Entries Tagged as 'talk radio'

Remembering Talk Radio’s Best

December 13th, 2011 at 12:06 pm 14 Comments

I first listened to David Brudnoy, the legendary talk radio host and acclaimed Boston University journalism professor, in December of 1993. His guest that night was a thirteen-year-old Framingham, Massachusetts boy who had been the focal point of local controversy: the child had attended a Boston Kwanzaa celebration hosted by a self-styled “community activist” who told the boy (whose late father was African-American) that he could stay, but that his mother (who was white) had to leave, as the Kwanzaa event was supposedly for blacks only.

Brudnoy went on a magnificent tear during that particular broadcast, condemning the addle-brained thought process that led the “community activist” to kick out the child’s mother. It was wonderful listening to Brudnoy denounce the intellectual bankruptcy of the activist’s behavior. I could tell right away that this guy was a genius, and made a point of listening to him nightly.

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The Knives Come Out for Cain

David Frum November 8th, 2011 at 7:55 am 182 Comments

Politico has a big headline this morning: “GOP urges Herman Cain to address allegations.” But when you ask “who precisely in the GOP is doing this urging?” you get a more modest list:

Oran Smith, who heads the Christian conservative Palmetto Family Council in South Carolina, Chuck Hurley, the President of the Iowa Family Policy Center, Penny Nance who runs Concerned Women for Amierca, William Bennett, the conservative author and commentator, Governor, Haley Barbour, and fellow presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

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Which is More Useless? Limbaugh or a Classics Major?

November 2nd, 2011 at 1:48 pm 87 Comments

Dear Mr. Rush Limbaugh,

I see you have let your own educational insecurities shine through in your latest rant in which you “bravely” attempted to decipher the “sad-sack story” of a Classical Studies scholar. Bravo. If only you had taken a philosophy course about the Sophists, you might have been better at debating your point. Unfortunately, your rhetoric fails you and you blunder through your argument, proving the limited grasp you have on the concept of higher thinking.

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Hey Hugh Hewitt, Here’s How to Defend Romney

David Frum October 31st, 2011 at 9:16 am 23 Comments

Hugh Hewitt this morning scolds George F. Will for criticizing Mitt Romney’s changes of mind:

“Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis,” Will concluded about Romney, and that will leave a mark.

Commentators other than Will among the most influential voices on the right — Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin to name two who matter, a lot — had already thrown some heavy policy critiques at Romney


Knocking Romney for Massachusetts’ mandate has become as popular as blasting Perry for his debate performances or hammering Cain for campaign inexperience and gaffes.

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The Gold Bug Bailout

David Frum September 27th, 2011 at 9:13 am 38 Comments

As some may know, my late mother was a very well-known broadcaster on Canadian radio and TV.

Early in her amazing career, she received a call from a company – I believe it was VISA – inviting her to sign up as a commercial spokeswoman. She refused. When she told the story to my father, he asked, “How much did they offer?” She answered, “We didn’t get that far.”

This anecdote became a family joke in the coming years. As my father often said, contra George Bernard Shaw, it’s a very different thing to turn down $5,000 than to turn down $5 million.

I think of this story every time I see a conservative radio or TV host pitching for gold. Click here to read more

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Beck Didn’t Warn Me Gold Can Fall!

September 27th, 2011 at 12:13 am 76 Comments

The gold market meltdown — with prices plunging in recent weeks from over $1, healing 900 an ounce to under $1, seek 600 — is a reminder that the precious metal is a volatile, speculative commodity. It also signals a bear market in credibility for the many right-leaning cable-news and talk-radio hosts who have touted gold relentlessly in recent years as a hedge against economic calamity.

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Limbaugh Loses a Listener

August 10th, 2011 at 1:39 pm 69 Comments

Conservative writer and radio host D.R. Tucker is no stranger to challenging conservative orthodoxy. On FrumForum he published his Confessions of a Climate Change Convert and now he has written about why he can no longer support Rush Limbaugh.

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D’Amboise Disavows Fave Radio Crazy

July 21st, 2011 at 1:51 pm 13 Comments

In his pursuit of Olympia Snowe’s Senate seat, Tea Partier Scott D’Amboise is seeking as much media attention as possible.  One outlet that has given him considerable airtime, four interviews in the last year, is the Monticello, ME-based “Aroostook Watchmen” radio show.

Steve Martin, host of “Aroostook Watchmen”, has used his show to address a number of unusual issues, ranging from “Keeping Globalism Out Of America” to stopping the “emerging Mormon Caliphate” (5/12/2011).  Martin’s website for the Aroostook Watchmen is titled www.nofda.com.

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When Talk Radio Listeners Buy Into The Persuasion Machine

David Frum June 18th, 2011 at 9:41 am 44 Comments

At the Economist blog, Will Wilkinson has a useful amplification — and correction — on my piece about talk radio pay-for-play.

He perceives the construction of a whole new system of reality creation.

What we’re seeing is a set of once disparate pieces coming together into a powerfully unified persuasion machine. Rich and not-so-rich people give to think tanks and advocacy groups because they believe, mostly correctly, that these organisations can do more with their money to promote their political values than they can do on their own. But the influence of these organisations is limited both by their budgets and their ability to get their messages out. Conservative talk radio has proven itself an incredibly popular and powerful persuasive force. They offer Washington politics and policy shops both a huge potential donor base and a megaphone. It helps Heritage immensely to have Mr Limbaugh citing their studies on air. But the persuasive force of their message is even greater when Mr Limbaugh’s listeners choose to literally “buy in” to the Heritage Foundation by becoming donors. Over time, Heritage’s financial support subtly and not-so-subtly shapes Mr Limbaugh’s message. He, and thus his audience, comes to think ever more like Heritage. And his audience, who become ever more personally invested in Heritage, become correspondingly more receptive to his Heritage-influenced messages. The partisan public has its independent general policy instincts, but it tends to adopt its more specific policy opinions from trusted partisan elites. Traditionally, these elite opinion-leaders have been politicians. But I think we’re witnessing a process through which professional “movement” elites in Washington, DC political non-profits are actively shaping public opinion via sympathetic mass-media intermediaries. Conflict between the Republican “establishment” and the tea-party movement may well reflect this shift in the balance of elite persuasive power.

And one might add: unlike the politicians, this new opinion elite is not very concerned for the functioning of the American political system as a system. They are willing to do more radical things, and run bigger risks (e.g.  debt default), in pursuit of more aggressive ideological goals.

Conservatives Dismiss Pay-To-Play in Talk Radio

David Frum June 16th, 2011 at 11:55 am 105 Comments

Politico’s story yesterday about pay-to-play on conservative radio got the usual ho-hum treatment from most conservative blogs — that is, when it got any mention at all.

Here’s Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.
The claim that “Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs” describes all commercial radio, not just talk shows and not just conservatives.  Advertisers buy time to get those on-air plugs, and usually pay extra for live reads and promotional tie-ins.  It’s about as explosive a revelation as the fact that car prices vary depending on how well a consumer dickers, or that mail-order products can differ in quality.
Next week from Politico: Boiling water can often be unsafe for bathing
Everybody does it folks, nothing to see.
But the ho-hum attitude skiddles over some important questions, beginning with these two:
1) Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine may say that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are in the same business as the local top-40 disc jockey. I may agree. For all I know, Ed Morrissey may agree. But do the listeners agree? Or do they imagine they are hearing information from a trusted, reliable source? If so, the hired nature of that information is troubling.
2) Sponsorship is not just a radio issue. Radio practices have spread throughout the conservative media world, to television and newspapers as well. A New York Times editorial writer cannot moonlight as an investment adviser. Rachel Maddow does not operate a political consulting business, accepting fees from clients who might be interested in what she has to say on air.
Those standards are not, unfortunately, consistently upheld by their conservative counterparts.