by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
I share Conor's belief that by having civil, reasonable dialogs, we can try to resolve or at least clarify our disagreements. My main beef with Talk Radio is that its stars pointedly do not share this belief. They thrive on endless conflict and illusions of persecution. It is more entertaining for them to pretend that the Left is not motivated by a desire to make the country better, but a desire to destroy it and enslave much of the population, so that's what they say. I listen to Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin regularly, and all three promote some version of this canard, Levin being by far the worst offender.
Beyond refusing to seriously consider the other side's concerns and proposals, these stars also never have guests who disagree with them or challenge their assertions. They almost never have guests who are not reliable, mainstream conservatives. All that we get are occasional liberal callers. For whatever reason, these people tend to be more stupid and ill-informed than most liberals I know, so the stars usually trounce them in debate. Limbaugh can be persuasive when engaging in this ritual, but Hannity simply cuts people off if they turn out to be smart and have some point he cannot counter, and Levin dispatches liberal callers with a storm of invective.
The upshot is that their listeners don't have an accurate picture of their opponents, and don't know what the Left actually thinks and stands for. It's in this atmosphere that we get a bunch of talk about "socialism" and "government takeover," and demands to cut taxes without specifics on what spending to cut.