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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Think you’re ready to be a right-wing radio talk show host?

Published: August 29, 2008
Section: Opinions


You! Yes, you over there! Tell me something, are you unemployed? No education past 11th grade? Have a deep love of country but feel that this proud land is under attack by forces only you are aware of and that not only are those opposed to you wrong, they’re ANTI-AMERICAN!?

If you said yes to any or all of the above then my friend, you belong on talk radio. Yes, the medium providing millions of Americans a chance to hear from a REAL PATRIOTIC AMERICAN like yourself and unlike television, they won’t shut you off just because you don’t happen to look as glamorous as those “limousine liberals” who care about petty things like equal rights for minorities and civil liberties.

You know who wins when civil liberties are upheld? THE TERRORISTS!

See, already you’re on the right track. To help you on your way, here are some keys to success.


Nothing defines a talk radio program like a caller catch phrase. Rush Limbaugh for instance has his “Dittoes” and Sean Hannity doesn’t have callers, he has “Great Americans” who let Hannity and America knows that he is a “Great American”. Listeners need to feel that by calling in on The Sean Hannity Show, they’re more than loyal listeners, they are GREAT AMERICANS!


Nothing sticks to the subconscious like repetition. Repeat sentences, repeat words, repeat entire paragraphs over and over again for weeks on end until Americans understand what is at stake. Michael Savage for instance reminds listeners that “liberalism is a mental disorder” and will also helpfully tosses off titles of some of the 30 plus books he has written. Sean Hannity has utilized “drill here, drill now, pay less!” to great success recently.

Never mind whether or not it’s actually true (it isn’t) but as long as they THINK it’s the truth, it doesn’t matter and by the time the facts are introduced, the public will have already moved on. Why else would 12 percent of the population believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, and why else would a sizable number still believe that Iraq was involved with 9/11?

The answer is REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION! Do I need to repeat myself? I’m telling you people, repetition is key…see that just now? It’s that easy.

Take a snippet from a speech, for example Obama referring to Iran as “tiny” and “not a serious threat.” Never mind the original context that he was comparing them, in terms of military capability, to the threat the Soviet Union had posed and just play that snippet over, and over again. Suddenly, Obama is unprepared for the true threats to this nation!

Repetition also works in an argument. Did you hear that China is drilling 60 miles off of Florida’s shore? Actually that’s not true but they are PLANNING such a thing and environmental extremists are going to allow this to happen. Just repeat this in increasingly louder tones should someone point out that the offshore acreage Cuba owns has been leased to six different oil companies, none of them affiliated with China.

Repeat, yell, repeat, yell louder.


Ah context, it can be a tricky term. When used properly, any liberal will seem nuts and never mind that it was only a tiny snippet as part of a larger frame of reference. For instance, Wesley Clark was not contradicting Bob Schieffer’s implication that John McCain’s combat experience makes him more qualified as a candidate, no, Clark ATTACKED HIS PATRIOTISM! HOW DARE HE!

However if certain evil groups like Media Matters for America happen to post an item up of you making an idiot of yourself complete with transcript and audio clip, they took you out of context.

Heck, Talk Radio Network, while covering for Michael Savage over his autism comments, introduced what they called “context” for his autism comments not mentioning that all of the audio provided for the context came from after the controversy erupted.

The point is context is accurate when aimed against your enemies and out and out distortion when actually implied against you. Remember rule number two, as long as you repeat something often enough, it becomes something like the truth.


You have to pick your targets carefully, Michael Savage being a perfect example of why you need to do so. Attacking black people is racist but attacking “affirmative action” or “Black liberation theology” is perfectly acceptable. Attacking the Latino and Hispanic community is a no-no. Decrying the “invasion” from “illegals” on the other hand is a perfect rallying call. And attacking gay marriage isn’t an attack on equal rights and a complete contradiction in limiting government but actually a defense of personal freedom and moral values.

Attacking women is sexist and over the top but attacking “feminazi’s” or referring to Hillary Clinton as a “stereotypical bitch” (thank you Glenn Beck) will see minimal fuss except from the “radical extremists on the left who want me off the air.”

Should you tread on a hot button issue, cover yourself first by taking the previous lesson, “I was taken out of context” and then you find yourself an ally.

If you offended the black community for instance, Juan Williams will be more than happy to help out. So are Armstrong Williams and JC Watts. It’s also good just to have them on to prove that you are not racist but the other side actually is.

And there we go; all that’s left to do is hook on with a syndicate. Please note that if you’re a woman, then your best bet is to bleach your hair blonde and get frequent guest spots on Bill O’Reilly, Hannity, or Steve Doocy.

So my loyal ultra-patriotic American who has so much love for your country that you know that we would never, ever do anything wrong despite what “history” has taught us (i.e. Watergate, Japanese Internment, just about every government change in South and Latin America during the Cold War) if you do well enough, you could move on to the promised land.

Should your targets or surrogates of targets appear on your show to defend their point, you first must take step number two, repetition and repeatedly change the subject. Find a tangent and repeatedly ask the same question even if they answer it. Also, frame the question in a way that the only proper answer is the one you are advocating. If all else fails and this person is actually getting through and undermining everything you pretend to believe that’s made you successful – hang up on that person. If you’re a panelist on a program, repeatedly interrupt until the inevitable commercial break.


Congratulations, you’re well on your way to your own program on a 24 hour cable channel but despite the three plus hours you spend on the air, you feel that not enough people are getting the right information and once again it’s up to you to provide that.

It’s time to publish your first New York Times best seller. It’s very simple, you take everything you say and put it into text with some lovely semi-accurate graphs and pie charts to support your somewhat valid point. Don’t worry about publishing, the good people at Regnery Press have helped voices like Michelle Malkin and Jerome Corsi be heard to the masses and bulk purchases of your book from conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation will propel you to the top and in turn lead to numerous appearances on cable channels from the friendly ones (Fox News, CNN’s Glenn Beck) to the more hostile (any MSNBC program not hosted by Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan, or Contessa Brewer).

And so my patriotic American, you now have the steps to succeed in this great, no, greatest nation in the world that we call America.

Remember all the little people who support your show – single parents, lower-class underpaid workers and be proud that you have succeeded in living the American dream by getting your audience to go against their best interests.

God bless America and nuke France!