I do not often listen to the radio when I am in the car. Typically, I listen to lectures or music from my iPod and when I do listen to the radio it is generally NPR. However, last week when I was running some errands I forgot my iPod and did not feel like the music selection that was on NPR at that time so I decided to do something that I do on occasion. I turned to one of the local conservative talk stations to see what they were saying. I have a friend who is a morning host at this particular station, The Truth 104.3.
I am not fan of Limbaugh or Beck or any of the big name conservative radio hosts and in general I believe their rhetoric is not helpful. It is often far too polemical and designed to incite an emotional response rather than reasoned dialogue. Still, I think it is important to engage divergent ideas so at times I will take a listen. In fact, a couple of years ago I had a friend who challenged me to watch Glenn Beck. She assured me that if I gave him a fair listen I would like his ideas. So, I caught him on the radio and set my DVR to record his television show.
My friend was wrong. I found his ideas distasteful and even deceptive. But, what surprised me the most was how watching his show every day influenced my emotions. I found myself becoming agitated, even angry. I found his rhetoric to be so emotionally charged that it does not yield itself well to dialogue. It cuts at you viscerally. In my case it was a reaction to his logical gaffs and historical misrepresentations. But for those who agree with him, I think his rhetoric is designed to engender an equally strong but opposite emotion response to what I was having. It actually got to the point that watching this show daily was so negatively effecting my emotional state that I decided to stop recording and watching the show so that I would not be channeling any anger.
When I was in the car running my errands and listening to the radio, I had the opportunity to listen to Neal Bortz. I do not know a lot about Bortz. I have heard him a couple of times and know that he is a long time radio personality (forty plus years) and of a conservative persuasion. But, that is all I knew.
Much of what was said as Bortz and his guest spoke (I do not remember the identity of the guest) was standard fair polemics. Bortz claimed that Obama is not very smart, flat out called him a jerk, and referred to Obama as “Dear Leader.” He also made comments about how he was old enough and established enough that he could leave the country if Obama wins the next election. Bortz also recalled the