Excerpts for an article by Mark Lassiter. An interesting read.
At least one component of America’s mass media industry is infected with a serious disease. National and local hosts on AM radio are encouraged to play the cards of fear, class warfare, race and exclusion for profits. Using the thinly-coded vocabulary of bias and exclusionary hiring practices to control the herd of “talent,” they are experts at how to manipulate vocabulary and attract casual listeners who seek cheap thrills.
In the hearts and minds of a frustrated, scared and resentful audience, the majority of AM talk radio is a dog whistle call to arms. This impressionable audience is injected 24 hours a day with enough angry anesthetic to numb any reasoning that would separate legitimate information from scripted noise. AM talk radio is nothing more than professional wrestling for ratings and profit.
AM radio is dominated by actors who are paid outrageous fees to forward extreme right wing positions. The top hosts are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Savage, Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck. These grand wizards are the close relatives of Don Imus, Doug Tracht, and Bob Grant. What? You think all those sheet-wearing Klan members just disappeared? No, they just moved into the studio and substituted “communist” or “socialist” for the slurs that might get them banned from the airwaves. They are free to spit into a microphone while wrapping themselves in patriotic regalia as if they are the TRUE America that must be saved from the “others.”…
…Conservative talkers on radio have whipped the Republican fringes into such a frenzy that anything Obama is seen as evil or a direct threat to the country. The Republican Party is buried so deep in this corrosive echo chamber that its acidic fumes suffocate any voices of reason before they can be heard. That is the nature of mass media corporations. Their infantry of desperate Tea Party folks screaming racist epithets provides the disposable extras for the Fox News tea party bus tour. In 2009, USA Today radio host Michael Medved expressed concern that talk shows have cultivated a “niche audience rather than the Republican mainstream.” Niche audience is a euphemism for the Klan.
Whatever gains the ratings win for the conservative-sponsored entertainment industry are offset by huge losses for human dignity and adult conversation. With the signing of landmark health care legislation, their listeners are encouraged to be more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in Washington leadership. The AM radio talkers, on the other hand, take another trip to the bank. For them, it is just another paycheck.
The producers and directors of this content are oblivious to the radioactive fallout from their message. At the same time, they desperately protect their broadcast cash machines from any voices who may challenge their sacred cows. “Michael Savage is an original – you cannot ignore him,” says Bob Bruno, a consultant to WOR new talk radio in New York City. “Michael is a fearless, gritty, tough, funny, street-smart, talk master – that’s why we are proud to have him on WOR.”
How many fearless black, gritty, tough, funny, street-smart, talk masters are/or ever featured on AM radio?