Ex-Conservative Media Member Reveals Secrets of the Trade
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This is a very interesting article written by a former right wing talk show producer revealing the secrets of the trade. I think the thing I find most interesting about it is that this fellow is obviously a fairly level headed guy but it took until the obnoxious talk radio coverage of Katrina for him to realize that their entire schtick was a fraud. I think that may be something that happened to a fair number of people. There was something so other-worldly about the way the right reacted to that disaster that it cracked the strange, post modern up-is-downism of the Bush years.
He confirms much of what we always knew about the relationship between the radio talkers and the Republican party:
Conservative talk show hosts would receive daily talking points e-mails from the Bush White House, the Republican National Committee and, during election years, GOP campaign operations. They’re not called talking points, but that’s what they are. I know, because I received them, too. During my time at WTMJ, Charlie would generally mine the e-mails, then couch the daily message in his own words. Midday talker Jeff Wagner would be more likely to rely on them verbatim. But neither used them in their entirety, or every single day.
Charlie and Jeff would also check what other conservative talk show hosts around the country were saying. Rush Limbaugh’s Web site was checked at least once daily. Atlanta-based nationally syndicated talker Neal Boortz was another popular choice. Select conservative blogs were also perused.
A smart talk show host will, from time to time, disagree publicly with a Republican president, the Republican Party, or some conservative doctrine. (President Bush’s disastrous choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court was one such example.) But these disagreements are strategically chosen to prove the host is an independent thinker, without appreciably harming the president or party. This is not to suggest that hosts don’t genuinely disagree with the conservative line at times. They do, more often than you might think. But they usually keep it to themselves.
This is something that blogs have to be careful to avoid. There is probably going to be plenty of "outreach" from the powers that be to keep us from going off the reservation. And even if we resist that impulse, groupthink is always a danger: