Star Parker

A more careful look at the broad realities of media today can give us a hint at why broadcast talk radio, just one among a multitude of sources of information, is getting the attention it is.

Conservatives have not flourished in the talk-radio medium because of some anticompetitive stranglehold on this marketplace. Lots of attention has been given to the failure of the left-wing Air America. It was well-financed and had plenty of opportunity to make it. This was pure marketplace failure.

Conservative talk radio works because talk radio is a medium of the mind and of thinking and discourse. This works well for conservative and free-market ideas, which get sold on thought and logic.

Liberals will resent this assertion, but the liberal message is emotional, not logical. This is why it doesn't work on talk radio. Liberalism operates by provoking emotions such as guilt, fear and envy. This works in sound bites and visual media, but not on talk radio.

Consider, alternatively, Michael Moore's new movie on health care, "Sicko." This is pure left-wing propaganda. But it is having great impact on the thinking in our country about health care.

The visual film medium lends itself more to the liberal message. You can pick out instances that support what you want to say, show them in a funny and entertaining way, and you have a hit. Anyone who tried to mass-market a film about health care, arguing why government regulations distort the market, and why freer markets would work better, would fail. Viewers would be squirming in their seats.

But is anyone saying that the government should get involved to muzzle Michael Moore?

How about so much of prime-time television, where social and political messages are buried surreptitiously in the context of shows labeled "entertainment" -- "Oprah,'' "The View,'' "Gray's Anatomy''?

Should the government insist that the "700 Club" be run up alongside "Desperate Housewives''?

The media market in America today is broad and varied.

Let's understand that the left is zeroed in on talk radio because it is one medium that works well for the conservative message.

Let's leave the Fairness Doctrine where it belongs. Resting in peace.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.