December 6, 2013

Big Brother and the end of Liberal talk radio

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:21 pm

A two pound dog provides an image symbolizing Liberal Talk radio.

LIFE magazine would be the logical source for some classic photos of the attack on Pearl Harbor which occurred 73 years ago Saturday, but for a writer starting out to accomplish that chore on the day before that column is scheduled to be posted is an impossible assignment.  Time magazine and the New York Times newspaper both have staff members who are employed full time to handle such editorial needs but if an online pundit notices on Thursday, December 05, 2013, that the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is a timely topic, it is too late to try to get permission to use a historic photo of that event.  Devoting an entire column to the “inside baseball” aspect of the task would run a high risk of boring readers and that provides an example of how and why the concept of “citizen journalist” is a red herring for those who want to reassure the general public that an alternative source for news is being formed in the realm of pop culture.

Ideally, glitzy photos accompanying a thoroughly fact checked article that has been quickly produced is possible on a one time basis but logistically doing that consistently  is like saying that a football quarterback can play an entire game with two minute drill intensity.

Initially when the Internet was in the formative stage, expectations were expressed that the new form of communication would spawn strong unique voices that would help provide citizens with the information they need to make competent choices when the elections are held.  The ideal of a rugged individual who can turn in a championship performance makes for the basic material of a wide variety of examples of urban legends such as the movie “Rocky,” and others of that ilk.

The fact that a lone wolf journalist isn’t going to consistently land interviews with the news making politicians is something that average reader won’t consider.  Then when a TV network shows a President’s wife answering a question put to the President, most folks won’t stop to think that there is some heavy duty game playing going on off camera.

An online pundit who points out that the sound byte provides an example of subconscious image building (or destroying?) that indicates the President is an example of the “hen pecked” syndrome will go as unnoticed as the sounds of a tree falling in the remote wilderness.  So why bother?

At 0600 hours on a Sunday morning, there isn’t much happening in Berkeley and running off to San Francisco isn’t usually going to provide a much greater smorgasbord of interesting diversions, so why bother?  It is, however, a good time to write a rough draft of the next scheduled column, if the writer has scoured the media and, on the preceding day, visited San Francisco looking for tidbits of information.

Why spend the time and money to go to looking for items in a column?

Do readers in London, Kalgoorlie (in Western Australia), and Concordia Kansas really care about a trend spotting item about the pizza at the Golden Boy bar in San Francisco?  Didn’t someone from Oakland land in Bartlett’s for saying “A trend, is a trend, is a trend!” or something quite similar?

The décor in the Golden Boy is heavy with slap art and it would take a considerable amount of work to expand that topic into column length but if we use it as an item, perhaps the assignment desk at the New York Times features desk will be inspired to assign that topic to one of the available writers and then we’ll just need to find and read the article to learn all about slap art.

Cold winter’s nights in Berkeley are an excellent time to read the classic novels that were assigned reading in high school and college many moons ago.  We might get a good column if we complete our reading of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.”  We fully intend on writing a column as a review of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” when we finish reading it.

On Thursday December 5, 2013, another aspect of the pathetic plight of the citizen journalist became apparent when it was announced that the supply of Liberal voices on the radio was being considerably diminished.

Is an online pundit criticizing Compassionate Conservative Christian propaganda on hundreds of radio stations a fair fight?  Did anybody bet on the rebels holding off the Mexican army in the Alamo or was that situation so lopsided that the bookies declined any attempt to make such a long shot wager?

Many moons ago the World’s Laziest Journalist facetiously suggested that eventually the effort to present the Liberal point of view on radio for Americans would eventually lead to a modern pundit doing a Wolfman Jack style of “voice in the wilderness” program on a very powerful signal being broadcast from outside the USA.  Our reasoning was that it did happen in Germany in the Thirties and it would happen again in the USA eventually.

If a fellow happens to be a digital hermit living in a pad without Internet access how will he be able to monitor Liberal radio?  It ain’t gonna happen.

We could still write about news that intrigues us such as the possibility that Tom Cruise will play Carroll Shelby in film to be title “Drive like Hell.”

We could write a column that features a “Twilight Zone” fan reading some forbidden Liberal Punditry about the Republican long range game plan and mutters:  “It’s a cookbook!”

We could (maybe) find a two pound dog and use an image of that beast to symbolize Progressive Talk in the dog eat dog world of the contemporary scene on the radio dial.

There was a comedian back in the day who did a routine speculating about what would happen if the only rule parents gave to their kids was:  “Don’t put beans in your ear.”  Maybe Liberal talk show hosts should hawk T-shirts advising:  “Don’t put clandestine radio ear candy in your brain!” and watch their ratings soar.

When will the Republicans learn the lesson Rev. Gene Scott taught the audience in L. A.  Shouldn’t some forward thinking radio station be using the old “Best of” trick to broadcast Rush Limbaugh 24/7 every day of the year?

Watching Progressive Talk radio do the Cheshire Cat disappearing act, we are reminded of the last two sentences in “1984:”  “He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Brother.”

Now the disk jockey will play Dave Van Ronk’s “Romping through the Swamp,” Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane,” and Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “The Cruel War.”  We have to go to a hootenanny.  Have a “Kumbaya” type week.

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