The men behind the curtain

Interesting opinion piece in the New York Times by David Brooks.

The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the G.O.P.

You know how I feel about squawkers big and small. It won’t surprise you at all if I agree completely.

Update – It was a Times piece, not the WSJ. I’m sorry.

The piece is also published this morning in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


  1. Several weeks ago a former political aid to Newt Gingrich brought this issue up on one of the Sunday mornings shows. He addressed the narrowing of focus and the increasing number of venues for ‘news talk’, including blogs. His point was that as the number of outlets increases people select options that more closely match their political thoughts, excluding alternative view points. I see this in the few blogs I scan locally and on cable news. This site is a good example. With few exceptions, those who respond share common views. So the question is, do media talking heads or blogs change views or simply enforce already strongly held beliefs? As the message narrows so does the core of adherents to that philosophy. The resulting polarization leads to the scenario outline in the Times column. Good toss-up, Cindy!

  2. Randy in Richmond says:

    David Brooks writes for a paper that has long ago lost touch with real America. They have been in a steady decline since the advent of what–talk radio. Cable/satellite TV, the Internet, and talk radio has and is driving a stake through the heart of many traditional newspapers. Just recently Brook’s paper denied for two weeks what was happening with ACORN.

    You think Brooks might have a little dog in the fight? And it is exactly those like Brooks, as well as John McCain who Brooks has long supported, that have contributed to the latest fall of the Republican Party. When moderate Republicans run for national office they generally always lose because the “undecideds” and “middle roaders” lean left. Recent examples are George H W Bush in 1992, Robert Dole, and now John McCain.

    Brook’s article sounds of sour grapes and the real entity that has and is losing power and influence is the very paper he works for. And the idea that talk radio or the internet is going to change someone’s mind or basic political leanings has little vality. Yes, it does happen but I suspect very rarly. I listen, view, or participate in blogs to enhance, reinforce, and share my views as I suspect most people do. There is much preaching to the choir going on here. Brooks is under the illusion, as most in the MSM, that those of us who listen to any talk radio are mindless robots going to the trough for marching orders–sorry, but that’s not what it’s about.
    And little is ever said about those who watch Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart believing they are watching legitimate news.

  3. “His point was that as the number of outlets increases people select options that more closely match their political thoughts, excluding alternative view points. ”

    Yes, I see how that makes sense. It is a toss up. But hey, a girl’s gotta have a hobby, right? 😉

  4. Randy, I think you misread Brooks. He doesn’t say talk radio exercises control over voters. He says talk radio can tie up the switch boards, but the voters still do as they please at the ballot box. Politicians, on the other hand, are overly impressed with the mayhem at the switch board and therefore are afraid to offer any real leadership. You are not the mindless robot in that scenario, your elected officials are.

  5. Randy in Richmond says:

    I think we are together here, Kathryn.But there are many others who do apply the robot scenerio you suggest. And an interesting aside, I listen to Rush some and one thing he never does is encourage people to call anyone. He may say or provide some insight but if anyone calls somebody, at least with Rush, they do it on their own. But he only has a little over 20 million listeners a week.