What has been the reaction of radio’s conservative talk show hosts to the election of Barack Obama as president? They are not exactly overwhelmed with joy, as media commentator Paul Janensch tells us in this rundown.
You won’t be surprised when I report that not one of radio’s conservative talkers supported Barack Obama - not Rush Limbaugh, not Sean Hannity, not Laura Ingraham, not Mark Levin, and certainly not Michael Savage. In fact, they spent several months before Election Day trashing the Democratic nominee.
They said he was a Marxist socialist who would raise our taxes and appease our adversaries. They persisted in linking him with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and ‘60s radical William Ayres. They described him as a mystery, sort of an alien from outer space.
On Election Night, John McCain conceded gracefully and promised to work with the new president. There was no concession from the right-wing talkers. Instead they stepped up their anti-Obama rhetoric. They insist it was a close election and that Obama has no mandate.
Actually, Obama had a healthy margin of victory in the popular vote - 52 percent to McCain’s 46 percent - and he captured about 70 percent of the electoral votes to McCain’s 30 percent. The talkers say McCain is not a true conservative -- even though he supports the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the rich and opposes abortion.
Limbaugh is especially angry at the unnamed strategists in the McCain camp who have told reporters that Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, was a “diva” and a “whack job.”
According to the conservative talkers, those who have been appointed or may be appointed to key positions in the Obama administration are nothing but far-left extremists. The talkers even blame the post-election stock market dive on Obama - although the our economic crisis started more than a year ago, long before Obama was nominated.
What seems to alarm the talkers the most is a return to the Fairness Doctrine, which once compelled over-the-air radio and television stations - not cable channels - to present differing views on public issues, not just one view. The Fairness Doctrine was struck down by the FCC more than 20 years ago, and I doubt it will be resurrected.
But it’s interesting that an estimated 90 percent of weekday radio talk-show content is conservative. Why? Is 90 percent of the public conservative? That would be surprising when you consider the results of the election.
Media commentator Paul Janensch is a former newspaper editor who teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.