It's an inconsequential book. There's no new information, and it neither asks new questions; nor anything of its readers. (Plus, there are no pictures, always a disappointment in a geezerly book about radio).
It's Censorship, The Threat to Silence Talk Radio by Brian Jennings and we waited until we could get it new at Amazon for $5.52. (Advice: don't pay retail for this dog!)
If it was so bad, why did we buy it, and read it? As always so you wouldn't have to, but also because Jennings has got himself on talk shows all over the country giving him and his book way more attention and credibility than they deserve.
Jennings, 63, is a programmer and consultant whose radio career has spanned decades; there's no doubt he's heading for the barn. But before he settles into the slowed-down movement of stool softeners and the regaling of the young about The Glorious Land of Usta, (there's plenty of that, here) he's written that book he's always wanted to write.
The difference between Brian Jennings and the rest of us who'd like to write a book nightcapping our lives and thanking everybody involved is that Brian Jennings got his published by a real publisher. This despite he's
a) unknown outside the radio miniverse (and a bit of a has-been at that)
b) there's no new information in his book!
Censorship is a poorly-edited collection of moldy conservative talk radio talking points drably written. It would, if written by a liberal, be self-published, but right-wing publishing has, er, different standards than does the rest of publishing...
Granted, Jennings has left a mark on radio that's bigger than the average radio moke's. He's credited with inventing the all-conservative AM radio format, (at Seattle's KVI) and for discovering such radio talent as Michael Reagan, Alan Colmes, Floyd Brown, Lars Larson, "Bra-strap" Bill Cooter, John Carlson, Kirby Wilbur, Juan "Lumpy" Impetigo, and Dori Monson.
(photo: Brian Jennings)
Censorship is the world according to Rush and Sean, Glenn and Laura. You know: liberals, despite America is "a center-right nation, and that they're loopy, stupid, and morally craven, control everything. They want to appease the terrorists (read Moslems); tear down the borders and turn all the child molesters loose. They hate freedom, Christianity, and free markets.
The only thing between America and utter chaos is talk radio which they're trying to shut down.
They own the rest of media including the networks, newspapers, the Internet, CNN, NPR and are (angrily, desperately) trying to "muzzle" talk radio using back-door tactics and tyrannical government agencies like the FCC to quash all free speech except pornography which they want to put in your neighborhood library.
Libs hope to achieve this through the re-adoption of the "Fairness Doctrine," a long-outdated FCC regulation that was dropped in the 1980's.
Jennings sets up the straw man and ploddingly knocks it down over and over. No matter that no one with any power or influence on the left favors reinstating it or has made any serious effort to do so. The Fairness Doctrine as an issue was trotted out by Rush in the 2008 election as an anti-Obama scare tactic and to let talk hosts led to claim First Amendment martyrdom. It had blown over by the time this book was released, yet Jennings is still getting on the air, and speaking at conservative confabs.
Jennings doesn't have to press his case with fancy arguments or literary flourishes, he knows to whom he's preaching, and what they want to hear. He got interviews from Larson, Reagan, John Carlson, Colmes, and Michael Medved; the rest of the research is in (email) "statements," the google, and Wikipedia.
So how does this guy nobody's ever heard of, typing Rush Limbaugh's lines from 1998, get a book deal?
First, the book was published by Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster's conservative imprint of which former Republican operative Mary Matalin is chief editor. They publish Hannity, Glennn Beck, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and such books as The Obama Nation, Jerome Corsi's attempt to smear Obama in 2008. He's the guy paid by Republican operatives to write the swift-boat book so devastating to John Kerry in 2004 (Threshold is owned, btw, by CBS).
(Ever wonder why some right-wing books shoot to the top of the NYT bestseller lists so quickly? It's because activist groups- conservative book clubs, institutes, think-tanks, Republican Party divisions buy-up conservative books usually published by Threshold) by the case, and hand them out for free, send them to the troops, or just stack them in a corner. Corsi's book was a much-discredited, partisan hatchet job, like many on both sides of the political spectrum, but by strategic bulk-buying it onto the best-seller list, the right created the perception that it was credible, and got Corsi access to mainstream media. It worked in the 2004 election, inot so much in 2008. Bulk sales account for the sales successes of such authors as Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck, Newt
Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Dick Morris, and others)
Censorship's marketability was judged not by its content but by the slobbering name-dropping and endorsements of name-brand conservative talk hosts. Sean Hannity wrote the introduction; there are jacket blurbs by Rush, Mark Levin, Michael Reagan, Alan Colmes, and Lars Larson.
The book is riddled with call-letters, names and quotes by local station managers, and program directors. It's filled with name-mentioned industry network poobahs, talk hosts, and producers: not to mention radio-insider pundits like Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine, and NTS's Al Peterson.
Yes, larding the text with tedious name-dropping ensures that the book will be boring, but also that Jennings will get on the radio all over the country! In this, his last professional gasp, Jennings calls in the chips he's had out all these years. He appeared on Rush and Hannity, Dori Monson, Alan Colmes, and many, many others.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Jennings book was bought in bulk by anyone --nor did his many pimp-out appearances sell the book. It's rankings are so low they don't show up on any sales rankings. The Amazon selling price sank down to single digits within a month or two.