(By Chris Stigall) If you’ll indulge me, the talk radio industry deserves a huge pat on the back. Not just for entertainment value or commercial success for clients and sponsors. Not simply for being a service to local communities through information and charitable endeavors. Talk radio does all those things well, too. Today’s salute to my industry is far more important than any of those things.
Talk radio has unintentionally become a lonely, but powerful disinfecting light in the very dimly lit, if nonexistent world of American journalism.
Consider The Washington Post’s masthead slogan created ostensibly to signal their commitment to journalism in their distress over the election of Donald Trump. “Democracy Dies in the Darkness” they valiantly declare still today.
This is to suggest they are the source of light in what they believe is a new era of darkness ushered in by the Trump administration. But ask yourself, where’s the darkness found? Where are the waters muddy? Who possesses all the unencumbered power, limitless resources, and unquestioned authority in the United States in 2019?
It’s not Donald Trump. It’s those within the halls of government agencies like the Department of Justice and the mainstream news media who are supposed to cover them.
Six hundred seventy-four days, 25 million tax dollars, nearly three thousand subpoenas, and five hundred search warrants. By whom? Donald Trump?
No, it was the ironically named Department of Justice and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. All because of a positively absurd premise created by people who simply could not and still cannot abide the results of election 2016. Donald Trump had to have cheated to win, and he had to have had Russian help to do it.
There’s simply no need to rehash it all here. It’s over now. It was a fool’s errand with no underlying shred of evidence to back such claims from the start.
But where were the questioning voices during this abuse of power and totally fabricated circus? Not in any mainstream reporting I ever read. Rather, most media hopefully fanned the flames of “the next shoe to drop” or “the next Trump official to go to jail.” It was always covered as a hopeful outcome, never an investigation full of holes and lacking in evidence.
The questions raised, the objections defined, the reasoning debated, the absurdity explored occurred almost exclusively on your favorite talk radio shows.
There were a handful of journalists who were outstanding and fair — Gregg Jarrett, Byron York, Sheryl Attkisson, Mollie Hemingway, Sara Carter, and John Solomon to name a few. All of whom were regularly highlighted on talk radio shows like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, as well as local stations’ hosts like Larry O’Connor and if I may, my show — to name only two of hundreds of local hosts across the country.
Talk radio was at the forefront reminding audiences of the difference between someone going to jail for tax and bank fraud versus having a hand in treason. Talk radio stopped to ask just who are these “unnamed sources” claiming “explosive new claims” while mainstream media relentlessly hyperventilated, “Today was the bombshell to inevitably take down the Trump administration once and for all!”
Don’t forget all the hours and hours of former Washington power players who sat in cable news guest chairs each predicting the unmistakable, undeniable, unforgivable, unquestionable crimes they just knew Donald Trump and his campaign committed. They staked their reputations on their certainty of Donald Trump’s guilt.
Meanwhile talk radio sliced, diced, and parsed each of their claims. Instead, questioning just what all these bureaucrat-turned-cable pundits might have had to hide themselves while they pointed the finger at Trump shouting “GUILTY!”
Sohrab Ahmari, op-ed editor for the New York Post, penned a hilarious summary of just how embarrassing media behavior was throughout this entire ordeal featuring a March Madness parody bracket of media pundits who got it most wrong.
Perhaps most disgusting was the American news media’s total lack of scrutiny of some of the most flagrant abuses of government power we’ve ever seen. Entrapment, collusion between partisan, FBI philandering agents, a leaking FBI Director and underlings, knowingly false evidence used as a justification to spy on fellow citizens, and predawn home raids typically reserved for drug kingpins and murder suspects.
All of it ignored, if not breathlessly cheered by a hopeful mainstream press who just knew each abuse would finally land them their ultimate big fish — the President.
But in your speakers and streaming on your phones and in podcasts were the talk radio hosts of America who largely remained incredulous, questioning, and at times downright outraged at what passed for accepted mainstream news.
Never have we seen an episode in American journalism so disgusting and malignant. Never have we seen such abuses of powerful offices.
Never was there a time more important and consequential in American history for truth-seekers and fact-checkers to step forward and speak out. Talk radio answered that call in a big way.
I’ve got news for The Washington Post. You are the darkness. Talk radio is the light.
Chris Stigall is a talk radio host in Philadelphia. Email him at [email protected]