Do Obama And/Or McCain Pose Dangers To Bloggers’ Free Speech?
There’s an email discussion between some respected top bloggers about whether a victory by Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama will pose a danger to bloggers’ free speech. Or will a McCain victory pose a danger on another front?
Read THIS MUST READ which now brings the debate on the Internet itself. Be sure to read comments on this post and leave your own.
What will likely happen? No matter what, it’s highly unlikely that there would be an abrupt end to conservative talk radio — mainly because such rules would also impact liberal talk radio, which many Democrats would not want to see happen. Liberal talk has not been a broadcast ratings bonanza: on an 8 week drive this summer I almost had to hire a private detective to find it in most markets. But talk radio is now a huge force in American politics on the left and right in terms of rallying the partisan troops and keeping the troops mentally in line by discussing the party lines so everyone is on the same ideological page. Talk radio also does deliver info on issues, although almost always slanted to the host’s side.
Talk radio hosts become the “friends” of people for several hours a day. Listeners drawn to the host due to his/her personality can and are then influenced, even if they insist they are not. In fact, sometimes you can talk to people or read Internet writings and, if you listen to talk radio, you know its regurgitated talk radio riffs.
Talk radio is likely here to stay — and blogs have now gone from the being conceptually the great hope for solid, original “citizen journalism: into the reality of being citizen op-ed pages with lively comments sections…the Internet equivalent of 24/7 cyberspace talk radio.
But the question remains: who ever would have thought 30 years ago that Americans would willingly listen three hours a day to talk radio hosts who spend their time denigrating one political party and spinning in favor of their own? Who would have thought that this would become both entertainment and influential — that you could get ratings by offering shows where one party is painted as a bunch of cynical, manipulative, often downright evil people who will hurt the Republic if the gain control?
But it’s here to stay. And bloggers shouldn’t be panicking about closing up shop yet. The reality is most likely this: on paper it could seem as if Obama or McCain could mean a change, but in reality little will likely change for talk radio or bloggers if Obama or McCain is elected.
Most likely, talk radio will continue to grow and so will blogging — as will the continued erosion of the quality of American political discussion in an era where demonization and anger means garnering ratings..and, quite often, votes.