Back when I had a lengthier commute than I do now, I used to turn on AM talk radio from our local station KEPL 96.5 to see what our goofy friends on the right were chattering about that day. Much of what I heard in the morning was fairly tame, and sometimes I even found myself agreeing with a couple of folks like Moon Griffon when they were talking about what an awful governor Bobby Jindal is.
Through the day, the programming does become more and more bizarre, going to shows like Mark Levin in the evening before switching over to Coast to Coast AM for the overnight hours from 12-5 AM.
The challenge that conservative talk radio hosts run into is that they’re all competing for a very limited audience which tends to be older, and very, very white. In order to keep these people tuned into their show and not switching over to competing radio programs, they have to constantly ramp up the rhetoric – or people will go elsewhere to hear that President Obama is a radical gay socialist Kenyan Muslim communist who hates America.
Few right-wing talk radio personalities understand how this market works better than Michael Savage, and he keeps his 194 radio station audience enthralled and outraged with stories like how the Girl Scouts are part of an evil leftist agenda to make America accept transgendered people, or a myriad of other imagined sinister plots.
This time around, Michael Savage is once again telling his listeners that President Obama wants to stir up racial hatred in the United States, which isn’t much different from the slightly-toned-down-for-mainstream version of events you can hear on Fox News and Fox News Radio. From Monday, as reported by Right Wing Watch:
“The devil in the White House went out and attacked the police again, did you hear that today?” he said, referring to a speech Obama delivered at an event for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. “No one will believe that he did this, he did it again, the Satan did it again. Do you realize what a lie that is? Do you realize he’s justifying the looting, he’s justifying the burglary that triggered some of this, he’s justifying the killing of the police? The very same Satan who just said that, so far as I know, has not apologized for what he did in Ferguson and what he did in Baltimore; instead the Satan is doubling down on fomenting racial hatred.”
He added: “How could a president continue to push such hatred? The rhetoric is no different, by the way, than that of Al Sharpton or that of the grand wizard of the — who is the grand wizard of race hatred in America? The Black Panthers. And who is the number two grand wizard of racial hatred in America? The Nation of Islam.”
Savage said that by “demilitarizing” the police and “militarizing the military,” Obama may be “preparing for something astronomically unbelievable.” This led him to rant about black-on-white crimes while shouting about how the “slick Satan” and “evil liar” in the White House is stirring up “an epidemic of killing police by minorities, by the way.” (Source)
Now, I honestly don’t think people like Michael Savage and others believe in a quarter of what they’re actually spouting on TV and on the air waves. After all, the majority of media outlets serve one primary purpose – to make money for their owners.
Does Rupert Murdoch care if gay marriage is legalized? Probably not. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that he actually prefers government to be in the hands of Democrats because Fox fans are more likely to tune in to hear how the latest crisis is President Obama’s fault. Remember, if their audience is not entertained and/or outraged, ratings drop and so does revenue. Shows like Fox and Friends, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage or the myriad of smaller radio shows have to keep the flames of conservative anger stoked or they’ll go out of business – and what better way to convince their audience that they’re still relevant than to say outrageous things that will be angrily blogged about by liberals?
How do you deal with these angry conservatives who believe much of the hyperbolic rhetoric and conspiracy stories that come from right-wing media? It’s very easy – ask them to prove their statements and put their money where their mouth is. What I’ve really enjoyed more than anything else is to propose a wager with the people who think President Obama is trying to take their guns away. It’s a simple bet: if he hasn’t issued a confiscation order before the end of his term in office, then they have to give me a weapon of my choosing from their arsenal. I haven’t found a right-wing gun owner who will take me up on that yet.
Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and others like them aren’t crazy – they’re relatively clever media figures who know how to remain relevant and keep the money flowing in. Michael Savage isn’t an angry old white man who actually thinks President Obama is Satan or is planning to trigger a race war – but he makes a living catering to people who do.
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