Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Talk Radio, Blogs, and the So-called Fairness Doctrine

Dean Barnett has a brilliant piece over at Hugh Hewitt's blog. You owe it to yourself to read the entire thing, which I'll excerpt here (without ellipses):

In the Beltway’s eyes, Markos (of Daily Kos fame) leads a movement of progressives in the blogosphere. But this is inaccurate, and Markos would be the first to tell you so. Markos doesn’t lead the movement. He stands in front of it and is symbolic of it, but the movement’s direction and interests flow directly from the people who compose it. The movement is a bottom-up thing, not something that a guy leads from the top.

If Markos came out tomorrow and said he’s supporting Hillary, the people who read his blog would tell him to pound sand. They would keep reading his blog, but they wouldn’t open their hearts or their wallets for Hillary.

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO has the same kind of dynamic. The people who listen to conservative talk have their own views, and they are extremely well informed ones at that. They listen to conservative talk because they hear opinions that are friendly to their political and personal philosophies. Listeners also tune in to conservative talk because, unlike liberal talk, conservative talk shows are fun and entertaining.

Mort’s (Mort Kondracke) a great guy, but he has the immigration bill debacle completely bass-ackwards. Talk radio didn’t lead the charge so much as it gave voice to the angered conservative base. The Republican Party’s problem wasn’t that it angered a handful of professional talkers (myself included). Its problem was that it outraged virtually its entire base with the content of the immigration bill and the downright un-American way the Senate and the administration attempted to shove the bill down the throat of the American body politic.

In truth, the Republican Party should be grateful for both talk radio and the blogosphere. If certain Republican politicians had paid attention to talk radio rather than baselessly assail it, they would have seen how dangerous this immigration bill was. If the bill had passed, the damage to the party would have been incalculable. The political class should appreciate the presence of an early alarm system like talk radio rather than bemoan it.

As far as the blogosphere is concerned, both the left and right blogopsheres have readerships that are puny parts of the electorate. Rush’s and Sean’s audiences are each nearly 50 times the size of the most-read center right blog. But the blogs provide an even earlier alarm system. If we’re going berserk in the blogosphere, the smart politician should take note.

The political class would be well advised to remember that the message that so distresses them comes from the people.

I left out specific examples, but the condensed version above gives you the slightest flavor of the entire piece.

No comments: