Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may have emerged with the most GOP delegates after yesterday’s Super Tuesday contests, but according to Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer, the real winner was right-wing hate radio:
Regardless of what the mainstream media might have you believe, talk radio emerged as last night’s biggest winner. It has nothing to do with actual election results, the medium simply has never been more influential than in 2008.
Don’t take your Radio Equalizer’s word for it: take a quick look at pre- and post- election coverage, it is truly difficult to find stories that don’t mention talk radio. Its role has absolutely dominated discussions of this year’s primary season.
There’s no doubt that hate radio flourished under the Bush administration. Talkers have been invited to exclusive gatherings with President Bush and granted coveted interviews with high-ranking officials. Several people, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), noted the oversized role hate radio played in killing a comprehensive immigration bill last year.
But as the primary results have so far shown, hate radio may be on the decline. The majority of Republicans yesterday turned out and voted for McCain and Huckabee, rejecting the candidate chosen by the radical right and the xenophobic hype on immigration. A look at what the media pundits have been saying about the state of hate radio:
“The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight.” [Michael Medved, 1/19/08]
“Sean Hannity said a moment ago that he has his finger on the conservative pulse. The conservative talk radio and activist pulse. Immigration is the top issues for conservatives, for conservative Republicans. I just think there’s no evidence that’s the case of most voters and in most of the country.” [Bill Kristol, Fox News, 2/5/08]
“Can we please stop pretending that immigration is a good issue for Republicans? The restrictionist side can’t even produce a victory for their man in a Republican primary.” [David Brooks, 1/30/08]
“Mr. McCain’s emergence as the dominant candidate in the Republican field has generated an outcry from some of the party’s conservative stalwarts; Rush Limbaugh says a McCain nomination would destroy the Republican Party. We think Mr. McCain…would save the party from some of its worst and most self-destructive instincts.” [Washington Post, 2/6/08]
“Their [Limbaugh and Coulter’s] claim that Mr. McCain is not a conservative…is ludicrous, but it’s damaging to a party bloodied by eight years of the politics of George Bush and Karl Rove.” [New York Times, 2/6/08]
If power is shouting and being ignored, then hate radio is king.
UPDATE: Sarah Posner looks at James Dobson’s lack of influence.
UPDATE II: Cliff Kincaid has more on talk radio’s failures.