Today In Conservative Talk Radio: 01/11/2021

Post by: Rick Ellis 11 January, 2021

For two years between 2014 and 2016, I wrote a daily column in which I recapped some of what I heard on conservative talk radio. I'm an old-school radio talk guy & I still enjoy the medium. I'll even listen to people I don't agree with, albeit not for that long.

I gave up doing the column because I felt as if it had run its course a bit creatively. And to be honest, even though I am just flipping around on and off all day, it started to feel as if I was hearing the same arguments every single day. But given the events of the past week, this seemed like an appropriate time to bring back the idea. Let me know what you think at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

One note about the format. I am literally just tuning in when I get a chance throughout the day. So I won't be covering every major conservative talk show host and some days the coverage may be more extensive than others. This is a side column and as such it is a lower priority for me throughout the day.

The thing about Glenn Beck is that intellectually he is like the single guy who loves being in love but can't stop himself from sleeping around. Beck wants to be the voice of reason - and he tells listeners that on a regular basis. But he can't keep himself from veering off the mainstream road and driving deep into the Crazytown Forest.

Today, Beck told listeners that it was up to them to be the voices of reason in the country right now. With the shutdown of social media and the crackdown on conservatives, it was up to his listeners to listen to their opponents and thoughtfully try and persuade them they were wrong. But then he couldn't help himself and he started driving off-road at full speed as he speculated that if the "Socialist and Marxist Democrats" can "come after you for having an opinion they don't like on social media, where does it stop? When do they start coming after people who homeschool their kids? Or don't wear a mask?"

And really, that's the core argument you hear from people like Beck. They don't acknowledge the actual reasons why Twitter or Facebook might want to restrict QAnon accounts in the face of escalating threats of violence. Instead, he pretends that it's all about being a conservative and it's just another example of the Left trying to control every aspect of American life. But hey, you should also make sure to be the voice of reason in your social circle.

Rush Limbaugh is a very sick man. I don't say to gloat or celebrate his death. But even Limbaugh will admit that his time in front of a radio microphone is likely pretty limited. So given that, then why does Limbaugh continue to play this too-cute-by-half intellectual games? He's not going to get pulled off the air, short of screaming "Kill them all!" into the microphone. It's clear listening to him today that there are things he wants to say. But I suppose he just doesn't have the stones to push the limits of conversation the way he clearly wants to.

He spent a big hunk of time having what he described as a "thought experiment," which is the intellectual equivalent of Donald Trump tweeting something controversial and them claiming it was a "joke." Limbaugh says he is just thinking out loud so that if anyone complains about his comments, he can just claim he was talking vaguely about possible outcomes or actions. And he makes a point of reinforcing that "thought experiment" premise when he does a segment on today's show arguing that if "they can erase you on social media, then why couldn't they do the same thing with your vote?"

While I loathe Sean Hannity's politics, I do admire his ability to stay on message, no matter what the distraction. He starts his show talking about the attack on the Capitol, but quickly shifts to Antifa and the "Chop Zone" and before you know it, he's on to Hunter Biden's laptop and the Steele Dossier. In Hannity's framing, this is all about silencing the Trump people. They hate you, they hate Trump, they hate America. And hey, how about those Hillary emails?

A bit later, I caught the tail end of his interview with Maria Bartiromo, and I have to admit that at first I thought he was talking with unofficial Trump lawyer Sydney Powell. She was rambling about Trump, the election and she sounded as if she was 150 years old.

More tomorrow......

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 09:27