from self-proclaimed “Geek Tim”
For years, I listened to Limbaugh on my way to work, and to “Air America” on my way from work, specifically so I could ‘compare and contrast’. In my opinion, the popularity difference is because they relate to their audience differently.
Julia Sweeney has a great line that “listening to NPR is like listening to your mother telling you to clean your room”.
•We have a gas crisis? It would help if you used mass transit more
•We have an education crisis? It would help if you read to your kids more
•We have a health care crisis? If you exercised more and ate better, we wouldn’t have such a demand on the system. Coming up next: 3 ways you can add kale to your daily diet.
•Country <X> isn’t doing what we want? If you knew more about their history, you’d understand why. Coming up next: an interview with a prominent exile.
The typical framing of the typical problem is about what you can/should do to help things get better.
On the other hand, if you listen to Limbaugh, you (the listener) are never at fault. You are perfect. You are the heart of America. The problem is them – those liberals, foreigners, feminists, etc., fools at best and traitors at worst, who are screwing things up and preventing the great life you deserve.
•We have a gas crisis? They refuse to let us drill and use nuclear.
•We have an education crisis? They have a bias against private schools
•We have a health care crisis? No we don’t! They just say this as an excuse for Big Government. Coming up next: an ad for Ruth’s Chris Steak house.
•Country <X> isn’t doing what we want? If they didn’t make us act like such wimps we’d be respected and feared! Coming up next: jokes about Hillary.
The Limbaugh approach is much more popular. In my opinion it’s not so much the details of the liberal vs. conservative policies, it’s that the one nags you while the other exalts you.