Right Wing Talk Radio

by Greg Martinez

After last week’s shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others, there were many calls to tone down political rhetoric. Many people noted a subtle call for violence in a graphic on Sara Palin’s Facebook page that showed a United States map with gun site crosshairs for political rivals. One of the people targeted in that graphic was Giffords.

While a direct link between the map and accused shooter Jared Loughner has not been established, Palin pulled the graphic from her Facebook page. Four days later, she posted a video on Facebook that rejected the notion that the map, right wing radio, or any other right wing rhetoric was a factor in the shooting. In the same video she accused those who made such a connection of inciting violence against her. She even went so far as to label such concerns as “blood libel,” a term used by Jews to describe ancient accusations against them of ritual murder. These claims have historically been used to justify violence against Jews.

The same day Palin posted her video, right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show that the Democrats “fully support” alleged shooter Loughner. Palin and Limbaugh’s reactions are examples of the propaganda tactic of “accuse the accuser.” This tactic is more than simple hypocrisy. It touches something deep in the human mind and is subliminal in its effectiveness. Right wing radio also likes to use the tactic of “the big lie.” This tactic, attributed to Hitler, basically says people will believe a lie if it is big enough and repeated often enough. An example of this is when Glenn Beck refers to liberals as Nazis even though Nazis are on the extreme right of the political spectrum, not the left.

Rush Limbaugh became popular for two reasons. AM radio was basically dead at the end of the 1980s, given the better sound quality of FM radio. Desperately in need of ratings, AM radio stations turned to “shock jocks.” Limbaugh made his mark by mocking the homeless, AIDS victims, minorities, and feminists. The other factor in the rise of Rush Limbaugh and right wing talk radio was the repeal of the fairness doctrine (a.k.a. “equal time”) in the late 1980s. This allowed Limbaugh to establish a radio format known as “unguested confrontation,” basically attacking people who were not present to defend themselves. Callers on his show virtually all agree with him and greet him with the word “ditto.” His audience of 20 million people weekly, known as “dittoheads,” just loves to hear him say what they wish they could say in public. The show uses propaganda techniques extensively, especially repetition.

Limbaugh was an official advisor to the 2004 Bush campaign. Basically he and all right wing talk radio are one big ongoing political attack ad. Is this the way we want to conduct the political discussion in America? Are subtle calls for violence, like the target map, free speech or hate speech?


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


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20 Responses to “Right Wing Talk Radio”

  1. These people will stop at nothing to spew their rhetoric and ignorance so everyone can hear. Palin needs to find her off button already and press it a million times everytime she opens her mouth she shoves her foot all the way down her mouth and shows everyone how ignorant she really is. Ignorance is bliss as they say. What kind of person has a “hit” list on their web site and then when tragedy strikes it mysteriously disappears from your web page I guess that was her pr group trying to do some damage control well I realize the shooter had mental issues but this goes to show how they need to be careful of what message they’re sending to voters since there are impressionable unbalanced people like Loughner who will take something and run with it and one tragedy is enough.

    • Greg, start being more Latino and less of an idiot. Most of the press aside from the rabid liberal left has backed off, now that there’s absolutely no evidence Loughner was encouraged by right-wing anything. All you have is insinuation and innuendo. If you’re still gonna mindlessly parrot the Leftist talking points, at least be original or entertaining about it…

  2. Both sides are guilty of the same.
    As a Republican Latina, I’m all for intelligent discourse. Pointing fingers without offering real solutions is the truest hate rhetoric of all.

    • Then why is pointing fingers (or cross hair) so popular amongst Tea Party and Republicans? Do you even realize that negative campaigning is a despised technique in most of western democracies? (Right now in Germany a 30-second piece of web video of a conservative party was attacked for calling the green party’s policy “stupid” and “destructive”, not pointing cross hair.)

      • VonFernSeher
        Here is a list of the Democratic hate speech prevalent in American society
        http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2653895/posts .
        You are misinformed. I say this respectfully. Extremists on both sides are dangerous. I cannot blame an entire race,creed, ethnic group or political party for the actions of few. And the latter point is mute since it does not apply. Loughner is not a Republican,Conservative or Tea Party Patriot.

      • I did not say this is a sole right wing problem. And yes, I can blame a whole political party for actions of their elected leaders. Political party does not belong to your list of race, creed and ethnic group for it is a chosen dependance. There probably are extremist on both (or x) sides, but they were not born extremists. It is the social climate created in your society that leads to a significantly higher rate of such incidents. And Sarah Palin is among the spearhead of this rhetorics today.

        There is never direct evidence pointing to her or Glenn Beck o.o. as there is no in the relation between homicide rates and fire arm restrictions or your SUV and global warmimg. But there is a significant disorder.

  3. I find it fascinating that after 10 days of this shooting, the Left is STILL trying to link, directly or indirectly, this shooting to Palin/Rush/the Right. Nevermind the mountain of evidence, or lack thereof showcasing that Loughner was not someone on the right or left but an insane psychopath with a specific grudge against Giffords. He’s has his eyes on her since 2007, long before there was a Tea Party and long before even most of the Right had heard of Sarah Palin.

    I mean, this entire post would be laughable if it weren’t so vile, slanderous, and without any coherent argument. I mean, you have it all, Mr. Martinez:

    – Continuing to link Palin to violence. (only a fool like yourself could actually believe that her crosshairs maps was a sincere call for violence against those targeted members of Congress. Maybe I should alert you to the authorities the next time the DNC makes a similar map… oh wait, they already have).

    – Attacking Palin for her use of the term “blood libel,” the usage of which has been DEFENDED by noted LEFT-WING Jewish law professor Alan Dershowitz.

    – Your standard, generic attack of right wing talk radio, even accusing them of using Nazi propaganda tactics. Frankly, the Big Lie I saw over the last 10 days has been liberal commentators like you who keep perpetuating the notion that the right is somehow responsible for this shooting. Ironic, I think.

    I mean, this isn’t even new or refreshing, even for a liberal reader. Paul Krugman, Eugene Robinson, etc., had all beat you to it. I seriously hope blogging attack pieces with little substance and value isn’t your day job, Mr. Martinez. For your sake.

  4. Many people noted a subtle call for violence in a graphic on Sara Palin’s Facebook page that showed a United States map with gun site crosshairs for political rivals.

    A subtle call? Subtle as a shot gun in a gas station.

    • Again, only a liberal with a vendetta against Sarah Palin could possibly believe that Palin’s map was a legitimate call for violence against those Congressmen and women. Just saying.

      • Actually, I did not want to appreciate your comment with an answer, but now…

        “Vendetta” (blood rage) is another term that is far off subtle. Nobody said it was a legitimate as there is no for hunting someone down. But you seem to be so stuck to your rhetorics you do not even realize there is another way of communication outside of what your wing’s leaders often refer to as “God’s Own Country”. Just saying.

      • The Palin map “at best” may have been in poor taste, but there is no apparent malice. Look, this does “little” to advance the cause on either side. Let’s talk intelligently about differences. Agree to disagree on what cannot be reconciled and build a bridge on the things that we can work on together.

  5. It may be the established norm in Europe(I wouldn’t know)to blame others for our actions, but it is not in America. Ony “you” are responsible for your actions. I can’t make anyone do anything and if someone is so easilly swayed or led by rhetoric then it clearly points to a lack of values which in many instances can be traced to early upbringing. Until individuals stop blaming mommy,daddy,government aunt Louise or whoever for their actions, we will never get any further in this debate..

    • I would say it might be an established norm in America to read just that parts out of a text you want to, only I know better. Never have I blamed Sarah Palin or the Republicans for shooting Giffords. But I do not accept to deny their influence on social climate.

      Until individuals stop blaming mommy,daddy,government aunt Louise or whoever for their actions, we will never get any further in this debate..

      Then who would you blame for your education? Your genom? This is quite absurd.

  6. Myself. In America, individuals transcend humble beginings and become wealthy,successful role models. It is the American way. Of course It is absurd to someone from another country. It’s hard to understand American ingenuity, our ability to make something from nothing. It is a bitter existance to depend and blame others for our lives, but much easier than to take a look at ones self.
    You don’t like something about your life/ Put on your grown-up clothes and change it. I have no respect for eyeore types… “Woe is me…” That is the problem with society today. Take responsibility for “yourself!” Be somebody instead of being just “anybody!”

    • Really? So you decided since day one what would be your education? There was no influence by the education of your parents, your neighbors, your teachers or simply the means of education (e.g. time, intellect, money) invested by familiy and state into you? Do you really think stupid Indian fabric workers and ignorant central Haitian child prostitutes should just please “put on [their] grown-up clothes and change it? Just take some responsibility for themselfs? Do you really believe in your Malibu Stacy cheers?

      I am sorry, then the only one ignorant is you.

  7. I refuse to attack you personally as you have, but the bitterness and resentment is pronounced.
    But I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from
    an exceptional European:
    All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What “right” have we then to depreciate imagination.
    Carl Jung
    All the best!

    • Bitterness and resentment? I just led a conclusion. Grown up in your world, you do not want to see there are worlds in which all your creative fantasy and imagination do not help you big deal since the means of realization are absent. Thus the American dream stays a dream for most.*
      You simply just see what is visible from your point of view and it seems you do not personally know anybody who did not achieve wealth and social status though working harder and learning busier than the average.

      We see colors, not wavelengths. – Carl Jung

      *read J. Hochschild or H.B. Johnson on this.

  8. The piece was intended to get people thinking about right wing talk radio and right wing rhetoric in general. I said clearly that no link between link the shooting of Giffords to right wing rhetoric has been proven. To me Sarah Palin saying on one hand that there is no link and on the other hand accusing critics of “blood libel” is just hypcritical hyperbole. Blood libel is when you kill somebody based on a false accusation of murder. As far as I can tell, Palin is very much alive. I don’t know of any right wing commentators who have been murdered for their political views.


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