I thought there might be something behind this notion when I first read it, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how much it would shape my radio listening on Outpost delivery day. It was a dispiriting experience.
I knew, of course, that it would be all scandal, all day long, but I couldn’t quite grasp in advance just how lame it would all be. Was there even a shred of new information? Not that I noticed. Instead, Limbaugh was arguing that everything wrong with America is the fault of liberalism. Huckabee was juxtaposing random questions with “I don’t know” responses from Eric Holder at a congressional committee appearance. This, I think, is what passes for humor in Arkansas. Glenn Beck was laughing, bitterly, about how easy IRS miscreants were getting off. Hannity was ranting about how evil and incompetent Obama is — in other words, doing exactly what he does every other day of the year.
The Salon article appeared to have it right. When you turn the dial up to 11 on the day a president enters office, it’s hard to raise the volume when actual scandal comes along. To some extent, actual scandal undermines the narrative because a large part of the narrative is that the reason only conservative talk radio is able to perceive scandal every time the president sneezes is because the mainstream media are in Obama’s pocket (right next to his handkerchief). When the media actually grab onto a scandal, that suggests that maybe all of those other scandals weren’t so scandalous after all.
So a fair amount of the day was spent trying to reach 12 on the dial. There was the suggestion (via Michele Bachmann) that the IRS will have unrestricted access to your medical records. There was the suggestion (via Limbaugh) that Obama’s fingerprints are all over the IRS scandal, all without a shred of evidence that either actual or metaphorical fingerprints exist.
Interestingly, there was no mention at all of the largest government scandal of the day: more news about the military’s hideous record of sexual assault and abuse. The military, as usual, must not be criticized.
Hearing that story required listening to NPR, which, unfortunately, didn’t provide as much relief as usual. “To the Point” focused on Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her breasts surgically removed. That was do depressing I switched to Hannity. His fantasies are much more rewarding than reality.