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Why is talk radio conservative?

By Charles A. Morse
web posted August 5, 2002

The liberal left dismisses conservative talk radio with predictable dark mutterings about "corporate interests" controlling radio as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to withhold information from "the disenfranchised." If this was so, than why does the liberal left control the major TV networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN, major newspapers, the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, major periodicals, Time, Newsweek, major book publishers, as well as Hollywood? Since it's clear that if there is a conspiracy in the media it has a liberal coloration, why then is talk radio so overwhelmingly and unabashedly conservative?

Clearly talk radio is more subject to the vicissitudes of the free market than the aforementioned vast liberal media conglomerates with their long established informal monopoly on opinion and culture. Issues oriented talk radio, on the other hand, depends more on the attention span of the listening public. The average American, who works long hours to keep up with the over 40 per cent of his income extracted in taxes, doesn't readily connect with the big government liberal talk show host. This is why liberal talkers are virtually confined to the taxpayer subsidized NPR. Most Americans hate liberalism with its rotten public schools as evidenced by the popularity of vouchers. In contrast to liberalism, most Americans believe in a supreme being and also inherently understand objective moral principles. This is why liberals, while bloviating about "democracy," seek to install judges and bureaucrats who will do their bidding in a dictatorial way. No, left-wing liberalism just doesn't fly with the average American talk radio listener.

Morse on the set of his radio program
Morse on the set of his radio program

In fact, the vast majority of Americans, I would contend, including most liberals, are actually conservative! Liberals generally don't admit this, even to themselves, for fear of triggering the predictable hate-filled backlash from the fashionable elite. Too many auto da fe's are played out, with the usual nasty disembowelment of a designated conservative "enemy of the people" in the mass media. The depravation of social acceptance and ostracism are coercive tools which are employed against adults who may stray too far off the politically correct plantation in the same way as the bully might treat a non conforming child in a first grade schoolyard. A fall from social grace has real and traumatic consequences. Besides the humiliating loss of face, a dissenter from the authoritarian liberal orthodoxy often risks financial and career loss, family chasms and worse.

Nevertheless Americans remain stubbornly conservative, even if they don't vote that way, and America remains a conservative nation. Most of us admire American corporations and want to see them profit if for no other reason than that we own their corporate stock in our retirement accounts. We want corporations to succeed, expand, and create more jobs. We like the incredible products and services that corporations bring to the market. We understand that laws are in place to prosecute corrupt corporate executives and that this can be done without the destructive leftist class conflict rhetoric.

The poor and minority poor, poor by American standards, which would be middle class in leftist controlled countries, also dream the conservative dream of improving their lot by accumulating capital, savings, and property. They intrinsically understand, at least at some level, that an economy that allows for capital accumulation is one that encourages opportunity. They will hopefully wake up one day and realize that they have been played for suckers by a leftist dominated culture that encourages immorality, promiscuous sex, abortion, welfare, leniency with violent criminals, drugs, race hate, and the sweltering oppression of perpetual dependency. To paraphrase the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "from the mountains of New Hampshire to the hills of Mississippi, let freedom ring."

The liberal elite media may not be left wing enough for hard left types, the type who read the old Stalinist The Nation magazine. They like to moan about "corporate" control of liberal media from their summer cottages on Cape Cod and the Hamptons. Of course the mainstream liberal media must at least slightly genuflect toward conservatism in order to maintain any credibility at all. Even the liberal media in America is conservative to a degree, at least in comparison to the media in outright authoritarian socialist states. After all, at some level, even elite American liberals admire American freedom. Besides, the liberal monopolistic grip on mass media can only go just so far in this era of the Internet and talk radio.

Chuck Morse hosts his own talk radio program on Salem Radio/WROL in Boston.

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