In the United States, the radio airwaves are saturated with conservative talk shows the world

In headphones and Chihuahua kneeling, Jeff Katz leans into the microphone and delivers a speech over the airwaves that contrasts with the cozy atmosphere of his studio: Joe Biden and the Democrats are destroying America.

“I don’t like him,” the 59-year-old host tells his Newsradio WRVA listeners from a memorabilia-decorated studio at his home in Ashland, Virginia. “He brought a bunch of crooks into the White House. He’s a bad guy.”

Like Jeff Katz, many conservative commentators, some very famous, saturate the airwaves in the US with thousands of shows aimed at primarily male, white and older audiences. On nearly 1,500 conservative radio stations, anger is generally at full blast, for example against 80-year-old Joe Biden’s “cognitive decline.” In recent years, they’ve fed millions of listeners conspiracy theories about Barack Obama, school shootings or vaccines. In doing so, they pushed far-right themes and aided the emergence of Donald Trump.

On air, the former president’s legal troubles are often brushed aside, and critics who portray him as a threat to democracy are attacked. On Sean Hannity’s radio show, the most-listened-to show in the US with 16 million weekly listeners, the 2020 presidential election was often falsely described as rigged, rigged or rigged. This is the case in 35 out of 45 chapters based on a university study taken by the New York Times in 2021.

Your populist

“Trump is the Republicans’ choice, hands down”, to face outgoing Joe Biden in November 2024, Jeff Katz told AFP. According to him, Trump’s popularity rose because he was able to adopt the populist tone of the talk shows and, like them, abandon the traditional Republican agenda.

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In 2007, conservative radio stations played a role in abandoning immigration reform crafted by Republican public servants. Historian Paul Matsko sees the “manifestation” of a form of racial nationalism in American politics. Mr. According to Matsko, Trump used this ideology to dominate the political scene and airwaves.

Dom Giordano, 74, the oldest radio host in Philadelphia, said Mr. He assured AFP that he found “many” elements of conservative broadcasting in Trump’s comments. Like millions of others who tune in to Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin or Dana Loesch, his listeners unquestioningly support the shy billionaire. Now, Trump’s name is mentioned on these airwaves — and not always jokingly — to replace House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was impeached this week by the Trumpist fringe of his party’s Republican Party. This is technically possible but highly unlikely.

“Entertainment”

The fury that seeps through these channels sometimes flirts with spectacle. “We entertain,” admits Jeff Katz. According to him, insults — for example, Joe Biden described by Glenn Beck as a “vegetable with legs” — are the result of overflowing “curiosity.” Wendy Yohman of Virginia appreciates this gruff tone. Conservatives, he says, “have been too docile and not aggressive enough for too long.” “They’re tired of playing well.”

The reformation of the airwaves in 1987 opened the floodgates for these shows, with Rush Limbaugh as a pioneer, a former disc jockey who became a master of the art of political grandstanding. He paved the way for far-right views by challenging the Public Radio Network (NPR), which was classified as too progressive. He was decorated by Trump shortly before his death in 2021. “The influence of conservative presenters is too great”, judges Michael Harrison of the specialist magazine Dockers. According to this release, the top ten radio talk shows today are branded at right.

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For Brian Rosenwald, author of “Talk Radio’s America,” the disappearance of the left in radio can be explained by the fact that “subtlety and compromise do not make good radio.” In the 2000s, progressives launched the left-wing Air America network. Humorous and lame, he doesn’t know how to find the right tone. He lived for six years.

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