The Conservative media infrastructure in the U.S. is huge. Republicans/Conservatives dominate Talk Radio and have a strong presence in the world of TV news. The Center for American Progress recently published a report showing the dominant presence of Conservative programming on the radio. This report backs up other reports that show the dominant presence of Right Wing media. Rush Limbaugh's program alone is broadcast on more than 500 radio stations across the Country, including to the Armed Forces Radio network which is piped in to U.S. troops stationed across the globe. Limbaugh also has approximately 20 million listeners. To put that into perspective, Canada has a population of roughly 34 million people. This gives the man once referred to as the most dangerous man in America one of the biggest message platforms in the Country... certainly one of the biggest amongst Conservatives. This allows Republicans to control the debate in the mainstream media on a variety of issues, even when they are the minority Party.
It is not unusual for the Mainstream media to use Right Wing talking points as a starting point for political and social discussions.
Right wing media has been the driving force behind the Republican Party for the past 2 decades and it continues to have influence. With an army of dozens of Conservative radio stations from coast to coast and hundreds of Right Wing talk show hosts, pundits, & columnists, Republicans have been able to drown out more Progressive voices. In fact the Right wing Republican media is strongest when their Party is in the minority.
Right Wing media, led by radio host Rush Limbaugh, represents the voice of the Republican Party. Right wing talk show hosts are the spokespeople for the Republican Party. Limbaugh & Co. not only speaks for the Republican Party, but they basically run the Party. It has been this way for years & will continue to be the case. Republican politicians have acknowledged the fact that Rush Limbaugh & Co. controls the GOP and its agenda. Right wing hosts and pundits set the tone, decide the message and determine what the Party stands for, leaving Republican politicians with no choice but to fall in line (even when they may not believe in the message or the tactics from the Party's far right Army of spokesmen/women). We see this with the more than ridiculous "Birther Movement", where Republican politicians - some of whom probably know better - are forced to chase ghosts. Even when they know the issue is a sham, they have to at least pretend to play along. Why? Because what used to be the fringe of the GOP is no longer the fringe. The crazies are now part of the mainstream base of the Republican Party. These politicians (the handful of Republicans with half a brain and a little common sense) can't afford not to play the game. They are forced to dumb-down to placate the base of the Republican Party; something that is fascinating to watch. Troubling...but fascinating at the same time.
The March 2008 dust-up between Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele was a perfect demonstration of who is in charge of the Republican Party. And Michael Steele has not been the only Republican political figure who had to learn this the hard way… there have been several Republican members of Congress who have had to apologize and bow to Limbaugh after they have made slip ups, challenging Limbaugh’s clout and authority. It’s as clear as day that these folks dictate the Republican agenda. Whenever a Republican political figure slips up…. They have to turn right around and apologize....almost groveling at Limbaugh's feet as they do so. And they are often humiliated publicly. Republican politicians are scared to death of Limbaugh & Co. That's power!. And why is this the case? Because the Republican Party is fully dependent on its media foot soldiers to sell its message or to distort the message of its opponents. More important.... the Republican Party depends on its media wing to raise money. The Republican Party would be nothing without these propaganda spinsters.
Partisan politics is nothing new. But in recent years there has been a noticeable change in the tone and message, particularly from Right wing Talk Show hosts - The foot soldiers of the Republican Party. What’s different now is that the Republican Conservative media is embracing more aggressive & radical tactics. Hate speech has become the norm. The messages are more dangerous, destructive and toxic today. And many are even embracing the idea of using threats and violence. This is a dangerous turn for American political and social discourse and it threatens our so-called Democratic system.
See a video clip about the dangers of Right Wing Radio:
See the full Bill Moyers Documentary on Right Wing Radio (a must see).
Below are a few examples of acts of violence & terrorism in the U.S. that have been encouraged by the Right Wing media’s message. By whipping up hate, spreading propaganda, and playing on the fears and the ignorance of their followers, Republican Right Wing media hosts have created, and continue to create, an environment in this Country where racial and political violence is becoming all too common. No one is holding these media figures accountable.
1. Eric Rudolph - Killed 2 and wounded 150 others in a series of bombings between 1996 and 1998, including the 1996 bombing at the Olympic Games in Atlanta Georgia, and several attacks on abortion clinics.
2. Jim Adkisson - Shot 2 people to death and wounded several others at a Knoxville Tennessee Church in 2008. Adkisson wanted to kill Liberals and Democrats and was fueled by propaganda from Republican Right Wing talk show hosts.
3. Paul Jennings Hill - Brutally murdered 2 workers at a Florida abortion clinic in 1994.
4. Rev. Michael Bray - Conspired to attack abortion clinics with bombs, but was arrested before the attacks were carried out.
5. Timothy McVeigh - The most well known domestic Terrorist in America - he savagely murdered 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995.
6. Lawrence Russell Brewer, John King, and Shawn Allen Berry - Murdered James Byrd Jr. in Texas in 1998. Byrd was killed because he was Black.
7. Tharin Robert Gartrell, Nathan Johnson, and Shawn Robert Adolf - Right Wing White Supremacists who were reportedly part of a 2008 plot to harm Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention in Denver.
Read the official Federal criminal complaint - see specifically counts 9, 11 and 12.
8. Dera Marie Jones - Arrested in 2005 for threatening to kill a Federal Judge. Jones was fueled by hatred whipped up by the Republican Right Wing Talk Show hosts who were creating a frenzy about the Terri Schiavo case.
9. Richard Alan Meywes - Arrested in 2005 for offering a bounty to arrange for the murder of a Federal Judge also connected to the Terri Schiavo case. Meywes also wanted Michael Schiavo killed.
10. Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman - Arrested in 2008 for threats against Barack Obama and others. [additional source]
11. James Kopp - Murdered Obstetrician Barnett Slepian in 1998. [additional source]
12. Benjamin Nathaniel Smith- Went on a shooting spree in 1999, targeting Blacks and other minority groups. [additional source].
13. Matthew Hale - Right Wing White Supremacist leader arrested for attempting to have a Federal Judge assassinated.
14. Richard Andrew Poplawski - Right wing nut murdered 3 Pittsburgh Police officers in April, 2009. Poplawski was paranoid that President Obama was going to take away all guns (which was never actually the case…the issue regarding Obama and guns really had to do with the Assault weapons ban, Concealed Carry rights, and more licensing…. However, Attorney General Eric Holder has made clear that even these efforts are not and would not be a primary focus for the Obama Administration). Taking away gun rights completely was never a proposition that was on the table… but Republican Right Wing Talk show hosts have been whipping up this rumor, sending their followers into an irrational frenzy. [additional source] [additional source]
15. Danny Ray Tollett - This Right Wing maniac entered 2 Louisiana gas stations in December of 2008 and shot the Arab clerks at point blank range with his .44 Magnum handgun. The motive? He wanted to kill Muslims. Watch the actual video of one of the shootings. [additional source]
16. The Phineas Priests (or Phineas Priesthood) - A Right Wing Terrorist movement, responsible for terrorist acts throughout the Northwest. Learn more about the Phineas Priests movement from the ADL (see here, and here). [additional source]
17. Scott Roeder - On May 31, 2009, this American terrorist assassinated Dr. George Tiller during Sunday services at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita Kansas. (Despite official claims of sympathy for the victim, many Conservative groups seemed gleeful about the murder, with many Right Wing Conservatives giving various signals of "a wink and a nod" support to Roeder.)
[Additional sources: FBI was warned about Roeder| Rachel Maddow Reveals background of Scott Roeder | Additional link to Maddow commentary | More violence to come according to Roeder | Wiki Page ]
18. James Von Brunn - This Right Wing (GOP) racist entered the National Holocaust Museum on June 10, 2009 and murdered Security Officer Stephen T. Johns.
19. Republican Tea Party Terrorist Byron Williams - In July of 2010, domestic terrorist Byron Williams opened fire on police in California and engaged in a major shootout before giving up. Williams, who was heavily armed, was stopped by Police while en-route to carry out killings at ACLU offices and other locations. Williams had planned to attack the ACLU & Liberals, and was influenced by propaganda from Conservative media. Read more here, here and here.
Great articles about the dangers of Right Wing radicalism.
The GOP and the Growing Right-Wing Terror Threat
Commentary on Anti Abortion Violence by Laura Flanders.
Great article about threat to Judges
Supreme Court Justice Ruth B. Ginsburg talks about death threats.
Why is this hate speech allowed to persist on the public airwaves?
It seems to harken back to the turbulent 1950’s and 60’s when Progressives & Blacks faced the threat of violence and death for their beliefs & for wanting civil & human rights - a time when American terrorism was a reality.
Republicans seem to be willing to bring that kind of divisive atmosphere back to life- in fact, it seems as if they want to expand it. It’s not just about race anymore. It’s now about race, class, immigration, abortion, religion, progressive politics, and all sorts of issues. They are looking for all sorts of ways & reasons to split the Country -- and more of these people seem to be open to the idea of violence. It’s no coincidence that Sarah Palin was whipping up hate during the 2008 Presidential Election campaign. Republican strategists knew exactly what they were doing….Playing on the fear and xenophobia of White Americans and fanning the flames of hate and divisiveness for their own political gain. It’s ironic that these folks really can’t stand the poor, the White poor included. Yet they are able to fool poor Southern Whites into believing that they (Republicans and their media foot soldiers) really have their interests at heart. In reality, Republicans have been able to use poor Whites to bolster Conservative causes by convincing them to work against their own best economic and political interests. This is one of the most amazing phenomenon’s in American politics today.
Republicans want to protect their geographical base… which is primarily the South and they seem to want to re-establish some sort of Confederacy…. If not a geographical one, certainly a political and ideological one.
It is important for folks to know who these people are, so….
Who Are They?
So who are the leaders and spokespeople for the Republican Party? Who are the GOP Cheerleaders?
(this is just a partial list of some of the biggest figures…but members of the Republican media apparatus actually number in the thousands across the Country; including national and local hosts, pundits, columnists, authors, religious leaders, Conservative activists, reporters and media execs).
In no particular order, they are:
1. Rush Limbaugh
2. Sean Hannity
3. Bill Cunningham
4. David Duke  Even David Duke has his own radio program that was once syndicated and beamed across the Country. Duke was arrested overseas for his extremism.
5. Michael Savage He was banned from Britain for hate speech
6. Neal Boortz
7. G. Gordon Liddy 
8. Laura Ingraham 
9. Glenn Beck  
10. Pat Buchanan
11. Matt Drudge
12. Brit Hume
13. Mark Levin
14. Roger Ailes
15. Dave Glover
16. Elisabeth Hasselbeck
17. Bill Kristol
18. Ann Coulter
19. Bill O’Reilly
20. David Limbaugh
21. Kevin James
22. Jesse Lee Peterson
23. Chuck Colson
24. Tammy Bruce
25. Melanie Morgan
26. Hal Turner
27. Bob Grant
28. George Will
29. Chris Wallace
30. Michael Medved
31. Alan Keyes
32. Mort Kondracke
33. James Dobson
34. Michelle Malkin
35. Joe Scarborough
36. John Gibson
37. Pat Robertson
38. Jon Caldara
39. Mike Gallagher
40. John Ziegler
41. Jim Quinn
42. Michael Reagan
43. Steve Sailer
44. Scott Wheeler
45. Jerome Corsi
46. Cal Thomas
47. Alex Jones
48. Dick Morris
49. Oliver North
50. Bernard Goldberg
51. Jerry Doyle
52. Joseph Farah
53. Dana Perino - Former WH Press Sec. under Bush, Now a PR Spinster.
54. Karl Rove
55. Neil Cavuto
56. Christopher Ruddy
57. John Podhoretz
58. Aaron Klein
59. Jack Cashill
60. Matthew Sheffield
61. Charles Krauthammer
62. Armstrong Williams
63. Brent Bozell
64. Rick Santelli
65. Jay Severin (James Thompson Severino)
66. Cliff Kincaid
67. Joyce Kaufman
68. Brad O’Leary
69. Michael Patrick Leahy
70. James David Manning (Black preacher paraded around by White Conservatives). See him in action
71. Jim Robinson - of the 'Free Republic'.
72. Tom Tancredo
73. Gary Marx - Director of the Right Wing Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN)
74. Randall Terry
75. Curtis Sliwa
76. Wesley Pruden
77. Roger Hedgecock
78. John F. McManus
79. Heidi Harris
80. Dana Loesch - Loesch (pronounced Lash) works for KFTK 97.1 FM (the Republican/Conservative propaganda station in St. Louis, along with KMOX 1120 AM). She's what I call "The Little Ann Coulter". She's one of the leaders of the St. Louis Tea Party effort and has her own radio program. She also recently entered the national stage, filling in for other Right wing mouthpieces such as Michael Savage - on The Michael Savage Show.
81. Richard Land - Far right evangelical with his own talk show.
82. Dennis Miller
83. Lou Dobbs - A fiercely Conservative Republican who pretends to be an "independent".
84. Hugh Hewitt
85. Kevin James
86. Sarah Palin
87. Dick Armey
88. Dale Robertson - One of the national "Tea Party" leaders. Runs website TeaParty.org
89. Andrew Breitbart
90. Nicole Wallace - Former Communications Director for George W. Bush...now a pundit pushing Right wing propaganda.
91. Monica Crowley
92. James T. Harris
93. John Robert Bolton - Foreign policy radical
94. Wayne Allyn Root
95. Herman Cain (A Clarence Thomas Twin)
96. Ernest Istook
97. Pamela Geller
98. Mark Williams
99. Tom Fitton
100. Colin Hanna
101. Mark Belling
102. Lee Rodgers
103. Brendan Steinhauser - FreedomWorks (Tea Party Organizer)
104. Marc Thiessen
105. Tony Blankley
106. Stuart Varney
107. Megyn Kelly
108. Karen Hanretty
109. Jeffrey Lord
The Republican Media’s Anti Obama Campaign
The Republican Party & its media have teamed up for a campaign against President Obama. This campaign was officially launched in February 2008, with so-called “Tea Party” protests around the Country, in opposition to the stimulus legislation designed to save jobs and keep the economy afloat until the banking problem, the housing market and other issues could turn around. Although in reality, the Anti-Obama campaign got going as soon as Obama was elected - basically it's a continuation of the General Election Campaign. The clear irony here is that the economic mess at the heart of all this was a disaster left by their Republican President, but they are upset that Obama made an attempt to clean up their mess. Incredible. No furry at all towards the jackasses who caused the problem. According to Republican politicians and their supporters… it was poor folks… folks on Mainstreet who caused the recession (which started in December of 2007)…. Not the Bush Administration for having poor economic priorities and having an SEC, FTC, and Treasury Department asleep at the wheel for years and the Bankers for not having prudent lending practices or Executives on Wall Street who were making a killing by creating & trading in an underground, therefore largely unregulated, market of Mortgage Backed Securities and other exotic financial products. No… poor folks caused the recession.
I thought the election campaign was over and I had hoped that politicians in Washington would be willing to cooperate to solve problems. But Right Wing Republicans have decided that they will be obstructionists. They have declared war on Obama and have made it clear that they hope the President fails. Even though the Presidents failure could mean the nations failure & at the very least it could mean more suffering for Americans. Republicans see this as their only way to return to power. So they are on record hoping for the Country’s failure for the benefit of their own selfish interests. Notice, however, how Republicans offer few fresh ideas of their own- only the stale ideas of the past; ideas that have been tried and that have failed.
What are the aims of the Anti- Obama Campaign?
1. To discredit Obama.
2. To Paint Obama as Un-American
3. To Obstruct ALL of Obama’s initiatives, even those that Republicans pretend to be willing to support.
4. To block Obama’s efforts to improve the economy - Republicans hope for worsening conditions for Americans. (For their own narrow political interests).
5. To make the Obama Presidency a failure.
6. They will do anything they can to undermine Obama’s Presidency - ANYTHING. There seems to be no limit to how low they are willing to go to accomplish this goal.
How Do Republicans & Their Right Wing Media Plan to Accomplish These Goals? What Will Be Their Talking Points?
1. They will continue to call Obama a socialist & communist as a way to scare voters.
2. They will try to divide the Country based on class and race - the same thing that they tried during the 2008 Presidential campaign with Sarah Palin. However, this campaign may be even worse. They will really try to rip the Country apart.
3. They will continue to push the lie that Obama is not really an American citizen…and thus the idea that Obama is not the legitimate President.
4. They will say that Obama is anti-Christian.
5. They will suggest that Obama is unpatriotic.
6. They will use the term “Liberal” (which Obama has not been so far as President) as if it were a dirty word. They will try to equate “Liberal” with “Socialist” and “Nazi”.
7. They will disrespect the First Family. No… I’m not talking about the typical banter that we have seen over the last 200+ years… The kind of disrespect I am suggesting will be of a nature that we have never seen before.
8. They will try to blame poor economic conditions on Obama and will try to re-write history. They will try to convince Americans (who have extremely short memories) that Obama is the cause of their economic hardship.
9. They will push the idea that Obama is secretly Muslim.
10. They will say/suggest that Obama is friendly to terrorists.
11. They will try to stir up anger, hatred, and racial divisions among their supporters.
12. They will paint Obama as being weak on National Security...weak against terrorists, etc.
13. They will stoke violence among their supporters and may (in a roundabout way) even encourage their supporters to engage in violence against certain people or certain groups.
14. They will use lies, distortions & propaganda of all kinds to mislead the American public.
-- All of this sounds sickening, but this is what they hope to do. This is unfortunately where we are as a Country.
What Do They Generally Believe?
1. The Free Market should be allowed to run wild - with no oversight and no new laws to protect Americans.
2. Americans who don’t have enough to eat should be left to fend for themselves. “Haves” shouldn’t have to take care of the “Have Nots”. “Let em starve” is basically the attitude that Republicans have.
3. Americans who are out of work and are struggling to support their families should fend for themselves. Government has no business playing a role in helping the unemployed or providing entitlements. Let churches and charities take care of the unemployed. Not the government.
4. Americans who are losing their homes or who are in danger of losing their homes should fend for themselves.
5. Americans facing economic hardship are “whiners” (as a top economic advisor to Presidential candidate John McCain once stated).
6. Americans with no healthcare or inadequate healthcare are simply out of luck. They should grow up and stop whining. The Republican answer to this problem is… “sorry you are facing such a tough time”…. “we send our prayers”. Republicans support the “Pray You Don’t Get Sick Insurance Company”…perhaps the fastest growing insurance company in the nation…with thousands more new accounts each month.
7. Social Security should be privatized and put on the stock market. They would really like to do away with most "entitlement" programs.
8. Tax cuts are the cure for all economic problems. Tax cuts will create jobs. (Although this theory was allowed to play out during the Bush Administration…. Didn’t work so well. The theory was proven false).
9. War is a solution for most foreign policy problems.
10. Against increase in spending for education.
11. They don’t like the idea of the separation of church and State. Many believe that the U.S. should be a religious State - much like Israel & Iran, where religion often dictates policy.
12. Tend to be less supportive of Science and the Arts.
13. They oppose responsible sex education programs or family planning.
14. Don’t care much for international institutions like the UN, unless they are used to further the Neo-Conservative foreign policy agenda.
15. They generally despise Gays and Lesbians.
16. They generally can't stand Hispanics. They particularly hate Mexicans... They are hostile towards other Hispanics as well, but their hatred of Mexicans is visceral. Of course Mexicans are o.k. when Conservatives are exploiting them for cheap labor (disgusting stuff). Cubans are an exception to their general dislike of Hispanics, because they see Cubans as Republican votes or being at least Republican leaning.
17. They generally despise immigrants, especially Non-European immigrants - legal or otherwise. They see immigration as putting a strain on U.S. Taxpayers and threatening jobs for "real Americans” (code for White Americans). They especially dislike Arab and African immigrants.
18. They don’t like the Judicial Branch and seek ways to subvert the Constitution and weaken the authority of judges. They view judges who make decisions contrary to Republican ideology as “activists”…and “dangerous”. They have even expressed a desire to “remove” judges who don’t agree with them and have (in a roundabout way) encouraged their supporters to threaten violence against judges and do harm to them by whipping up hatred via the airwaves.
19. They are loyal supporters of big business interests over workers.
20. Muslims are terrorists. (all Muslims must be Terrorists... what else could they be?).
21. Support the growth of the Military industrial complex.
22. They don’t really like the poor (including poor Whites) or working class people.
23. They tend to support business interests over the environment.
24. They tend to be xenophobic.
25. Many don't respect Blacks, don't really see Blacks as equal citizens, and resent the idea of Blacks holding high office or accumulating wealth. The proper place for Blacks (in the minds of many Republicans/Conservatives) will always be in some sort of subservient role to non-Black elites, no matter how hard they have worked to be viewed as equal or to simply be respected as citizens in this Country. Some may not say these things publicly, but this is what many Republicans/Conservatives believe.
26. Any sort of tax is a bad tax.
Three Great Books About the Right Wing Republican Media
Since September 11, 2001, most attempts at reasoned political debate in America have been severely limited by the violent language of the Right. In books and on television, it has become a regular ritual for conservative pundits and intellectuals to infuse violence—particularly against Democrats or liberals—into discussions of the major issues of the day, such as terrorism, immigration and gun violence. The result is the creation of a shrill discourse that silences opposition and destroys any chance for serious, civil debate.
In Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right is Poisoning American Democracy, political language expert Jeffrey Feldman analyzes the words of leading conservative figures Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, James Dobson, Wayne LaPierre, Pat Buchanan and Bill O’Reilly to show how the Right’s language of violence is polluting our public discourse and limiting the free exchange of ideas. In addition to exposing the conservative obsession with violence, Feldman also shows how the civic discussion in America can be reshaped without the use of violent language, creating a healthier political climate.
“Outright Barbarous turns the spotlight on the rhetorical thuggery of the Right, exposing how the verbal excesses are being perpetrated not just by media blowhards like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh but by conservative thought leaders. But Feldman does more than point fingers; he offers practical steps for cleaning up our too-often-toxic political discourse.” - Arianna Huffington
“Since 9/11, America has been contaminated by the violence of right-wing language, in the speeches of Republican politicians and the rantings of the talking heads on Fox News and on conservative talk radio. Jeffrey Feldman’s insightful and important book cuts through the violence, and shows how we can restore the democratic ideals that America was founded upon.” - Thom Hartmann
“Jeffrey Feldman warns us to ignore the right wing noise machine at our own peril. Backed by right-wing think tanks, foundations and millionaire families, conservative standard bearers will continue to enrich themselves at the cost of a more civil, equitable society. Read Outright Barbarous to find out what they're really saying, and how we can stop it!" - Sam Seder
Link for more information on The Republican Noise Machine and Blinded By The Right by David Brock.
Great Websites that Keep Track of the Lies, Distortions, Propaganda and Venom from Right Wing Media
1. Media Matters
2. Think Progress
4. Hatewatch - from the Southern Poverty Law Center
5. On The Media (weekly program)
6. Crooks and Liars
7. ConWebWatch See homepage.
8. People for the American Way
Some good news.... the Republican Party and its Right Wing media are becoming irrelevant to young Americans, according to a survey highlighted by the blog, The Moderate Voice.