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Jewish World Review May 13, 2002 / 2 Sivan, 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

AM Radio and Enron | Where is the heck is the talk show outcry?!

During the California energy shortage last year, when someone asked one of our friendly conservative radio talk show hosts about the possibility of a scam, the friendly AM radio host was quick to defend the energy companies.

"It's only capitalism at work," one would say.

"I didn't hear anyone complaining when the prices were low, "huffed another.

"It's all about what the market will bear," said yet another on the AM dial.

When President Bush and Vice President Cheney decided that California had created their own problem and they had to deal with it the best they can, the talk shows ripped a new one into the "Left" Coast and Governor "Gray-Out" Davis. Now that we find that Enron and it's compadres were complicit in creating the shortage, I ask again, "Where be the outrage?!

Why aren't those who supported the energy corporations as warm and fuzzy examples of how America works at its best, not here to decry these greedy, could-care-less-about-Americans, tactics? I'm going to take a wild guess here. I think these defenders of the truth, who are correct ninety-some percent of the time, are exactly where the conservative Republican agenda makers want them to be: looking out for the party.

While there is always a "I told you so," there is NEVER a "Gee, I guess I was wrong on this one so let's get these bad corporate guys who screwed us."

Is truth actually the truth if you withhold any of the facts? It may be good politics but it certainly isn't the truth, and that's exactly what the talk show host is...a politician. And if you're a politician, more likely than not you're not telling the whole truth. Hard to believe, huh? But if you're a fan of these one note right radio hosts, you'll find that they're probably giving you just what you want to hear. You don't want to hear anything that makes your side appear imperfect. So in actuality, the hosts are political because you, their fan, want them to be. Why not?

Discounting ego, and pomposity, and pretentiousness, and all the other talent loaned of the host, what is left?: A need to do and say anything to push the conservative program.

If the situation were reversed would every talk show host and cable TV network left of far right, be bellowing the generalization that this is always the way that conservatives act? Fact is, we'll probably never know. Because there's very little chance of a plethora successful liberal talk shows filling the dial as the right has done. Why? It's not that a liberal is cares less than the conservative. They're just not as angry and you gotta be pretty angry to be willing to listen to the same message 24/7.

Conservatives tend to be much more similar to each other than the liberal. While with so many degrees of liberals, there's just not too many liberal dittoheads to be found. Go to a conservative cocktail party and the more they drink the more aggressive the agreement becomes. Go to a liberal cocktail party and the more they drink the more the argument over which Woody Allen movie was his last good one.

So, if we ever expect to hear a bunch of radio hosts questioning they're own beliefs (being honest), you liberals better start getting angry...or similar. It's that or getting NPR to move to AM.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful," Tallfellow Press, 2002 Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Steve Young