Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ranting Ahead: New Media and the End of the Radio Juggernauts

Warning: The following is an extended personal rant with only cursory news content. Read on with this in mind, if at all.

"[Blogging is] absolutely bad for the culture." - Sean Hannity

A huge part of my coming of age in my teenage years was my gradual awareness of ambiguity in the world. For the same reason that I had latched onto obnoxious, unlistenable bands in the first few years that I began to listen to music, I had become a fan of talk radio, specifically Sean Hannity. I thought that I was getting into politics, into something important and exciting, but in my desire to understand the world quickly I was drawn into nothing more than a High School football rivalry.

As I began to notice inconsistencies in Hannity's statements, I began to consider my own thought processes. Watching him attack his enemies for relatively minor improprieties while letting his friends consistently off the hook, I began to understand the mind of Hannity - the role of that oh-so-subtle level of making and applying labels that drive all of his thinking. Becoming a repeat victim of the moderator-driven fascism at his vapid web forum was the last draw.

Today, my roommates make fun of my irrational dislike for Hannity. I feel that his consistent assaults on rational thought have done more to weaken America than any of the leftist politicians he trashes. To be fair, he's probably the worst offender in his field. This has nothing to do with politics - I have a high tolerance for other right-wing radio figures, ones who consider issues and facts and form opinions in that order. None of these have a perfect track record - some of them get irrational from time to time - but perfection is an impossible standard. At least they're trying. I'd rather have somebody disagree with me for the right reasons than perpetuate ignorance.

Enough ranting - on to the point. Sean Hannity and his ilk can only survive in an informational vacuum. As information and, above all, proper context become readily available, reasoned debate should flourish and only those with something to say will remain viable in the market. This isn't to imply that Hannity will fail entirely; he's thinking for far too many people who understand the world the way that I thought I did five years ago.

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