Friday, January 08, 2010

Deprogramming Takes A While

Growing up in my teens and early twenties with a steady, daily immersion in Rush Limbaugh gave me a definitive bias against NPR. I was told it was leftist, biased, liberal, etc. I had never even listened to it, but I would roll my eyes if I heard anything positive about National Public Radio. The very words NATIONAL and PUBLIC were dead giveaways to its deprivation.

What is interesting is that this bias remained with me even throughout the moderation of my politics, philosophy, and religion. I continued to listen to Right-Wing talk on the radio, because there just wasn't anything else to listen to.

Over time though, and with the ease of technology, I started to listen to lectures and books in the car that I had burnt to CD. I was unknowingly de-toxing from AM talk radio. On occasion, when I tuned back to Rush, Hannity, or Beck.... I started to notice how BORING they were. They repeated the same thing, endlessly, over and over. I would switch over to another station and come back 15 minutes later only to find they were STILL ranting about the same thing.

It was during one of these times over the past two years that I clicked over to NPR. They were discussing the struggles of the Mexican towns along the US boarder. Drug cartels practically own these cities and the violence and corruption there was pitiful to hear about. Over the next hour, I heard statements made by our Secretary of State in France, a story on Islamic and Christian relations in various middle-eastern countries, and a piece on issues presently being looked at in the British Parliament.

I had a strange feeling as I stepped out of the car. It wasn't a feeling I usually got when I listened to AM radio. I felt..... educated!

I hadn't expected this from NPR. Why did conservatives hate it so much? I continued to listen. When issues were addressed, there didn't seem to be any bias. If the president spoke, or an issue was presented, you heard from supporters and detractors. Where was the bias?

I did an experiment. I tuned to AM talk radio every 10 minutes and listened for 30 seconds. What I found was that there is actually very little said about conservative politics. What you get is a steady stream of Left bashing and ridicule.

I discovered why NPR is thought to be liberal by dittoheads- because NPR does not bash the Left. For an AM talk listener (who hears a steady stream of Left bashing), a Left-leaning view, presented side by side with a Right-leaning view in a calm manner, would sound PRO-Left. It is like stepping into a tepid swimming pool after being in the hot tub for twenty minutes..... it feels like it is freezing!

I am happy to say that, having purged the rancid rhetoric of Right radio, I can now enjoy and be educated by NPR.


Anonymous said...

Even in my right win days I enjoyed listening to NPR. While they certainly leaned to the left.......they usually stuck to the facts. No shrill show hosts. Calm, levelheaded discussion.

a former dittohead

Cody Stauffer said...

I still on occasion listen to Beck, Hannity, and Rush, but mostly just to get a little frustration back in my diet and to get my hackles raised a bit. Can't be too calm all the time.

Oh, and NPR and right-wing tirade-io is all Idaho gets beside country, rap, and mariachi/polka stuff

Steve H. said...

Can't disagree...good post

Redlefty said...

Any radio station that wastes time on France clearly has strong liberal bias!

OneSmallStep said...

**AM talk radio every 10 minutes and listened for 30 seconds. What I found was that there is actually very little said about conservative politics. What you get is a steady stream of Left bashing and ridicule.**

I find it is incredibly easy to judge people based on their political affiliations, or religious affiliations, or their social stances, or even where they get their news from. Case in point, Rush, Hannity or Beck.

I can understand a conservative disagreeing with a liberal, and vice versa. It's easy to understand when the disagreement is explained in a factual basis, without bringing the character of the person into it.

But Rush and company, in everything I've seen, do come across as incredibly mean-spirited, and despite my best efforts, it does lead me to question ... well, almost the character of those who listen to it. They're deliberately exposing themselves to a lot of almost hate and anger, and see absolutely no problem with that. They might not even see the hate/anger themselves. But you can't tell me that constant expose to rhetoric like that doesn't do something to you. That it doesn't affect how you treat people, or feel about people. That it doesn't affect your character or morals.

And that's why I have a really hard time not judging those whose only source of news is someone like Rush.

Tit for Tat said...

Stupid is, what stupid does. Glad you educated yourself. ;)

Don said...

My wife was a regular listener for years. Took a new job which didn't allow much time to listen at work. I complimented her on that. Changed jobs again. Now has the time, and is listening again. Anytime anything that smells of liberals is on TV, she goes into a tirade and tells me what Rush, Sean, and others said. OneSmallStep, are exactly right.

Stephen Hollingshead said...

I sometimes enjoy NPR. Mostly I like the calm, matter-of-fact tone. But it is CERTAINLY biased to the left. I'm surprised you can't hear that.

Why on earth should there be government funding for this network? We are BORROWING money to inject into this enterprise. Let those who want to listen to it pay for it, either through listening to advertising or through direct contributions, or whatever.

Andrew said...

Perhaps it is my years of Rush de-sensitizing, but I believed NPR was left-wing biased. I thought, in other words, that I would turn on NPR and hear the left version of Sean Hannity or Glen Beck. That I would hear a steady stream of how insane the Right is and how wonderful liberalism is. I was caught off guard when I heard none of that.

Steve H. said...

I have to post even though I posted back in Jan. but I feel the same way. I love NPR and used to think it was "National Pagan Radio" in my more shrill younger days. I think one of the reasons I like the Daily Show and Stewart is he is no respecter of persons, he'll make fun of ANYONE...right or left

Steve said...

We get it, Andy. You are enlightened and open minded. Congratulations. Yet, it is odd how you seem to think that the world is merely divided into Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck people verses NPR people. Perhaps there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamt of in your philosophy. But you'll appreciate that I left Hell out of that brief enumeration.

Andrew said...

Steve B- Somehow you translate my telling of a personal experience to my dividing the "world". You continue to create words and motivations for me. You bring a lot of baggage into conversations.

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