Michael Hood of blatherWatch has an interesting piece today about King County Councilwoman Julia Patterson (D-SeaTac) diving headlong into the lion’s den of right-wing talk radio. She defended KC Elections for an hour yesterday on the John Carlson Show, correctly admonishing John and his fellow travelers for demanding KC prove a negative. She was then mugged in absentia on Kirby Wilbur this morning, who played clips from the Carlson interview, teasing listeners with claims that Patterson had accused President Bush of eating children. (Choked on a pretzel, my ass.)
Michael goes on to “salute Julia Patterson for leaping into the [right-wing] talk radio breach,” where few liberal Seattle politicians dare to tread. He argues that politicians shouldn’t avoid the KVI/KTTH crowd, even if it means occasionally getting the rhetorical snot beaten out of them.
Ignoring talk radio is a political mistake. It has, with the help of blogs, led the debate in the unrest around the gubernatorial election and stoking the rural/exurban rage machine roaring out of control in the 3-county area.
Liberal denial of conservative talk-radio dates back to when it was considered insignificant and peripheral by local media and politicians. It was wishful thinking–I hope by now that myth is exploded–it’s a powerful political tool of the Republican party.
I can’t agree more, and I’d like to add that any politician who can’t hold his own against the likes of John and Kirby and Dori, really has no business running for office.
Personally, while I can’t stand listening to it, I love doing right-wing talk radio, especially when they let me take questions from callers. It’s challenging and fun, kind of like the passionate and informative threads we sometimes get on HA. Contrast that to one of my appearances on Dave Ross during the peak of the Horse’s Ass Initiative hoo-hah, when we couldn’t get a single caller to disagree with me. Booooring!
Besides, it’s kind of a can’t-lose situation. It’s not like a liberal politician or pundit has much of a chance of changing the minds of many KVI listeners… but as long as we’re there refuting the lies, we make it harder for the talking heads to whip the fomentation any foamier. Perhaps my last appearance on John Carlson — where I wonkishly stepped John through the polling place reconciliation process — wasn’t particularly exciting radio. But at least for half an hour, I was controlling the terms of the debate, not him.
In addition to taking on right-wing talk radio, we also need to do a better job of establishing alternative, liberal programming. Us bloggers on both sides of the political spectrum have an over-inflated sense of self-importance — talk radio is still dominating public opinion, not us. As much as I welcome the success of Air America and Ed Schultz on KPTK-1090, they need to start doing some local programming, developing liberal talent a little less sober, and far edgier than Dave Ross.
I volunteer for the 6am to 9am slot.