Sunday, January 20, 2008

Does Talk Radio Matter Anymore?

Will talk radio play a role in this year's election? Michael Medved has up an interesting piece on the lack of effectiveness of the major conservative talk show hosts in affecting the South Carolina primary. Wit Rush and Sean Hannity (plus a slew of other conservatives) questioning both McCain and Huckabee's conservativeness, they both were a distant 1st and 2nd in the South Carolina primary which is thought of as a conservative state.

7 comments:

"Nick" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective, although I think he is showing a few preconceptions. One, how does he mean "doesn't matter"? Cause Rush still gets more listeners than the three network news shows combined, and Hannity and Beck aren't that far behind. If he means in terms of people doing what they say... did they ever? And what about his reasons? McCain ISN'T a principled conservative, neither is Huckabee. Should they start espousing "neo-conservatism" or liberalism so they can be more in step with what the people think?

People have been saying "talk radio is dead" or "hollywood is dead" or "network news is dead" forever, and it keeps reinventing itself. One primary result doesn't signal anything, and Mr. Medved should know that.

CRCHAIR said...

The point is that talk radio doesn't have the influence that we perceive it to have. If the two most listened to talk radio hosts in the country (Rush and Sean Hannity) can't derail either McCain or Huckabee's campaigns then there doesn't seem to be much political power there. That is not so say that talk radio is useless or a waste. It just doesn't have the power that we thought it did to influence elections.

shadowmom1 said...

Sean Hannity has had most of the candidates on his radio show. Maybe the people are reacting to the personalities and not just the opinions of the hosts.
Some come off better if you can see and hear them than they do in print or in opinion pieces of others. (Huckabee comes to mind here.)

Sean said...

I think that this mainly goes to show that most talk radio is only entertainment. rush has said it i don't know how many times, that his show is just entertainment. i think that lots of people listen to their shows just to hear the wacky conservative guys go nuts, then they go out and vote their conscience. i know that's what i and lots of people i know do. so, while talk radio has a huge following, it's no more influential than britney spear's choice of undergarments.

Nomad said...

Talk radio is at its most powerful when it comes an echo room for what people already believe. This is why Rush was so successful - he gave a voice to a side of America that had recieved no attention for decades. Now, however, the echo room is not working because Conservatives are not sure who they are and heavily fragmented. The battle between Paleo-Conservative (Pat Buchanan), "Mainstream" Conservative (Rush Limbaugh), and Neo-Conservative (Dick Cheney) is in the open. Social Conservatives and Economic Conservatives have lost the alliance, and need to reestablish the balance.

"Nick" said...

I think Nomad is right about the echo chamber, although I would say that the impact of talk radio was always blown out of proportion anyway. Conservatives tend to be finicky when it comes to candidates anyhow.

Interestingly, given that McCain got 41% last time, and only 33% this time... maybe the converse is true, that talk radio really did harm McCain.

In any case, it is interesting to see a real debate going on over the future of the Republican party and conservatism.