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Author Topic: Talk Radio... good or bad?  (Read 2075 times)


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Talk Radio... good or bad?
« on: November 06, 2010, 11:30 PM »
Note about edits in this post
Due to the potential importance of this subject, comments posted below by other members and with a desire not to manipulate this thread, all substantive additions have been coloerd purple to highlight those changes.  Modificationss in style, i.e., bolding, italics, underline, etc. are not highlighted as they serve to clarify only.  Any deletions are strikethroughs.

Also, please see the bottom of this post for important addendum.

I have held a particular persuasion on the subject of "talk radio" for more than a decade and every time I give it another chance listen I am more persuaded than before. I am not attempting to censor anyone or group.  Free speech is something we all possess, but with freedom comes responsibility.  "Talk" media is often promulgated as the "voice of the people."  This sounds good, but is only a gimmick as I am sure the reader is aware.  As an OTR trucker I have heard an entire spectrum of "talk" radio rollin' across highways and back roads of this country at all hours of the day and night.  During that time I became aware of what was really going on.  This thread is an attempt to share what I have learned...  

I am convinced it talk radio is the worst thing that could possibly have happened free people everywhere.  

I realize this is a bold statement, but if you hear me out you might see my view. Here are the tenets of my stance in more or less a sequential order.  First, some history...
  • Every revolution in history against an oppressive government occurred because the pressure of the unjust regime finally exceeded critical mass.
  • This critical mass was reached due to collective individual (as opposed to vicarious) participation.
  • As each community was touched on fire in town meetings by courageous visionaries, each person had a direct encounter to light the fuse, but no one to douse it.
  • When the fuse had been lit in enough communities, counties, states, etc. then brave men and women recognizing the value of the stakes took deliberate action against tyranny and despotism.  In other words... REVOLUTION!

Now for the present...
  • For every caller that gets to voice his/her concerns due to the pressure provoked by oppression, there are thousands/hundred-thousands/millions that are able to express their own "voice" vicariously through the caller.
  • Once the caller has a chance to express his/her opinion on the subject at hand, he/she has had his/her say and nothing more comes of it, except to ask his friend at work the next day, "Hey Mort, did you hear me on [fill in the blank] last night!?!." Please note the passion has been replaced by bravado.  The passion has dissipated.  
  • It is reasonable to assume when the other thousands/hundred-thousands/millions heard the caller express their own views they've had their say too!  Each of them in agreement with the caller, have expended their passion vicariously through the caller.  Their passion which could have led to real revolution has dissipated.
  • The end result is the passions provoked by oppressive regimes is never brought to critical mass that would actually produce a real REVOLUTION that would demand substantive correction.
  • The next time one of the thousands/hundred-thousands/millions has his/her passions aroused by injustice and oppression and gets past the almost inevitable busy signal, he/she will express a "voice" that is congruent with a collective numbers and the cycle dissipates the chance for critical mass again.

To put it in other terms, let's consider a pressure cooker...  
Historical communication restraints provided for the ability to allow the pressure to build up, contained within the "cooker" until the pressure exceeded the ability of the pot to contain it and BOOM!  REVOLUTION.
Present communication via "talk shows" are like the little weight on the top of the pressure cooker.  As soon as the PSI exceeds the 5 lbs. or whatever the weight is rated we hear the tale-tale "tsh..tsh..tsh..tsh..tsh..." The pressure never builds to anything significant, much less critical mass.  There will never be a "BOOM!"  No REVOLUTION.

Ok, there you have it!  I realize that everyone reading this could produce isolated instances which would seem to invalidate my position, but I ask you to consider this in the larger and more comprehensive scope.  I will be happy to entertain any substantive criticism, but as I said, I have held this view for more than ten years.  Regardless, I still could be wrong and I invite your comments.  Thank you.

The Prosecution rests...  :)

  • Advertising - Talk Shows are primarily not about education or political commentary.  They are entertainment that radio and television station producers and managers procure to aggrandize as large an audience as possible.  This is done to collect advertising revenues from sponsors.  Even the so-called, non-profit "public" media (NPR, etc.) advertises their own public radio and T.V shows.
  • Exploitation - Due to the above, it is always necessary for a talk show host to "keep the pot boiling!"  If he/she does not assuage his/her listeners with more and more and more "items of interest," then the stupefied and acclimatized audience will go elsewhere in search of greater controversial distraction.
  • Resolution - This is a dirty word in the vocabulary of a talk show host.  If every topic was resolved quickly, there would be nothing left to "discuss."  Shows over.  The upshot of all of this is it is impossible for a talk show to be a valid champion of truth because it is not truth the radio stations, television stations and networks want... it is money. 
  • Revolution - When I speak of "REVOLUTION" I am not condoning violence or any kind of militant rebellion.  I recognize that due to the militaristic nature of statist oppression it is often the case that blood will be shed.  I have made my peace with how far I am willing to go in participating in a revolt, but I am not naive to the lengths others will extend themselves when the time comes.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 12:00 PM by CodeTRUCKER »


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Re: Talk Radio... good or bad?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 02:36 AM »
Interesting theory.  I think it may be based on a false premise though.  (Not that my theory is any less false, but it is an opposing theory).  Your theory of the pressure cooker is based on (among other things) the fact that the voice and passion is given no out until radio came about.  However, town hall meetings have held the same effect for many generations long before radio.  Yet even with these outlets, there have been revolution.  You point to communication restraints, as being the "stuck closed relief valve", but I contend that these actually stopped revolution rather than released it.  By restraining communication, many revolutions were quashed before they started - they never got momentum because they were a bunch of isolated pockets easily divided and conquered.  Because of this, it truly had to be widespread dissatisfaction to reach critical mass, which I contend was not because of, but rather in spite of, the communication restriction.

Radio (and other "new" media) on the other hand do not  restrict communications, or at least not as much.  Therefore dissatisfied constituencies can take a "running poll" on like-minded individuals.  I still believe revolution would occur if the critical mass were reached, but what radio and other media outlets provide is communication that leads to organization.  Because of this, any critical mass would occur MUCH quicker and hence would seem to arise overnight in comparison.  I think the "relief valve" in this theory is actually the opposition also seeing the results earlier and changing course before being overwhelmed.

Hope this all makes sense, it is a 5 minute work break at 3:30AM and I am really not very coherent at the moment. 


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Re: Talk Radio... good or bad?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 03:08 AM »
I don't know how they do talk radio where you come from but I have watched how talk radio can organize people and get them to do more than just say their piece on air and then go about the rest of their lives.

This was the result of talk radio in my state about 2 years ago:

Of course I am talking about New Jersey, where we have been known to TP the state capital in protest of taxing toilet paper, yank our kids out of school for a day and take them to Trenton to march in support of their teachers, make our governor wish he never said "when pigs fly" to cutting spending, and just last year sent a hearse full of empty wallets to the state house to represent the death of the middle class.

All of this fueled by (and sometimes organized by) the talk radio that people listen to on the way to work.


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Re: Talk Radio... good or bad?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 08:22 AM »
Thanks for the comments and link.  Ah!  It appears I was using too wide a brush.  To be more specific, I am referring to "national" or multi-regional scope.  Local radio *can* serve as a quasi "town hall" meeting.  As I read steeladept's opposing view I had additional questions present themselves.  I will have some more comment on the rebuttals, but I wanted to clarify my original scope to avoid further confusion.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 10:12 AM by CodeTRUCKER »


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Re: Talk Radio... good or bad?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 10:16 AM »
do you also lump curated "talk show" format interview shows in with that?

although it's become stylish to slag NPR, i've found Diane Reem and Talk of the Nation (when Juan Williams hosted) to be very good at getting to the bottom of some pretty tough topics. Reem and Williams were also very good at keeping the discussions on topic and not allowing guests and callers to become evasive or change the subject when caught out in a misrepresentation (i.e. lie), exaggeration, or blatant misunderstanding. and it was always enlightening to see how they could cut thru the "talking points" mindset and get to the real issues beneath them.

thoughts? :-)

« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 10:19 AM by Gwen7 »