What I Learned From Talk Radio. I was listening to Drudge last night on my way home from Duke's. For some reason, he was all bent out of shape by the fact that Madonna says she doesn't read magazines. Don't ask me, I really have no idea. Anyway, he got a caller who was pretty pissed off about the government crackdown on file-sharing. The whole story, as the caller related, sounded dubious to me, but it isn't very important. The point is that Drudge, like me, is concerned about the government going after peple for filesharing copyrighted material. I'm not going to defend the practice, but I will say that there are a few other issues that law enforcement might want to concentrate on rather than me downloading DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince songs, you know?
What struck me about this is that over the whole time that Drudge was railing against the government, he never once uttered the words "Bush" or "Ashcroft". Not that he was required to, but I thought it interesting that he didn't. And it put me in mind of another occassion when I was listening to my local conservative talk radio station. The after-midnight host, Rollye James, was talking about PATRIOT II, which she despises (as all honest libertarians must). But she kept talking about Congress doing this. It was "Congress" this and "Congress" that. She never used the word "Republicans" or mentioned any Republican by name, despite the fact that the Republicans controlled both house of Congress at the time. She never used the words "Ashcroft", "Justice Department", "White House", or "Bush". The only time any particular name came up was when a caller opined that this bill had been drawn up by Daschle's office. Let me repeat: DASCHLE (ominous thunder noises)! Strangely, Rollye neglected to inform the caller (and the rest of the audience) that the bill had actually been prepared, like its predescessor, by the Justice Department, headed by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
It's something I've noticed about conservative talk radio. They will criticize their own side if they feel it necessary, but never personally. If he Democrats do something they don't like, everyone from Rush Limbaugh straight on down the line will start the "Daschle" routine up in no time flat, and they'll be sure to tell you, every four and a half seconds, that it's the Democrats who are doing this awful thing (probably trying to build low income housing, or something sick and evil like that). But when the Republicans do something they don't like (it doesn't happen much, which is another post in itself), it's never the Republicans. It's Congress. It's Government. It's those airheads in Washington. Conveniently, this ends up supporting, rather than attacking, the standard GOP anti-government ideology.
You see that: even when Republicans in Washington piss off talk radio, talk radio spins it around to help them. Brilliant! You have to admire the pure gall of it, don't you? I call it offensive damage control. It's one small part of the co-ordinated Right Wing message machine that is currently dominating our national marketplace of ideas. More on that later.