When I was 13, I begged my parents to get cable television. "It's quality, not quantity," I read from the Viacom brochure that was sent to our house. "I won't watch more TV, Mom; just better
TV!" I said. After our suburban Cleveland neighborhood was wired with coaxial cable, my "quality versus quantity argument" quickly became a big lie. Within weeks I was watching an incredible amount of bad television. I became hooked on WTBS wrestling and persuaded my friends to become equally addicted.
We re-enacted the wrestlers in our backyards. The wrestlers not only physically pounded on one another, but they hurled insults at each other as host Gordon Solie stood poker-faced holding the microphone.
Little did I realize that years later I would be witnessing the same type of discourse in popular culture starting in late 1990. It was then when I stumbled onto Rush Limbaugh syndicated radio program. Operation Desert Shield was in full swing so I turned to AM radio to become informed. What I discovered was something that I never heard before.
My young skull full of mush was intrigued as RUSH was throwing criticism at the so-called mainstream media that he felt were undermining the military operation. Here was an obviously talented radio professional mixing policy discussion with below-the-belt insults much like professional wrestling. I must admit that I found RUSHLimbaugh to be entertaining, so I once again became hooked to something powerful on media.
Through the subsequent Operation Desert Storm and the 1992 presidential election, I turned to RUSH Limbaugh with a serious dedication. At a local pizzeria, I would join a fellow dittohead at their RUSH Room. My friend became so devoted to Limbaugh that he bought many of the products he pushed on the radio show including Snapple drinks.
Very soon a bumper crop of Patriotic Conservative talk show hosts developed in every U.S. market. I was intrigued by folks like Sean Hannity, who I got to personally know here in Atlanta, Glenn Beck, Armstrong Williams, etc.
To me, the shtick became a phenomenon. These people were getting rich and famous for their cultural wrestling!
I think my awakening came when I attended Newt Gingrich's election night victory event in 1994 hosted by Sean Hannity. I'm not sure what it was, but something hit me: These Republican supporters were ALL TALK-RADIO-REPUBLICANS!
When Hannity instructed the crowd to behave decently, they did so. When Hannity asked them to take Newt's newsletter off the cart, they did so. The Democrats at their convention reminded me of the way Jim Jones' people lined up to drink the Kool-Aid.
That night the Republican Revolution in Congress was born.
A part of me was excited to see history being made. I had the chance to get a few words with Newt who I found to be one of the most intelligent people I ever met. But what I saw that night was ultimately the undoing of the GOP.
Sadly, the over-cockiness that I witnessed infected the party which had some excellent ideas including a commitment to balance the budget.
After stepping out of the box from the wrath of talk radio, I was once again able to be objective. Not too far after that night Newt rose to power, FOX News came into existence - catapulting Hannity to stardom with his nightly program.
RUSH continues to be KING-of-TALK!
Newt would divorce, resign from Congress, remarry, join the Catholic, get born-again politically, and run for president in 2012!
Today, political discourse has become nastier as women have entered the conservative talk radio and TV wrestling ring. Wow, can they hurl the putdowns better than the men. It all reminds me of the film "Mean Girls."
Pundit Ann Coulter, author and frequent FOX News guest, has taken Rush's and Hannity's neo-con torch to unprecedented levels. The queen of conservative media gets U.S. society's dander up with shocking comments. The latest was when she referred to John Edwards as a "faggot." Almost instantaneously, the media examined the comment repeatedly for days.
Honestly, did Ann Coulter's "accurate but frank" thought need to be discussed in detail? Something tells me that giving attention to Coulter only adds fuel to her fire. The good hosts know how to "Fuel the Fire!"
From Sarah Palin's "Death Panels" to Michele Bachmann's "Obama kissing up to petty dictators" Conservative talk media gets the job done.
The radical, non-Patriotic socialist God-hating left is so dominant, the Right MUST be bombastic to get coverage at ALL!
There are many millions of the American polity that gets their news from them and as a result, they are largely influenced by the likes of Coulter, Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck and Megyn Kelly;
Finally, 20 years of sowing seed gave birth to the TEA PARTY UNITED movement, and the 2010 election.
2012 will be even better!