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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, December 27, 2004


Media for Purple Folk?

posted by Chris Karr at Monday, December 27, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
In my previous post, I did a quick and shallow review of conservative talk radio as I left Chicago for the holidays. As an update to that post, I should probably concede that I was harder on Michael Medved than I should have been. I caught another show before turning in the rental car and enjoyed it immensely. He was discussing Iraq with an intellectual who was calling for the United States to withdraw from the Middle East and provide massive reparations to the Iraqi people for "breaking their country". Despite the wide ideological gulf between Medved and the professor, he was civil and asked some good pointed questions. The professor was a much better guest than the guest on the previous show I complained about and was able (IMHO) to explain and defend his position relatively well. I was enjoying the show immensely and I was disappointed that I had to have the car back to Hertz before the show was finished.

For purple staters, I'd recommend Medved on this basis. I felt like I received a good look at both sides of the issues without all the snark or insults. Does anyone have any similar recommendations for talk show hosts (radio and otherwise) that would appeal to people interested in the merits of the debate and not who can scream louder?


Actually, I admit to greatly enjoying Michael Savage. I know he can be a total buffoon at times, but at others he is a fascinating and even stimulating host. And truth be told, despite his hyper-conservative take on it, his main point about "borders, language, culture" is an important one. I interpret it as advice to an immigrant communityt in preserving their culture while remaining fully engaged and assimilated into their host nation rather than as a defensive nationalistic posture the way he does, but it certainly is touching on something universal with respect to how we humans define our communities.

If youre willing to overlook his fits and bouts of insanity, Savage can be a very enjoyable listen.


Savage lost me when he started heaping the blame for killing cops at the feet of Comcast. His rationale went something like this: A kid kills a cop. The kid was listening to rap. The kid found the rap on cable. The cable service was provided by Comcast. Thus Comcast is complicit enough in the murder of the cop that Savage rapped about it. If this sounds bizarre, then you have the gist of his show that time.

The thing was so odd, I was wondering if Savage really thought that Comcast created dead cops or if he was still bitter at the whole cable enterprise after he had been canned from MSNBC.


agreed, that would fit into the "insanity" I mentioned. I am NOT defending Savage, Im just saying he sometimes can be articulate in between fits of raving lunacy. And those articulate moments are quite compelling at times.


What irritates me about Savage is he'll say a few reasonable things, then he'll start congratulating himself on how smart he is. It's even worse when he says something that he thinks is funny (and which is really, really not), then start talking about how funny he is. Ugh. There's nothing worse than listening to a guy with no sense of humor who thinks he really has one. Another annoying quirk is his constantly saying "in my opinion". Duh! Of course it's his opinion. It's a freaking opinion show.

Chris, I commented earlier to you at Redstate about Medved. I do believe he is the best in the business. In his early days, he was a Yalie Democrat, supporter of McGovern and law school classmate with Bill & Hillary Clinton, then over the years evolved to his current conservative status. He's one of the most knowledgeable on talk radio.

Hugh Hewitt is also pretty good. For one thing, he's totally bought into the blogosphere and he has many blogospheric guests such as Josh Marshall, James Lileks, Powerline, Bainbridge etc. He also has other pretty good guests such as Kondracke & Barnes, Rosett, Peter Beinart and others.

I haven't listened to any left-of-center radio folks, except for some local shows, although it's rumored that Air America is somewhere in the Seattle area.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.