RightNation.US
News (Home) | Righters' Blog | Hollywood Halfwits | Our Store | New User Intro | Link to us | Support Us

RightNation.US: Political Talk Shows; the Spectrum; Limbaugh - RightNation.US

Jump to content

-----


I've been giving some thought to some discussions I've had here recently. What follows are the results of my offline reflections and follow-up, specifically regarding: Political talk shows, the US political spectrum, and Rush Limbaugh.


Political Talk Shows

My exposure to political media is almost entirely via the Internet. I hardly ever listen to the radio, I watch television to relax, the only newspapers I see with any regularity are The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Herald, and occasionally The Boston Globe (all of which I use for other-than-political purposes), and the books I read vary widely by subject matter, only once in a while will I choose one about politics. With the Internet one has access to an incredible variety of political sources and viewpoints but it's relatively easy to filter that down to the subjects that are personally most interesting. I decided to perform an experiment; to expose myself to political talk shows. The MMH (my commuter car) has satellite radio which I very rarely use. (I like the company's Travel Link services but that's an add-on to their radio subscription.) I was sitting in traffic on the surface streets of downtown Boston (it was a nasty commute home) so when able I reached into the glove box and retrieved the channel listings. I sought out the one for conservative talk radio and tuned in.

(I should note the reason why I rarely use the radio or sound system in the car: No matter what's on I quickly become distracted, frustrated, annoyed, or otherwise irritated. If I'm listening to specific music that I selected then I can sometimes last for a half-hour or so but for anything else, my tolerance is pretty slim. The first commercial, the first static, the first dead air, sometimes even the tone of a speaker's voice is enough to make me turn the thing off. As a recovery Type-A driver *wink* I need to make an effort to be relaxed behind the wheel and hitting the power-off button can be rather satisfying. Perhaps the car was not the best environment for me to conduct this experiment.)

When I selected the conservative talk channel the readout said it was Mark Stein's show, although I cannot confirm that he was the person speaking. Whoever it was I must have caught him in mid-soliloquy. It was "Obama this" and "Obama that"; an unbroken stream of derogatory opinions about the President. And I do mean opinions; during the short time that I listened there was not a single statement that I recognized as a fact. This is not to say that he was lying but if I was reading the transcript on the Internet (and was sufficiently interested) I would have been Googling like mad to find confirmation or supporting evidence. The harsh negativity really turned me off so I quickly turned him off. Listening time: About 2-3 minutes.

After recovering from the experience (and still barely moving in traffic) I realized that if there was a conservative talk station then there might also be a liberal talk station. I once again retrieved the listings, found what I was looking for and tuned in. According to the readout this was the show of a fellow named Thompson (again I cannot confirm that he was the one speaking). He was conversing with a woman and I didn't know their relationship; was she a guest? A sidekick? I still don't know but she was talking about someone else (a woman who was an elected representative I think) and was essentially praising that person's courage for speaking out in favor of abortion. (The male speaker was making agreeable and encouraging noises.) I admit that reproductive rights is not an issue that I find particularly interesting; after about 2-minutes I was again reaching for the power button but since I had pulled into a Dunkin Donuts parking lot for some coffee (see "nasty commute" above) I instead turned off the ignition and exited the vehicle.

When I returned they were talking about something else but since I was trying to merge back into traffic… (and was, you know, distracted)… it was a minute or so before I was really listening again. (Although something was said that made me chuckle I don't remember what it was.) What caught my attention was the male speaker referring to the current Pope as a Nazi. The woman said something about kids in that situation being essentially forced to be a part of the Hitler Youth movement and the man replied: "Oh, so that's the excuse". Disgusted again, I turned the radio off.

I've tried this radio experiment several times in the last couple of days and the result is always the same: Regardless of the side, after a very short time (less than 5-minutes) I just can't stand listening anymore. Maybe it's because I'm in the car but I'm not so sure about that; over the years the same thing happens when it's on the TV. I'm a pretty quick channel-flicker with the remote and if it's someone else's television I'll leave the room. I think I just don't like being "trapped" in a politically-opinionated environment, in a place where I cannot control my exposure. That's why I almost never talk about politics offline… (well, besides the fact that it's one of the big 3 topics never discussed in polite company)… and why I keep coming back to RN. Here I can sit down, focus on politics for a bit, then get up and go to bed, go to work the next day, and do all the other things that make up my life. And if I don't feel like talking about politics then I don't check in; for me this is a healthy approach to a volatile subject.

My short "talk show" experiment has thus far confirmed something that I already intuitively knew: Too much politics is not a good thing for me; carefully controlled doses are better. I probably will not continue the experiment since I don't want to become desensitized to what is essentially a toxic environment.


The Political Spectrum

I am not an expert on Political Science, not even a student, and just barely an amateur. Political ideology is a very complex subject with depth and range and histories… it can be quite overwhelming. Here in the current US politically adversarial environment I think it can be simplified (or oversimplified) in quasi-binary fashion with a single-axis, left/right continuum. For me that looked something like this:

Fringe Left – Extreme Left – Left – Center – Right –Extreme Right – Fringe Right

The "Left – Center – Right" part encompasses the bulk of politically-active US citizens. So where did I get this? That's easy, I made it up. There's the Center (the mean) and on each side, a couple of gradations. This is how I think of it; my own way of organizing the variety of political opinions and ideologies with which I come in contact. And as if this wasn't simple enough, in the discussions that I mentioned in the introduction I even provided a working explanation of "extreme"; it means just further away from the center. No really, that's it, basically a range name describing distance from the center. I probably should have foreseen that folks a little further away from center would self-identify with what I think of as extreme, and would be a tad miffed by that descriptor. Okay, irritated…umm… offended… let's not mince words, they're really pissed off. Fighting mad. For them the term "extreme" carries a strongly negative connotation that I did not anticipate… but should have.

(See I've been called extreme and lots of other descriptive-and-colorful-yet-perceivable-as-derogatory adjectives and for whatever reasons I'm able to shrug it off; it just slides off me like water-based lubricant on a duck's back.) :coolshades:

So in this reflective period I decided that I should use the term "far" instead of "extreme"; which would look something like this:

Fringe Left – Far Left – Left – Center – Right – Far Right – Fringe Right

This doesn't really change how I categorize things, and still describes relative distance from center, but hopefully it will (at least somewhat) placate those upset with my prior arbitrary choice of words. Of course where to place perspectives upon this scale is still largely subjective but if we can't agree on terminology then it's very difficult to understand one another. This brings me to my final point.


Rush Limbaugh

In case it wasn't already evident from my comments in the forums, blogs, and my perspectives noted above, I am underwhelmed by Limbaugh and by the legions (from all sides) that want to emulate his success. I see him primarily as a celebrity entertainer, as a propagandistic bloviator, and as the most obvious exemplar of the coarseness of public and high-profile political discourse in this country. These are truly my feelings and for this, like it or not, I will not apologize.

However, I made a mistake when referred to his opinions as "extreme" (see above).

A coworker who I've known for more than a decade (and get along with very well) is a regular and longtime Limbaugh listener. I've overheard others in the firm mention and joke about his penchant but since I generally don't talk about politics (especially not in a professional environment) we'd never talked about it. We regularly talk about many other things, both professional and personal, but not this.

Today I approached my friend and asked: "Where would you place Rush on a political spectrum?' He thought about it for a few moments then said: "Right to far-right… it depends on the subject". Does anyone here object to that analysis?

I've said herein these forums that Limbaugh was "extreme right" by which I meant distance from center. True I was naïvely measuring him by his most extreme positions and using an unflattering term but this fellow who I like and respect basically confirmed my outlook. So Limbaugh is not essentially "extreme" but he certainly crosses over into far right territory. With adjustments for terminology and standard deviation I issue this not-pology: You are right but so am I.

I then began to explain to my coworker why I asked him this unusual (and non-professional) question, and as soon as I mentioned the phrase "political discussion forum" he started shaking his head. "That's really tough", he said, "I stay away from that kind of [stuff]"…

"No matter what you say there will always be folks jumping all over you."


I wonder what he listens to in his car.


0
  Like

2 Comments On This Entry

Rush sits somewhere between Republican and Conservative. He supports conventional Conservative positions on all issues but doesn't necessarily want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to elected Republicans who are less Conservative than he.

In terms of extremeness of delivery I really don't see him as all that extreme. No veins popping in his forehead like I can almost hear from my man Mark Levin on the radio, no crooning about how -insert news item here- means that the world is ruined for good like Glenn Beck does, no vicious hatred off all things you don't agree with like Mike Savage spews. Sure he sometimes goes a little far with his statements, but even those are blown up to be bigger than they really are by a left leaning media.
0

Taliesin, on 16 June 2012 - 11:45 AM, said:

Rush sits somewhere between Republican and Conservative. He supports conventional Conservative positions on all issues but doesn't necessarily want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to elected Republicans who are less Conservative than he.

In terms of extremeness of delivery I really don't see him as all that extreme. No veins popping in his forehead like I can almost hear from my man Mark Levin on the radio, no crooning about how -insert news item here- means that the world is ruined for good like Glenn Beck does, no vicious hatred off all things you don't agree with like Mike Savage spews. Sure he sometimes goes a little far with his statements, but even those are blown up to be bigger than they really are by a left leaning media.



I should probably lay off Limbaugh, especially since I’m not likely to become a listener anytime soon. Due to his longevity and popularity,he’s the easiest target. I really do believe that he’s played a leading role in the coarsening of high-profile, public political discourse that’s occurred over the last couple of decades. I’m certainly not suggesting that it’s all his fault but his place as a politico-cultural icon cannot be denied.

0
Page 1 of 1