From the Milwaukee Magazine, Nov. 13, 2008, in "Secrets of Talk Radio", by the former news director of WTMJ, who reveals how talk show hosts ... work to get us angry.
[ To succeed, a talk show host must perpetuate the notion that his or her listeners are victims, and the host is the vehicle by which they can become empowered. The host frames virtually every issue in us-versus-them terms. There has to be a bad guy against whom the host will emphatically defend those loyal listeners.
This enemy can be a politician – either a Democratic officeholder or, in rare cases where no Democrat is convenient to blame, it can be a “RINO” (a “Republican In Name Only,” who is deemed not conservative enough). It can be the cold, cruel government bureaucracy. More often than not, however, the enemy is the “mainstream media” – local or national, print or broadcast. ]
[ In the talk radio business, this concept, which must be mastered to be successful, is called “differentiating” yourself from the rest of the media. It is a brilliant marketing tactic that has also helped Fox News Channel thrive. “We report, you decide” and “Fair and Balanced” are more than just savvy slogans. They are code words signaling that only Fox will report the news in a way conservatives see as objective and truthful.
Forget any notion, however, that radio talk shows are supposed to be fair, evenhanded discussions featuring a diversity of opinions. The Fairness Doctrine, which required this, was repealed 20 years ago. So talk shows can be, and are, all about the host’s opinions, analyses and general worldview. Programmers learned long ago that benign conversations led by hosts who present all sides of an issue don’t attract large audiences. That’s why Kathleen Dunn was forced out at WTMJ in the early ’90s and why Jim and Andee were replaced in the mid-’90s by Dr. Laura. Pointed and provocative are what win. ]
As well as more, much more. This has been going on since the 70's. So we do not need to ask why those kids on Staten Island went looking for an African American person to beat and kill on election night to show how they felt about the results. Of course they found an African, not an African American. But he had an African name, so there ya go. Proves their point. Hopefully their victim won't die after all, but they will spend a long time in prison. White guys in a black prison population. Not good. Won't teach them a damned thing.
[ . . . . I had seen and helped foster the transformation of AM radio and the rise of conservative hosts. They have a power that is unlikely to decline.
Their rise was also helped by liberals whose ideology, after all, emphasizes tolerance. Their friendly toleration of talk radio merely gave the hosts more credibility. Yet an attitude of intolerance was probably worse: It made the liberals look hypocritical, giving ammunition to talk show hosts who used it with great skill. ]
Tell me again that the Fairness Doctrine shouldn't be re-instated.