They Talk on the Radio, Therefore They’re Journalists

Jesus Tikka Masala Christ.

One of the most dishonest things about our dishonest media conversation is the near-total lack of focus on broadcasters during the come-lately accuracy jihad. I still remember sitting in an airport listening to Glenn Beck talking to some blow-dried news twink on CNN about how Obama “wants to talk to people who hate us and want to destroy us.” Totally unchallenged, no opposing viewpoint cited, just Glenn Beck, commenting away and being, unlike many bloggers, a total hyperbolic lying asshole.


4 thoughts on “They Talk on the Radio, Therefore They’re Journalists

  1. I’ve got nothing against entertainers being on the radio, and even having semi-serious radio shows — every Saturday night, the former lead singer of Bachman-Turner Overdrive does a show about music trivia on the CBC, and that’s cool. However, folks like Glenn Beck are cargo cultists: they want all the perquisites of being real journalists without actually having to do any of the work. What’s even more pathetic is how people like Beck and S-ssman et al get instant credibility with a certain demographic of people simply because they get to be on the radio, talking politics. After all, he’s on the radio, so he must know what he’s talking about, right?

  2. Thanks for linking this A!
    Here’s a technical question for the smart folks here. Although these hosts aren’t journalists their radio stations are legally classified as “press entities”. The FEC has ruled that legally sometimes they act as “press entities.” (Amazingly during the run up to elections!) Because of the “press exemption” their parent corporation can provide hours of “free advertising” to candidates for federal office and causes that they believe in.
    The corporate owners get to give away hours of promotion and the candidates don’t have to pay, saving their money for TV and other ads they do have to pay for. The stations get around the laws of in kind donations by using the “press exemption”. Now while this exemption is exceedingly broad, there have been cases where a request for an exemption was rejected.
    What would it cost Republican candidates if they had to pay advertising rates for all their exposure on talk radio? If right wing causes had to pay for the hours of free advertising?
    I’ve been doing some research into FEC rules and regulations. I think that one local radio station, is violating the rules about electioneering. I’ve already written the FEC and got some preliminary
    information of a possible hole in the press exemption that they always use.
    When I was telling people about my campaign to alert advertisers on local talk radio, they often flinched. Why? Because many translated in their mind any action against talk radio as an action against free speech.
    When I explained to them that the action didn’t limit the hosts illusory “free speech” (since they are already in a regulated environment) they relaxed and could get behind the idea.
    Working to rule talk radio OUT of the press exemption might make the same people flinch. Like battered spouses when I talk about blowing a hole in a law they have been abusing for decades, often I hear all the reasons they ARE press entities. What I need is all the ways they ARE NOT AND all the ways to show that they have violated the very broad rules.
    The right wing media want to fight the fights they want on their turf. They want to say that we are trying to silence them that we are tying to bring back the fairness doctrine. They are saying this because they WANT some on the left to come forward and say, “I don’t like what they have to say but I will defend to the death their right to say it.” Really? You will defend their right on commercially-sponsored broadcast radio to call for the hanging of journalists?
    The hunting down and killing, like a mad dog, your political opponents?
    Hang liberals from lamp posts like blacks in the south?
    The genocide of the people in Iraq?
    What next? Defend their right to falsely yell fire in a crowded theater?
    They LOVE IT when the left trots that old saw out, ESPECIALLY when it doesn’t apply to the talk radio people and what they actually say.
    The mainstream media aren’t going to fight the talk radio hosts. They might report on a fight, but only if you give them a good enough news hook.
    Think it would be a news hook if a talk radio station lost its press exemption because it wasn’t acting as a press entity? Think that would freak out the entire industry for a bit? Put them on the defensive?
    And here’s the deal, this is the kind of thing that the right did to bloggers back in 2004. They looked at a growing powerful group and said, “We must show that they are backed by powerful financial backers! That they aren’t journalists!”
    Why did they do this? Because they are projecting as they always do. THEY are the ones backed by big family and corporate money. They are the ones who aren’t journalists. But by focusing on the bloggers they gave the media a story to write. “Bloggers could be secret agents! They don’t do reporting! They don’t fact check! OH NOES!”
    Right wing talk radio and right wing cable TV didn’t get voted out in 2008. We are seeing just how powerful they still are in the health care debate.
    Anyone want to help me with some definitional, linguistic or legal thoughts drop me a line.
    spockosemail at gmail .com

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