Friday, September 5, 2008

It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yeeeeear...

Politics. Oy.

In response to Glenn Beck's take on the Fairness Doctrine...

The true harm to our Democracy has nothing to do with a lack of liberal talk radio. And this is coming from someone typically classified as a "liberal."

Personally, I don't care for political talk radio. I think it's ALL far too extreme. I've given equal time to both sides and have been absolutely and equally disgusted by both. And I have conservative friends and acquaintances who feel the same.

Rather than asking where all the liberal talk radio is, because anyone with a brain knows that market demand and the Almighty Advertising Dollar rule that arena, a better question might be "why HAS the market demand for conservative talk radio been higher than the market demand for liberal talk radio?"

I honestly believe this country is split fairly evenly when it comes to the broadest, highest-level definitions of "liberal" and "conservative." But in adding the qualifier "extreme" to either one, the disparity becomes exposed. Based on my personal experience, I believe there is a much higher number of extreme conservatives than extreme liberals. Or at the very least, a higher number of moderate conservatives who are tolerant of the extreme conservative viewpoint than moderate liberals who are tolerant of the extreme liberal viewpoint. Bottom line, conservative talk radio has a higher number of willing listeners, because while many moderate liberals are completely turned off by liberal talk radio, many moderate conservatives - whether or not they completely agree with everything said - aren't actually disgusted by some of the more extreme viewpoints.

Again, I am led to these conclusions by personal experience. While my personal politics admittedly fall a little to the left of center, you'd never know it based on what I've been called by many conservatives I've run across. While I'm actually quite moderate, I've been called everything from a "liberal whiner" to a "bleeding heart dumba$$" to an "Evil Baby-Killing Hippie Druggie Commie Sociopath" (and no, I'm not making that last one up).

I honestly couldn't care less about political talk radio. I don't care that it's there, I wouldn't care if it fell off the face of the earth. What I care more about are the people who hold the hosts up as modern day Gods, omniscient deities who are to be obeyed, worshipped and agreed with at every turn. It scares me to think that there are so many people out there who rely on any of the talking heads to tell them what they should think. This isn't the military, where - as a friend of mine on his way to his third tour in Iraq once said - "if we want you to have an opinion, one will be issued to you." So many people in this country have come to rely on outside influences (the media, family members, church leaders, teachers, etc.) to spoon-feed them their opinions, rather than really taking the time to research the issues and form opinions of their own. We have become a nation of lazy, ill-informed people. THAT'S the true harm to our Democracy.

Or, excuse me, Mr. Beck... our Constitutional, Democratic Republic

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