Why All The Vitriol On Talk Radio?

David Frum wonders why there seems to be so much vitriol on conservative talk radio in the days since the attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and comes up with a theory:

Question: why? Genuine indignation at the thought that anybody might attribute violence to people who did nothing more than exercise, day after day, night after night, their constitutional right to describe the president of the United States as an alien Muslim Marxist determined to overthrow the Constitution, despatch the disabled to death panels, and impose a socialist, fascist regime on the country? Or maybe … some nervous awareness that they have been thrust into a vulnerable position by the Tucson shooting? The killer proved deranged. But you have to wonder if something did not turn over in the pit of the stomachs of people like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin when they first heard the news.

Frankly, I doubt it. These people thrive on controversy, real or imagined, and you can bet that the last several days have seen a jump in their ratings, which is, after all, the primary thing that they care about.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Steve Metz says:

    Agree. Here is a tweet I sent to Frum: “Indignation has become a commodity. The industry based on it has to constantly up the ante to keep market share.”

  2. sam says:

    “Why All The Vitriol On Talk Radio”

    Ratings.

  3. Herb says:

    “But you have to wonder if something did not turn over in the pit of the stomachs of people like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin when they first heard the news.”

    Their reflexive defensiveness points to….yes.

  4. Tano says:

    “…wonders why there seems to be so much vitriol on conservative talk radio in the days since the attempted murder…”

    ??? Because there has been that much vitriol on conservative talk radio every other day for the last generation?

  5. Axel Edgren says:

    Simple: Radio provides the emotional rush of hearing your own voice sauntering around in a garden of ridiculous, ranting statements but hides your ugliness, spittle and flushed face from view.

    In other words, it is the perfect balance between the internet (anonymity, no risk of direct criticism or debunking, you can ignore critics to a degree, you have an entire small arena to yourself) and out-in-the-open personal vitriol (you get to hear your own voice and can create positive feedback of anger).

  6. anjin-san says:

    I will never forget a bit I heard on a right wing show, think it was Michael Savage. They were playing tape of Obama giving a speech – just a garden variety Presidential speech. The host was muttering things like “Right on baby, seig heil” “guess I had better learn how to goose step” and “bye, bye, freedom, it was nice knowing you” through the whole thing. I don’t spend much time on right wing radio, but I think it is safe to assume that sort of thing is common.

  7. Pug says:

    Talk radio thrives on resentment, grievance and ratings. The number one rule, though, is whatever the argument or event, attack and blame liberals.

    Limbaugh’s assertion that Loughner was smirking in his mug shot because he knows he has the support of the Democratic Party is just the most recent example of completely unhinged, irrational rhetoric from him.

    Does the GOP ever condemn those kinds of statements? Of course not. They better not if they know what’s good for them.

  8. Kylopod says:

    Yeah, why all the sudden vitriol on talk radio? Why don’t they go back to the genteel, courteous tone they had before?