Talking Back to Hate Radio

Match their vehemence with your passion

Responding to hate radio is an onerous task. Rush, Drudge and co. are preaching to the choir who listen to them for hours a day. They are lying, and most people, even conservatives, know that they're lying, and they need to hear the lies over and over and over to internalize their extremist views. Joe Conason's latest book Big Lies covers much of this material. Most people just ignore hate radio, hoping it will go away. Well, it hasn't, and now millions of Americans rely on these hopelessly biased sources for their news and opinions. They can't think by themselves, they need to be told what to say and feel. And they need to hear it over and over; this is what Berkeley researchers call cognitive closure. From the press release of the article Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition:

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article.

One of the Minnesota home-grown hatemongers is Jason Lewis. Personally, I never listen to him or the station he's on (the same radio station plays three hours of Lewis and three hours of Rush every day...). But some are taking action. The Jason Lewis Anti-Fan Club is being formed, urging people to listen and call in from the liberal perspective. The club's motto: "It's like fixing a clogged up toilet. Disgusting but necessary." Also, the club is taking a page from the right-wing playbook: Call the advertisers on the show and let them know that you're not going to buy their product if they advertise on such a program. Much radio advertising is bought in blocks, and sometimes the companies don't monitor just where their product is being pitched. A call to the VP of Marketing (you might have to wade through a few people to get the right one), with an example of the type of hatemongering associated with the show, might convince them to pull their ads.

You can use similar tactics for hate radio in your local area. Start your own anti-fan club!

Going to the Minnesota State Fair was a bit depressing, since I saw at least two smaller radio stations that I'd never heard of that were spewing the most gawd-awful junk. As one blogger, a self-confessed Reaganite Republican, put it: "The Patriot; talk radio for those who think Jason Lewis is too much a G-dless commie." The US is becoming Iran.

Dittoheads believe lies and they don't believe the truth. Right wingers are anal in defense of their lies. I used to say that "a conservative is someone who was improperly toilet trained". But that doesn't fully explain the pathological loathing of Coulter and others. Perhaps they were raped by their fathers? Counselling would help. Maybe meds. But until then, you have to match their vehemence, if not their scatalogical insults.

They're lying. They know they're lying, otherwise they wouldn't need to hear the lies over and over. You catch them in a lie -- and you will -- and shove it back at them, and they'll just sit there with a stupid grin on their face as they desperately pretend that their whole worldview hasn't come crashing down on them. You will never convince them, at least not in one conversation. Facts will not change their mind. You must match their passion on an emotional level. Remember: You're the good guys and, though they hate you, they are not the enemy. Is it worth arguing with people who get all their opinions from Pravda (aka Fox) and hate radio? Up to you.

Aside from simply lying, the Taliban wing of the GOP tend to use three different types of verbal gymnastics. When you make a valid, supported criticism of Bush or the oily Bush administration they:

1) Change The Subject, preferably to Clinton. They simply can't defent Bush or the neocons, so they just fall back on their standard rants from a decade ago, often with a newer twist; often a lie.
Counter: a) "Don't change the subject, let's stick to Bush." b) "Oh, so you're not even going to TRY to defend Bush!" c) "Geeze, you're soft on crime."

2) Use the "Everybody Does It" pseudo defense. Often a variant of the first defense, since their goal is to NOT talk about Bush and start ranting about someone else. They seek to mitigate their own crimes by pointing using others as similar bad examples. Don't let them generalize.
Counter: a) "Everybody does NOT do it, and certainly not to the same extent. You're making a bad analogy and letting some very bad people off the hook for some real crimes." b) "Oh, so you admit Bush IS a crook. Yes, you just compared Bush with people you insist are criminals. That makes him a crook too, right?" c) "You've been whining about other people for a long time, let's deal with the crooks in power now." d) Geeze, you're soft on crime."

3) Lastly, they resort to the "Are You Drunk?" personal attack. Mud slinging can take many forms. They will demonize you (or the person you cite). They don't dare try to counter the facts you've presented. Heck, I don't think they understand the facts against them.
Counter: I've got to admit, when it gets to the schoolyard taunting level, you might as well have fun with them. You're never going to win the argument. They are MUCH better at personal insults than you are, having spent more time listening to professional whiners like Rush and Drudge than they have talking to their family. You can say something like "are YOU on drugs?" or "were you raped by your father?" if you're in the mood for that sort of thing. But you MUST counter their emotional spew. "Oho, now it's personal insults. You're not even going to TRY to argue facts. That says more about you than about me."

You can use their knee-jerk hatred against them. One of the latest smears is that the Dems are conspiring to lose the presidential election in 2004 (!) to make way for a run by Hillary Clinton in 2008. I generally just nod enthusiastically and say, "Hillary will make a great president." This sure makes Dean look better...

During the Shockwave show where I talked with the guy behind the Jason Lewis Anti-Fan Club, I read the How To Write A Letter To The Editor points from a previous Bartcop-E column. And then had a letter published the following week! Good timing on my part, eh?

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