  He goes into a sort of sarcastic mock-authority schtick that is really, really good.  

  •  The reason conservative radio wins is simple (5+ / 0-)

    It's on everywhere.  They have 20 years of building an audience, with years of subsidies of early wingnuts like Limbaugh before they ever drew enough of an audience to be profitable.

    Conservative talk radio is "safe" from a programming point of view, which is why you find multiple stations in every market, with the strongest signals.  AAR and other progressive talk, when it's present at all, is often on a weak station which fades in and out if you get anywhere away from the transmitter.

    Thom Hartmann mentioned the other day that on Spanish-language channels there is a new phenomenon:  a plague of Spanish Rush Limbaughs have appeared, all with subsidized slots bought from the stations.  Apparently the Republicans are trying to win the Hispanic vote using the same tactics they won the dumb Anglo vote.  Nobody else has mentioned this development, to my knowledge.

    Rudy Giuliani is a small man in search of a balcony. -- Jimmy Breslin

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 06:52:23 AM PST

  •  The nature of radio-listening. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickey, breezeview

    For most people, most of the time, including myself, it is background.  I don't stay focused on it intently for hours at a time.  That's why music and sporting events work well.  We can tune in and tune out and still generally keep up.  This is why sustained, intelligent arguments do not work well on this medium.  Notice how NPR has been successful, with mostly brief, self-contained segments, that typically use a good story to hold onto the listener for a limited amount of time.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 07:17:42 AM PST

  •  Wingnut "humor" works on radio -- (0+ / 0-)

    but not on TV.  The embarrassingly lame "Half-Hour Comedy Hour" exemplifies this.  In contrast, look at "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" -- the very successful progressive humor shows that the wingnuts were trying to imitate.

    Our troops won the war. Bush lost the peace.

    by snazzzybird on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 07:57:30 AM PST

  •  Who posting on this blog could DARE listen (0+ / 0-)

    to Rush Limbaugh's bloviating blasting blowhole
    without putting their freaking foot through the freaking radio? I long ago stopped listening to their
    sickening rants. In the nineties all there was in my area was rightwing radio, with the sole exception of
    the Brit Michael Jackson, whom I would call a gentleman
    liberal of the old school. The last wingnut voice I heard was that of the one-and-only-"Let me just ask you one question" Dennis Prager. I shut the sonofabitch off after one last absurd anti-left illogical spiel and never went back.

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