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Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
Infallible Blowhards 
11th-Sep-2010 11:10 pm
McCain Palin Abe Maude Simpsons
From a comment I wrote on another journal:

Listening to Sean Hannity as I drove across Wyoming last weekend, I think I realized the key to right-wing talk shows:

The host never admits they are, were, or could be wrong. A guest on, say, Charlie Rose's or Bill Moyers' shows is there to educate the listeners and the host. But a guest on Glenn Beck's or Rush Limbaugh's shows are there either to agree with the host or for the host to browbeat and contradict.

It's a great business move: If you present yourself as infallible and your listeners believe it, they'll be very loyal listeners, ripe for advertisers.

Contrast this to a prominent radio host on the left of the spectrum like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. She shares her point of view through selection bias, inviting guests whose message she wants to spread and letting listeners hear it in a new voice each day. When she has a guest she strongly disagrees with (she hosted Lou Dobbs a few years ago), she sticks to the question format, though with more points and barbs than folks she likes. But she never outright tells a guest they're wrong or screams at someone to get off the air.
Comments 
12th-Sep-2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
A blogger I follow actually made a related observation recently. He categorized the "selection bias" style as that of a propagandist, and the "never admit you're wrong" style as the style of a cult leader. His observation (which rang true to me) was that the right is shifting away from propaganda-like to cult-like tactics. Glenn Beck in particular.
12th-Sep-2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Propaganda is about ideas. Cults are about a person.
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