Friday, October 14, 2016

Conservative Media Not United

Whereas most of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media would like - and always have liked - to paint all of conservative media with the same brush, anyone who closely observes the right will see that there is a dramatic lack of unity - now more so than ever. Donald Trump has created more of a rift on the right than Hillary Clinton has on the left, despite the surprising appeal of Senator Bernie Sanders.

I consume conservative media but not all of it, of course, because that would mean being glued to the radio, TV, magazines and internet 24/7; however, I do sample a variety of different commentators. Online, it soon became clear that while Breitbart and the Drudge Report are pro-Trump, National Review and Red State turned against him almost from the start. Indeed, while National Review tried to remain somewhat measured in their criticism of Trump, both Breitbart and Red State were shrilly unfair in their respective support and opposition to him. (Now we know that the Breitbart editors were essentially part of Trump's campaign and have recently made that official.)

On television, FOX News at first opposed Trump and then came around to supporting him enthusiastically. This curiously mirrored the position of the Republican National Committee. As the GOP went, so went FOX.

The world of conservative talk radio presents the ultimate melange of opinion, with the talkmeisters who have heretofore been assumed to all be on the same page instead dividing sharply over Trump. Depending on what is available in your media market, you could start your radio listening day at 9 a.m. with Glenn Beck, who absolutely despises Donald Trump. He has said that after years of defending whoever the Republican candidate is, it is a relief to know that whatever comes out about Trump, Beck does not have to defend him.

Shortly after noon, however, Rush Limbaugh will come on your radio to passionately defend Trump no matter what is said about him (or what fresh outrage Trump has committed). So far, then, we have three hours of Beck bashing Trump, and three hours of Rush beating back all attacks on the GOP's standard bearer whether they are fair or unfair. (As to the unfair attacks on Trump, of which there are admittedly many, didn't Trump use unfair attacks on his opponents during the primaries? Never mind.)

Then, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., you could listen to Sean Hannity, who defends Trump with such passion that it makes it seem as if Rush did not defend him at all. After 6 p.m., we have Mark Levin, who supported Ted Cruz against Trump in the primaries but has recently said that he will vote for Trump but not at all enthusiastically. To Levin, it is really a matter of Hillary Clinton being so objectionable that he is willing to hold his nose and vote for Trump.

If you are in other markets or turn to a different station, you might also hear Laura Ingraham, another conservative talk show host who actually goes Sean Hannity one better in her passion for Trump.

So much for the notion that if you listen to any of the conservative talk shows you will get the same opinion, and so much for the longtime media-promoted conceit that listening to these shows will make up your mind for you. Talk-radio listeners have never been more on their own.

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