The Truth about Conservative Talk Radio

When I first got on Twitter, I was a big fan of conservative Talk Radio. I knew several people who became huge advocates for conservatism only after listening to Rush Limbaugh.

I doubt there were many converts from Hannity or Levin (despite L & T being one of my favorite books), but I assumed it was always a good thing to have people with large audiences promoting conservatism.

However, over time, I started to notice a theme: These hosts were often more dedicated to promoting outrage than conservatism.

Sometimes the outrage was justified and helped bring about necessary action, but it was the other times that started to bother me. It seemed the more victories conservatives won, the more these hosts preached despair.

The Republican Party was adopting conservatism to a greater extent than ever before, but these hosts constantly tried to make it seem like things were worse than ever.

Most importantly, they would create the impression that we were always losing by latching on to misinformation and spin.

I would see the same pattern play out constantly. Random blogger misinterprets something or reports a rumor that makes Republicans look bad, radio hosts seizes on it and promotes it as proof of Republican betrayal, rumor turns out false or exaggerated, host moves on to the next cycle.

Even the liberal media, which these hosts would often attack as dishonest, would issue corrections, but these hosts seemed to have no interest in the truth.

At this point, I still believed these shows were a net positive, but I also recognized that these hosts were making millions from stoking unnecessary outrage.

This is when I personally gave up listening. These hosts were abusing the trust their audiences placed in them and treating their audience like they are dumb.

Before I go on, let me give a few examples of this phenomenon:

1) After the Boston bombing, Glenn Beck spent months accusing an innocent Saudi kid of being responsible and the Obama admin of covering it up. He based this on an early report about the kid being at the scene.

Every time Beck would provide some new bombshell piece of evidence to prove his theory, I would debunk it with some basic research.

However, every time I would post such a debunking, Beck fans would viciously attack me for questioning him. They weren’t interested in the truth.

As far as I know, Beck never apologized for this accusations. He simply moved on to the next story.

2) One example relevant to today is the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. I wanted immigration reform, but was wary about this bill given what had happened under Reagan.

I ended up being one of the few people who actually read the whole bill, which made it easy to recognize when someone was saying something false.

There was a period of several months where on almost a daily basis some blogger would misinterpret something or some rumor would come out about the bill, Drudge would promote it, talk radio would seize on it and tell their audience to get outraged, it would be debunked in the days that followed, talk radio would move on to the next controversy without correcting, and their listeners would repeat the debunked rumor for months.

I found this particularly frustrating because there were plenty of real issues with the bill. I ended up opposing it, even though it wasn’t nearly as bad as it is currently perceived among most conservatives. It probably was the best we could have done with a Dem Senate and a Dem President, but I figured we would be better off waiting for a Republican to be in the WH.

There are hundreds more examples of this pattern. It has become fairly common. I still see it all the time. Breitbart, for example, has several reporters that consistently and purposefully print false things about Marco Rubio. Talk radio spreads them without even attempting to confirm.

It bothers me to see fellow conservatives, who rely on and trust these sources, being deceived in this way.

I was silent about all of this in the past, but these last 4-6 months were the final line for me and many other informed conservatives.

Talk radio actively started defending and advocating for someone that is the antithesis of everything conservatism stands for, Donald Trump.

It was one thing for these hosts to hinder conservative wins by saying they weren’t good enough, but now they were promoting the exact opposite of conservatism.

Trump is a con man. His con is aimed at a lot of different groups, but the only way he could win conservatives is with assistance from people conservatives actually trust. These hosts chose to give it.

The two biggest issues for conservatives over the last few years were healthcare and the debt.

While these hosts attacked Republicans for not being aggressive enough on fighting Obamacare, they stay silent as Trump promotes single-payer.

While these hosts attacked Republicans for not fighting hard enough to limit Obama’s deficit spending, they stay silent as Trump opposes and demagogues entitlement reform.

These hosts were willing to completely abandon conservatism, and dragged their audiences with them. For me, that was the final straw.

I was silent about their previous dishonesty, but I won’t be as they make a mockery out of the beliefs they claim to represent.

It may not matter what I think, but conservatives shouldn’t be prone to group think. They shouldn’t define conservatism by what Rush, Levin, or Hannity say. Especially when those hosts keep saying things that are dishonest.

It’s time people who care about conservatism actually took a stand against the frauds in our midst. I know I am doing my part, and I hope you will too.

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Comments
12 Responses to “The Truth about Conservative Talk Radio”
  1. lss says:

    Very well said. I can’t believe how some conservatives are being duped by this guy. I have stopped listening to much of Fox news . I could see the changes from one commentator to another as the trumpster fire grew. It is very disappointing.

  2. “I was silent about their previous dishonesty, but I won’t be as they make a mockery out of the beliefs they claim to represent.”

    Right there. People ask me all the time why I “attack conservatives.” It’s pretty simple, those playing games under my party title pose a greater threat to my party than liberals. Being attacked from within is the easiest form of destruction.

  3. Well said. There’s a lot more guilt than the few you mentioned, but that might derail your point so I’ll save them for later.

  4. Taylor says:

    This is all too true. Levin’s voice tone is on permanent outrage. I used to listen only in the car, and life is much better without talk radio at all. And no, this is not burying my head in the sand, it’s clearing my mind and thinking for myself.
    Sadly, the Breitbart site is all Trump all the time and adds its voice to the too many voices defending Trump’s campaign to take America down the crapper.

    • sanford943 says:

      I find it amazing that any one would listen to the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity or the awful Ann Coulter. There are lesser figures out there who are just as bad. All they and do and this goes for republican politician is play on the fears of the people. The republicans do it to raise money. Whether it is health care, climate change, they just rage on and offer no alternatives. This is should be the republican theme song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7cry-4pyy8

  5. BrianA_MN says:

    This is a really funny article. Since when do true conservatives listed to anyone in radio, TV, blogs, DRUDGE, or Breitbart? These are all media biased, for a specific audience and a specific purpose as directed by the owner/publisher/editor. If you want to know what conservatives are thinking then talk with your neighbor, your family or others in the local republican party. And while you’re at it, make sure to attend the local republican caucus or convention so that the national party doesn’t do exactly what conservatism is about, nationalizing every policy, every rule, every action of a conservative. We the People formed a republic of states, not a national democratic federalism nation. When we get that concept straight, we’ll start actually being conservative.

  6. richard reinhofer says:

    Here’s where you lose me, “not fighting hard enough to limit Obama’s deficit spending”

    Obama inherited that deficit spending and the huge deficits were a direct cause of the GDP dropping ~9% triggering automatic stabilizers built into the budget to keep Americans from starving in the streets.

    I’ll give you credit for coming to realize that RW hate radio is a scam designed to enrich the hosts but you still are blind to much of what is going on in reality land.

  7. Ronnie says:

    Yeah, I agree. It is a sad thing to see. They trash Rubio, Ryan, and anyone else as RInos and establishment while supporting Donald trump in the next sentence. This is crazy. Trump justified Putin’s alleged killing of journalist by saying we have killed more in the Iraq war and I didn’t hear a peep from any of them, even Allen West. That was the last straw for me. I’ve lost respect for all of them.

  8. No Foxnewstoday says:

    What used to be a conservative perspective is now deemed to be socialism. The GOP hero, R. Reagan himself would not be considered to be a conservative these days. And trust me, I never was and never will be a fan of ‘Ronnie’. The GOP today consists of racist flag-waving bigots on welfare, the big business economically and political elite who are driving hard for plutocracy under orders from the likes of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, a few (and I mean very few) fiscal conservatives with middle of the road social perspectives. So far in this election cycle, fear mongering and xenophobia seem to be carrying the day for the GOP. All of the GOP candidates are in some fashion, following on the coattails of Trump out of fear of upsetting the ‘base’. My god, what in the world are ‘conservatives’ thinking. In very short order, the USA will not be WASP, will not be monotheistic, but rather will be a majority blend of non-white free thinking citizens. It may not be during this election cycle, but very soon our political landscape will change. What will happen to the GOP should Trump run as an independent, which he will do if he doesn’t will the nomination? He is a manifestation of conservative talk radio and Fox News. Good luck with what’s left of the conservative dream … err … nightmare.

  9. I came here expecting … something else. This is dead on target. I’m glad to see it.

  10. Peaches says:

    This is so true! Listened to Rush in the early years and thought him well read and informative. But for the last several years he’s just loudmouth and repetitive. And I suspected what he was “reporting” was more like gossip and rumors than information. Thank you for posting this article.

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