Looking for the Left’s Limbaugh

Looking for the Left’s Limbaugh

The right dominates talk radio; the left has been singularly unsuccessful in this medium. Does it have to be that way? Rush Limbaugh is on the radio three hours a day (noon to three in the Eastern Time zone), five days a week, on 648 stations with an estimated audience of twenty million people who hear him at least once a week; he claims that more than four million are listening at any given moment. Most of Limbaugh’s listeners are white males—aggressive and resentful. His raucous, loudmouthed, bullying style expresses their anger and gives form to their inchoate resentments: the source of their problems is not insecurity about their future in a precarious job market—it is Hillary Clinton and the dopesmoking, counterculture-infested liberal press. He manages to make this unlikely argument sound convincing by mobilizing the magic of the medium, a task the left has somehow failed to master.

Listening to Rush in December, I found that male bonding occupies a significant place on his program. One Monday morning Rush began the show, “Hey, how about those Pittsburgh Steelers? . . . I haven’t been this up in ten years, other than my wedding day.”

...