Thursday, May 14, 2009

Talk Radio As Marketing

After the Republican party’s election embarrassment, there has been a dispute over the coming direction of the party. At present, talk radio in general, and Rush Limbaugh in particular, wields most of the power in what is left of the conservative movement. But many people feel that that is a bad thing; that talk radio is useful only for inflaming the base and useless, and indeed counterproductive, apart from that.

These people usually believe that talk radio is a least common denominator sort of activity, and that few if any talk radio hosts attempt to logically persuade the other side or engage in intellectual arguments. Rather, they see Rush Limbaugh and his ilk as rabblerousers, irresponsibly inflaming the passions of the base rather than engaging in sophisticated, rational arguments. We need more William F. Buckleys, this line of thinking goes, and fewer Rush Limbaughs.

Of course, this ignores the fact that Buckley was a big fan of Limbaugh, and Limbaugh admired Buckley immensely. But this thinking does hit upon a difference between the two styles. Buckley and his emulators engaged in debate, in which the two sides took turns alternately making their points while finding the weak points in those of their opponents. And seen as a debate show, The Rush Limbaugh Show, and most other talk radio programs, isn’t very good. There is an occasional bit of real debate to be found, but most talk radio is far from being real debate.

But Rush Limbaugh isn’t into debate. Seen a debate show, his show is pretty poor. But seen as advertising, his show is absolutely brilliant. It is literally impossible to imagine a better way of marketing conservatism to the largest possible audience. Rush Limbaugh’s, and talk radio’s role isn’t debate—its marketing.

Consider a talk radio show—say Sean Hannity’s, because he is the best illustration of talk radio as pure political advertising. He’s an attractive person with a good radio (and TV) presence, and a strong, trustworthy voice. He delivers the same messages over and over (and over and over) in an interesting, entertaining way. He even has callers who attest to the brilliance of his product, and the occasional liberal who gets on his show invariably loses (invariably, since Hannity doesn’t play fair when he argues) to Hannity’s reasoning. So the audience member is left with a) a favorable image of conservative thought, b) the knowledge that many other people share conservative views, and c) the perception that the liberal counterarguments have been utterly destroyed by Sean Hannity. As marketing, it’s brilliant.

Not all radio hosts are like Sean Hannity, of course. Some, like Rush Limbaugh, do inject a great deal of interesting thought and insight into their show, while others are extremists (Michael Savage; while it was quite wrong of Britain to ban him from the country, I couldn’t help feeling a bit envious of them) who do the conservative movement more harm than good. But generally, Sean Hannity is a good template for talk radio as marketing.

This fact is no slight on talk radio—after all, the art of oratory has been used for persuasive purposes for a long time, and talk radio has a lot in common with, for example, Mark Anthony’s speech from Julius Caesar. Marketing is a legitimate job, and a tough one, Republicans should be glad that they have such talented people backing them up.

Nor is it a bad thing for conservatism to have its leader come from the ranks of talk radio; if Rush Limbaugh leads the movement, that’s not a bad thing. If anything, it is beneficial that the man who sells the conservative movement should also be one of those most influential in shaping it.

But if talk radio is good for the Republican party, then it doesn’t follow that debate isn’t beneficial as well. It is, and it is necessary. At present, there are few if any radio or television shows that provide rational, ordered debate, rather, most so-called “debates” consist of angry pundits flinging insults at each other across the studio, or increasingly (as in the case of Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann), across networks. Talk radio’s template is a good one—but debate is important too, and is too often neglected by conservatives.

13 Comments:

At May 16, 2009 at 6:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At May 16, 2009 at 6:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At May 16, 2009 at 7:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At May 17, 2009 at 5:47 AM , Anonymous Scottyboy said...

Nancy Pelosi’s performance at her press conference re waterboarding has raised, according to the Washington Post, troubling new questions about the Speaker’s credibility
I'm sure that she’ll fight to the bitter end, but she’s on her way out. She may last through this Congress, but the blood is already in the water. And even thought the media will be covering up for her, she has seen her final days. The handwriting is on the wall.
This is the kind of scandal I can really enjoy. Doesn’t matter what party either, I love it when a politician hoists itself on its own petard. Of course she knew. Why do you think she dropped the whole impeachment thing as soon as the Dems captured the majority in 06. The only downside is that the person who replaces Mrs.P will almost certainly be more competent, though I do recognize that sets the bar pretty low. And anyone want to bet that the replacement will be another Tax cheat!
Honestly, if the tables were turned and this was a GOP Speaker who had been caught in not just one, but several lies, she would be out in 24-hours .

 
At May 17, 2009 at 6:07 AM , Anonymous Trophywife said...

Angels & Demons is yet another example of Hollywood's pandering to Muslims ..........Ron Howard has managed to perfectly illustrate where Hollywood divides popcorn entertainment from the intolerable and the inflammatory. He has shrugged off the risk of insulting a billion Catholics. When it comes to Muslims, though, he has a very different policy: hands off.
I can’t remember ever hearing one conservative talk show host or politician ever discuss Islam in a manner that indicates that they have read the Islamic texts.

This why you hear such nonexistent nonsense as “Islamofascism”, “extermists”, “radical Islam’, “war on terror” and the like.

In order to win a war you must not only define but also know your enemy. We have done neither. Islam is at war with us. It always will be like or not. We must keep Islam out of the West.
Of course.

Ron Howard knows they cut the heads off people who dare to disagree with them or ask them serious questions, like Daniel Pearl.
Liberals like Howard are ALWAYS AFRAID.
Just like the fraud POTUS, when push comes to shove where Muslim terrorists are concerned, Ron Howard actually does understand.
But lets forget about the Left for one minute.... They are in bed with Islam we all know that, but how about the Rightwing Talk Show's?
We see Hollywood stars travel to Iran, to be treated to ravings about how the US must grovel and apologize to Iran for insults…. this from the country that has literally made “Death to America” a national slogan…. and Hollywood, their head scarves intact, nod sagely, not say a word in protest then or after, and then come home to celebrate their own tolerance and do-goodism, such a contrast to their troglydidic countrymen….

How much longer shall I go on?

We see this, we see this every single frikkin’ day, from “artists” in particular who really BELIEVE that they themselves are “brave”… oh-so-courageous, because they attack Christians and right-wingers (Ooooooh. Brave!) who will NEVER fight them back, and bow their heads in submission before Muslims who will not hesitate to cut those heads off if offense is given. And that other jerkoff mel Gibson fits onto the very same patten. He is as big a fraud as any of them.
There are many people who call themselves "catholic" or "christian" who do not live by the churches teachings, including "priests" and "reverends". Just because they fail to live righteous lives doesn't make their religions teachings less moral.

Our schools have been infiltrated by communists, Marxists, nihilists, pagans/earth worshipers (environmentalists), satanists, who have been indoctrinating our students for decades. Most of their goals are to take as many souls to hell with them as possible before they die.
I'm glad that students and alumni Along with Alan Keyes are making this stand at Notre Dame!!

 
At May 17, 2009 at 7:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We liberals like to think of ourselves as progressive thinkers, as problem solvers, as people of good taste and refinement, whereas conservatives are stupid, money-grubbing scum. Liberals can see the gray areas of an issue, while conservatives see only black and white and are too stupid to see the gray. Liberals view issues globally, while conservatives are just concerned with themselves and their interests and are too stupid to see how that viewpoint damages the world. Liberals are nice and conservatives are mean.
The sad fact is that conservatives have no problem with trillion-dollar budgets as long as they are in charge of the government just like they have no problem with war as long it is their war.
Look at the last three Republican presidents: George W. = dummy, George Sr. = nitwit, Ronald Reagan = space cadet. When was the last time we had someone who was both conservative and intelligent leading our country? If you listen to liberals there has never been an intelligent, conservative president. If we liberals are so smart how did we fall into this trap?

 
At May 18, 2009 at 2:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bush policy had banned U.S. taxpayer money, usually in the form of Agency for International Development funds, from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. The rule also had prohibited federal funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.

Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will oversee foreign aid, had promised to do away with the rule during the presidential campaign. Clinton visited the U.S. Agency for International Development on Friday but made no mention of the step.

Obama has spent his first days in office aggressively signing executive orders reversing Bush administration policies on issues ranging from foreign policy to government operations. TV cameras were invited in for Wednesday’s announcements on ethics rules and for Thursday’s signing of orders on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and banning torture in the questioning of terror suspects.

In a move related to the lifting of the abortion rule, Obama also is expected to restore funding to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), probably in the next budget. Both he and Clinton had pledged to reverse a Bush administration determination that assistance to the organization violated U.S. law.

The Bush administration had barred U.S. money from the fund, contending that its work in China supported a Chinese family planning policy of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization. UNFPA has vehemently denied that it does.

Organizations that had pressed Obama to make the abortion-ban change were jubilant.

“Women’s health has been severely impacted by the cutoff of assistance. President Obama’s actions will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions and women dying from high-risk pregnancies because they don’t have access to family planning,” said Tod Preston, a spokesman for Population Action International, an advocacy group.

Anti-abortion groups criticized the move.

“President Obama not long ago told the American people that he would support policies to reduce abortions, but today he is effectively guaranteeing more abortions by funding groups that promote abortion as a method of population control,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Obama also is expected at some point to lift or ease restrictions on federal money for stem cell research, an issue that divides people along similar battle lines, but there was no word about any action on that Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed interest in pressing legislation on stem cells in the first 100 days of the new Congress if the new administration doesn’t act.

Some scientists want broader use of embryonic stem cells than is currently allowed, hoping for new treatments for many diseases. Obtaining stem cells from four- or five-day-old embryos kills the embryos, and many opponents see that as taking life.

 
At June 1, 2009 at 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i cannot believe that obama chose a "latina" woman before an african american woman or man, i am saddened by this since it seems like every time african american's get in a position to help their own they pick another race when there are sooooo many african americans that are qualified. it is because there are so many "latina' in this country african americans again are the minority and sadly so, because african americans chose not to have many children just for politcal gain , that is a price that will be paid over and over again.

 
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