If You’re Gonna Be For Free Speech…

…then you have to be for it. I would be remiss if I took issue with the Supreme Court’s decision to “legislate from the bench” against free speech, but then ignored the apparent move from Senators Clinton and Boxer to try and curb the effects of Conservative Talk Radio.

Let’s face it. Conservative talk radio is a pox upon any attempts to actually inform the public. It is, in fact, dangerous to a degree. Just think back to the onset of the Iraqi war. With the strangle hold that the right wing has on information dissemination, it’s hard not to understand how back then a majority of Americans really did believe that Osama and Saddam were best friends forever, and how even long after the story was debunked, so many people seemed to fail to come to a realization of the facts that they had.

In way, the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly do shoulder some of the blame for the mess we are in right now, their widespread and concerted attempts to stifle any and all dissent largely successful, and paving the way for Bush and his party’s congress to make war with Iraq, leading us to the quagmire we are in today.

Of course Democrats voted to go to war as well, I’m not denying that. But, as public opinion is vital in the ability to maintain a long term war, had we not been under the durress of these mouthpieces, it is very possible that the public support and opinion could have logically helped extricate us out of this war long ago.

But here we are. It’s not all Fox and Talk Radio’s fault, but they get a bit of the blame pie. And worse, they have done nothing (legally) wrong.

Considering I’m a blogger and I enjoy my free speech almost like an addiction, I can’t in good conscience side with any legislative attempts to curb this. Not from Bush’s Supreme Court, and not from Democratic Senators… though I do see their point.

It’s the rules of the game, and you have to learn how to play it. I wish for political success, but you can’t bend the rules to help you out, you can’t stifle the voice of dissent like so many Goppers love to do. So you have to learn how to win IN SPITE of the rules, not by retooling them.

And the first step to doing that is to understand what the other side is doing right. As Betsy points out, it’s because, like or not, the wingnut blowhards that we love to hate are, it pains me to say this, good at their job. Note: don’t take this to mean that I agree with nearly anything on her page, it’s just that in this single moment, she happens to be right.

I try to listen to liberal radio. Alan Colmes is alright, I suppose, and I love Rachel Maddow, but in my opinion, liberal talk shows haven’t been the same since Al Franken left their ranks to run for the Senate.

Maybe we just don’t have the gifted talk show personalities, maybe the entire contour of the conservative argument lends itself to the radio format. It’s an attractive concept; bumper sticker politics fit nicely on ADD stylized audio formats that are engineered to cater to the sound bite.

Conversely, many liberal issues tend to be nuanced, and many liberals tend to disagree with each other in these nuances. A great example is between me and Mikey T. I favor a pull out and reapproach method towards the Middle East, whereas he believes that to really get things going in the right direction in Iraq, you have to go for the uber deployment of troops there. The kind of differences of opinions, and the overall culture of dissent that you find on the liberal side of the aisle doesn’t fit well with the conformity based modality of radio.

In radio, you agree, and are welcomed by the host, or you disagree and are either shouted down, hung up upon, or ridiculed. Talk radio is where you go to feel good about what you believe in, not where you go to challenge your ideas.

So maybe we shouldn’t be trying to make a challenge in the radio arena. The market is saturated, and we are ill equipped. On the other hand, we should be focusing on other forms of media to counteract.

Like, say… I dunno, maybe the internet? The internet is surprisingly well suited for the liberal mass as blogs are exactly the kind of format that fits our “culture.” Here we are, I write for a blog, and I often times find myself in disagreement with the other contributors and a relatively regular basis, and I don’t think it hurts us at all.

Likewise, a couple of my oldest friends in the blogosphere write for the Newshoggers, and we have ALL had disagreements in the past and have been stronger for it. I’m a fan of the Gun Toting Liberal, and MVDG, but you’ll find my stances on gun control probably conflict with the former, and I’m not with Michael on the whole religiosity thing.

That’s how things go, and despite it feeling like blogs have been around forever to those of us who do particpate, it’s still a relatively new medium with lots more room for growth as the internet becomes more and more prominent in entertainment.

Plus, as GTL points out in a very kind link he tossed our way, we get to use “Adult Language.”

The point being, conservative radio has been around forever, and will be around most likely forever. You can’t legislate against it, it’s not fair, and it’s not legal. Me personally, I think that succeeding IN SPITE of conservative radio only goes to show the strength of our argument, and we’re better off for it.

But to fall into the trap of thinking you can do something about it legislatively, well, that’s just falling into the trap of hypocracy we blame them for all the time.

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