You turn the AM on and there's Rush, or Savage, or another of the army of right-wing radio talk show hosts. You may not be listening hard, just working, driving, doing busywork or the laundry. Yet if you listen day after day, year after year, your brain will begin to change.
Words, even those heard casually and listened to incidentally, activate frames - structures of ideas that are physically realized in the brain. The more the words are heard, the more the frames are activated in the brain, and stronger their synapses get - until the frames are there permanently.
All this is normal. It is how words work. And the right-wing message machine has found a way to take advantage of it - activating, as it were, a conservative system of thought.
The problem is, those thoughts on the radio are hate city. Savage rails against what he calls "the weakening of the military" by "affirmative action," "illegal immigrants," and "Marxist politicians." What proves it? The submarine accident in the Gulf of Hormuz.
Tune in to Rush. On the one hand he's pitching "rugged individualism," "liberty," and the absolute free market against Obama's call to unity and a sense of national responsibility.
Then he's hammering the AIG bailout and its bonuses, not mentioning that it was the conservative destruction of reasonable regulation that lay behind our economic disaster.
One diatribe after another, the crucial facts left out or lied about, day after day, city after city. It has an effect.
Where are the progressives? Largely absent. Or talking issue by issue, not about general themes. We have some icons: Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert.
But they only talk to us. They are not omnipresent.Hahahahahahaha!!!!!
Can President Obama overcome all this? He is by far the best communicator in politics today. But what we get of him are sound bites, an occasional major address, and a five-minute talk Saturdays on You Tube. Meanwhile, the reporting in the media is about positions on issues, not about general principles that get repeated.