One of the most disturbing trends in politics and radio was exposed in 2011. First there was the Goldline fraud case, involving the skeezy gold-selling company promoted by nearly every conservative talker. Then there was the following: Beware ditto-heads, those opinions spewed by your favorite right-wing spewmaster may have beeen bought & paid for...
(photo: Sean Hannity bumps it with a trumpet)
Period. It's the money, baby, not the Star Spangled Banner or family values. So if you still think your favorite firebranding, liberty-loving, uber-patriotic talk host does what he or she does, says what he or she says, out of pure love of god, country, and the American way, you're just a dittohead.
Politico reports that top national radio talkers are being paid million$, literally, for right-wing activist lobbying groups whose messages are not only carried in ad copy, but also swirled into show content with only occasional or casual mentions that their messages are bought and paid for by these sponsors.
(photo: Laura Ingraham got dumped)
Freedom Works, is working hard against front-runner Mitt Romney... and guess what? so is Glenn Beck, who got around $1.4 million from the well-financed Republican phony grassroots "tea-party" front guided by Dick Armey.
Mark LeVin (say it the French way, accented on the 2nd syllable, leh VIN, except mispronounce the 'vin' part to rhyme with 'sin') gets 1.2 million for his sponsorship of Americans For Prosperity, a Koch Brothers-funded astroturf tea party organization.
Levin, whose endorsement deal with the tea party organizing group Americans for Prosperity started last summer, was similarly protective of his sponsor last year after President Barack Obama singled out the group in making the case that anonymously funded attack ads were distorting the midterm elections.
“Americans for Prosperity is a magnificent organization that people join voluntarily. You. Me,” Levin said on his syndicated radio show. Obama, Levin continued, “wants you to hate Americans for Prosperity. So if he wants you to hate it, then you should embrace it, and promote it, and support it and join it, because it’s effective.”
The Heritage Foundation, the grand-daddy conservative bullshit delivery system started this in 2008 by buying-up Laura Ingraham. But they dropped her like an old girlfriend when given the opportunity to pay Rush Limbaugh $2 million and Hannity $1.3 a year to plug membership drives, and defend the well-financed foundation when it's feeling persecuted (which is most of the time).
(Beck and many other conservative talkers have long been integrating their sponsors' messages into their "entertainment" with their 1-2 punch selling gold at incredibly inflated prices. First he predicts a dog-eat-dog Mad Max world after a collapse of the US financial system, (coming any dy, now) then pitches Goldline products as a hedge strategy. Dittoheads are some of the most gullible people in the world, loyal to a fault and willing to believe anything these on-air hucksters sell, whether it's their loopy politics or gold retailed at prices as much as 5-10X the cost on the real market).
It's working and working real good.
Heritage estimates that it in each of the past two years, its sponsorships with Limbaugh and Hannity brought in more than 40,000 new memberships starting at the $25 level, while FreedomWorks said that in the three months after its Beck sponsorship started in April 2010, the group saw a huge spike in traffic to its website (which featured a photo of Beck linked to a fundraising appeal), resulting in 50,000 new email sign-ups.
There's nothing illegal about this, although old broadcast ethics have been flushed ignominiously down the golden executive toilets of these values-thumping whores.
“I wish more of the grassroots knew the reality that this wasn’t Rush or Sean or Beck saying these things out of the goodness of their hearts,” said the leader of one [conservative] group who inquired about ads on various radio shows, but decided they were both too expensive and ethically suspect. “If the grassroots found out that these guys were getting paid seven figures a year to say this stuff, it might leave a bad taste in their mouth.”
Dittoheads manipulated and their loyalty exploited? Nothing new there, but we think such partisan political activism that's bought and paid for should be daylighted like other political advertising.
There is nothing like this on the left. Liberals have this thing about corporate masters and the First Amendment. If it were ever revealed that, say Randi Rhodes or Thom Hartmann were being paid to mix corporate or political sponsors' messaging into their show content, there hell paid would be a career-ending event.
“The point that people don’t realize,” said Michael Harrison, founder and publisher of the talk radio trade publication TALKERS Magazine, “is that (big time political talk show hosts) are radio personalities – they are in the same business that people like Casey Kasem are in – and what they do is no different than people who broadcast from used car lots or restaurants or who endorse the local roofer or gardener.”
The radio-consuming, dittoheaded, conservative basemen don't seem to care: with blind trust they eat what's fed to them... and shell out their bucks and assume the positions as directed.
Watch out for more of this in the election cycle as wingers buy more and more of your favorite talk-jock's time between commercials.
Dittoheads deserve to be suckered, but the rest of us must work hard to stop these messages from slopping over to pollute the mains