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Shock Jocks

The implications of the Imus shock-jock scandal are real: if you drum up pro-war or anti-immigration mass hysteria or falsely imply the Clintons in various scandals, you win ratings and interviews with elected Bush officials.  If, on the other hand, you make  colorful insulting talk against a recognizable minority group, then no punishment is too severe.

I’ve never enjoyed these shock jock radio stations, but to single out this one borders on the ridiculous. Part of the problem is that these shock jocks don’t really prepare anything but just “wing it” in response to listener calls. Sometimes their “shift” runs several hours. That cannot be healthy. Nobody can be entertaining or insightful for this long, except perhaps for subject matter experts (See Frasier). Contrast this with Cspan’s radio talk show, which provides a lot of unfiltered telephone calls, with the announcer correcting only the most egregious misstatements. When a person is speaking that long, he can no longer keep up with current events; he can only keep up with his listeners.

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