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

David Limbaugh

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Consumer Reports

Conservative talk radio:Liberalism's favorite target


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | News Flash: The liberal elite media, who incidentally (and laughably) deny they're liberal, believe that conservatives possess a "simplistic world view." This is rich -- on many levels.

But first, do you buy their denials that they are in fact liberal? Do you think they aren't elitists or that they have a respectful view of conservatives? Do you believe they are open-minded, as they imply? Do you think they don't inject their political bias into their "news" stories?

If you mistakenly answered yes to any of these questions, please consider a delicious gem from Brent Bozell's Media Research Center (MRC). The peerless MRC devotes its glorious existence to exposing liberal media bias and demonstrating that your answer to all these questions should be "no."

In their latest Cyberalert, MRC treats us to a tidbit from NBC's Lisa Myers on a recent airing of "Nightly News." The report is quite revealing of the mindset of this self-absorbed, uncritical media culture.

In the story, Myers observed that conservatives dominate talk radio, which she attributed to the simplicity of the conservative worldview. I'm not kidding you.

You might be asking yourself what talk radio's supposed simplicity has to do with its success. What is the connection here?

"Well," says Myers, "experts say conservatives are more entertaining because their message fits the media." Sounds insulting to talk radio and its audiences on first blush, but surely Myers didn't mean it that way. Oh? Read on.

Myers next quoted approvingly Talkers Magazine's liberal Michael Harrison, saying, "The conservatives are more cut out for today's sound bite-oriented, short attention span, media environment ... "Where others see shades of gray, (conservative radio talk show hosts) mostly portray the world as black and white ..." Come on, Michael, you're supposed to be a talk radio expert (and advocate) -- but your take is embarrassingly shallow.

Would somebody please tell these sophisticates that TV is far more sound bite-oriented than radio? TV newscasts barely contain over 20 minutes of news -- perfect for short attention spans -- and consist of a series of superficial snapshots of major stories.

By contrast, the talk radio format is conducive to lengthier reporting and analysis, and interaction with engaged and informed audiences.

And you want to talk about simplicity of worldviews? When it comes to network news, there is much less diversity of message among the three "giants" than among any three prominent talk radio shows.

If you have ever had the misfortune of watching the nightly newscasts of ABC, NBC and CBS back to back, you would have discovered that their messages couldn't be more in sync if their production staffs were part of a conspiracy.

But beyond being wrong, these statements are illustrative of the big media's attitude toward conservatives -- and provide the answers to the questions I posed above. They wouldn't talk so disparagingly about conservatives if they considered themselves conservative. They wouldn't equate conservatism with black and white simplicity if they weren't arrogant elitists or if they had respect for conservatives. They wouldn't analyze the phenomenon of conservative talk radio success with so little critical thinking if they weren't themselves close-minded, undiscriminating followers of a party line dictated by their oppressive, monolithic, self-contained culture. And they wouldn't infuse their subjective opinions into a broadcast labeled as "news" if they weren't determined to flavor their reports with their undisclosed biases.

Now please don't tell me that Lisa Myers is not representative of the typical media elite. Truth be told, she's probably not as liberal as most of her colleagues, including NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who quarterbacks the newscast and introduced Myers for this story.

Yes, conservatives are more likely to see black and white in the sense of believing in moral absolutes. But that doesn't mean they fail to appreciate the complexity of the world and its subtle nuances.

Sure, conservatives tend to believe that human nature remains relatively constant (fallen) and that we can therefore learn from history. For example, they accept history's lesson that socialism smothers freedom and prosperity. But liberals, with their blind faith in man's perfectibility, have difficulty absorbing such lessons.

If the media elites were truly independent thinkers, wouldn't you see some variety of opinion among them? Instead they march in lockstep like their mind-numbed soul mates in Hollywood. It appears that they are just attempting to project their own negative characteristics onto conservatives. Sorry, they don't fit.

I'm afraid the elitists are simply jealous that they can't compete in talk radio, the alternative medium providing refuge for those long since fed-up with their bias.



David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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