1. Before a brief appearance on local AM radio regarding the presidential primaries, the hosts told me a very interesting tidbit. This station has both Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh (syndicated, obviously, not live in studio) and loses money on both of them. Limbaugh in particular is poison to local advertisers, who specifically ask that their ads not run during his show.
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I asked, quite logically I thought, why the station maintains this arrangement if it actively loses money. Turns out that it is a defensive strategy, essentially, to prevent any other competing station in the broadcasting area from getting Beck or Limbaugh and using them as an anchor to establish a presence. Advertisers don't like them but they both continue to draw an audience (with an average age of about 70, they said off the cuff) and having them in syndication is more about denying that potential audience to other stations than it is about Beck/Limbaugh raking in dough. This is anecdotal; I wonder how widespread this arrangement of spite is among the many stations that carry these turds.

2. Conspiracy theory time. Is it possible that Donald Trump is actively trying to get himself out of the GOP nomination process at this point? His ego is so massive that I can't imagine how he will spin losing, if and when he does lose. The ideal scenario for him, it seems, is to get out before much if any actual voting takes place so he can claim essentially, "They didn't fire me; I quit." He seems like the willingness of his supporters to take anything he says in stride no matter how insane surprises even him. There isn't much room left in the neo-Bircher issue spectrum that he hasn't covered.
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Other than embracing explicit antisemitism or shouting the n-word during a live TV appearance I don't know what else he can do to try to offend people and actually succeed at this point. This theory is probably bunk but I see him as a petulant child with a short attention span who probably got into this race solely to draw attention to himself and now faces the challenge of finding a graceful exit given that he is losing interest and previously thought it impossible that he would do as well as he is polling given how asinine his entire persona and campaign are.


  • I don't believe that conspiracy theory, because if Trump wanted to end his campaign he could do so by simply hugging Obama or kissing Hillary.

    I prefer the theory that HRC is paying Trump to run a campaign so she looks good by comparison. Paying with what, it's never said, but maybe it's in Bitcoins or the secret Illuminati currency (y'know, the ones with the eye pyramids on it).

  • I agree that Trump has been TRYING to alienate his supporters- and it hasn't been working. I think he can't fucking believe it. But as time goes on, it's feeding his ego and making him think he's going to get to be dictator.

    Wall Street might ASSASSINATE Bernie, they want Hillary so bad now.

  • Rush is 65 himself, you'd expect his audience to track him right into the grave. But he's a symptom of the disease, not the cause.

  • I can well believe the Beck/Limbaugh crowd is in their 70s. My father, who is in his 70s, adores both of them and quotes them frequently. His contemporaries seem to be similarly minded. He's been following talk radio for about 20 years now.

    As for Donald Trump, even if he did scream "ni**er" in a debate or voice antisemitism, he'd only be echoing what's going on in the heads of his followers. It's a fine piece of cognitive dissonance that the evangelicals luuuuuv them some Israel, but hate them some Jewish people.

  • Re: Israel, the evangelicals _really_ don't want those mooslims controlling the Holy Land so Israelis are the lesser of two weevils.

  • If there's no Israeli state, Father God and King Jesus can't jizz Armageddon all over the world. Same reason ISIS wants American troops in Northern Syria.

  • I remember reading that in the case of Limbaugh, at least, the show was offered in syndication using "loss leader" tactics, so your anecdotal evidence probably has merit, especially considering that Limbaugh's been doing it for so long. Loss leader tactics can backfire.

  • If Trump wants out, he's going to have to fake a heart attack. At this point there isn't anything he could say or do that would alienate his supporters.

  • The current debate boycott, it seems to me, is fairly slick tactics on Trump's part. He has almost nothing to gain at this point, particularly in Iowa or New Hampshire, and plenty to lose if some opponent gets in a good blow. The Rude Pundit has a nice theory as well, by the way.

  • This theory is probably bunk. Yes…

    'well as he is polling given how asinine his entire persona and campaign are.' OR
    'he continues to poll which shows how effective he continues to run his campaign'?
    I think you might be missing something important?

    Interesting on the limpballs thing. thanks for sharing that. I have often wondered if there was profit in it for local stations. I understand the dynamic more.

  • @ Fiddlin Bill

    The only "opponent" Trump needs to be wary of is Fox News. You're right. He has nothing to gain, and why would anyone subject themselves to whatever Fox has up its sleeve. Were I Trump, I would worry less about the other buffoons. They haven't been affecting so far and they have more to lose by spending their time attacking him instead of promoting themselves. Fox is carrying water for the one percenters who want Trump gone.

  • In defense of Boomers:
    The anti-war and Civil Rights movements split the Boomer generation in two.
    Half the remainder follow Beck/Limbaugh.

    Betcha the "strategy" claim is bunk. If local advertisers won't pay, no other station would pick 'em up. The truth is that the station ownership supports Beck/Limbaugh.

  • @Jestbill:

    I can totally see a radio station keeping the talking clowns as a way of preserving marketshare. While advertisers may not like Limbaugh, they aren't going to buy ads if the station lost the audience that listens to Rush/Glenn Beck. Those people aren't going to turn back the dial to listen to whatever other programs the station has that make them money, so keeping marketshare by losing money on Rush keeps the audience tuned in. Plus if they dropped him at this point, people would whine about "PC media libtards" and wouldn't listen to the station at all. The Rush and Glenn Beck people know they have radio stations over the barrel and charge accordingly.

  • Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the other big right-wing talk radio hosts don't have to worry all that much about advertisers because they're heavily subsidized by conservative think-tanks and pressure groups – FreedomWorks, the Koch's Americans for Prosperity, and the like. That's what protected Limbaugh when a slew of sponsors dropped him after his attacks on Sandra Fluke; at the time, his real sponsor was the Heritage Foundation.

    (Apologies for the link to Politico, but here's a fairly recent survey: )

  • Why does anyone run for president except that they're a megalomaniac? It's a really horrible job. I wouldn't want it at all. Yes, there are perks, but you are really a prisoner of the system. And it's the system in the US that's poisonous. Anyone who thinks the president is his own person is sadly mistaken.

    Remember when Obama was having a White House event shortly after he took office, and two people who were not on the guest list got close enough to him and Michelle to shake their hands? That happened twice. That was no accident. That was a way of the PTB telling him "Yeah, we can do that. The next time, they may not be nice people. Now, pay attention." (I've been to a White House function — pre-Obama — and you are checked, checked, and checked again before you get in the door. You just don't get off the bus and stroll in.)

    I'm sure no one but Trump knows exactly why he's running. He may have done it at first as a vanity thing, as many people do, but he's caught fire and may have started thinking he can do it.

    I know everyone is supposed to hate him, but step back and look at it from an outsider's point of view. How is he any different than any of the other buffoons in the GOP race. They're all misogynist, racist, homophobes — and the others are religious nuts to boot. Trump says in plain speech and unambiguously what they all say in private or in code words and dog whistles. People like plain speech — even when it's wrong. How do you think Reagan became a patron saint of the GOP?

    The supposition that all Republicans will vote Dem or stay home if Trump is the nominee is wishful thinking. "The base" will be motivated by the same scare tactics that the Dems use to promote their faulty candidate. "If you don't vote, that's the same as a vote for Hillary (or "that Communist")." "Do you really want Hillary Clinton naming five justices to the Supreme Court? She's already said she would name Obama to the court. Do you want a Muslim socialist on the court? It's the Supreme Court, stupid."

    I'm not saying Trump would win, but I don't think we can make any assumptions about voter turnout. They, like the Dems, will be told to "hold your nose and vote" for the good of the country. Lesser of two evils and all that. That works both ways.

    Also, if Trump is the nominee, then voter suppression by the GOP will kick into high gear, as will voting machine tampering.

    However, if it's Trump vs. Hillary, then it's a safe bet Hillary will win — if for no other reason than that she's already bought and paid for by Wall Street. And one thing you can say about Hillary is that once she's bought, she stays bought.

    Trump is an uncertainty in that regard, and if there's one thing the market hates it's uncertainty. Dole out a smidgen of uncertainty in the morning news, and the market will plunge like an elevator whose rubber band has snapped.

    The problem for the GOP is that Trump has so much traction at this point — and the other candidates are so lackluster, failing a white knight (which the unfortunate Jeb was supposed to be) the nomination may be a slam-dunk for Trump.

    And every time you try to apply rational thought to this, just remember the immortal words of HL Mencken, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

  • This theory is probably bunk but I see him as a petulant child with a short attention span who probably got into this race solely to draw attention to himself and now faces the challenge of finding a graceful exit

    The major hole I see in this theory is the idea that Trump would think he needs a "graceful" anything.

    Honestly I think Trump is in it for the ego. He's basically a rich spoiled teenager who has never been told no trapped in an adult body. He's on a giant ego trip now – I think his "boycott" of the debate tomorrow is an ego-fueled powerplay against Fox news. I suspect that he's trying to get Fox to buckle under, fire Megyn Kelly and grovel for his apology.

    It will be interesting to see what happens if Trump is a no show and ratings are down for the debate. I suspect Trump will use that to call Fox News a buncha losers and Kelly might end up losing her job. I'm honestly a bit surprised that Ailes hasn't taken Kelly off the moderator list and guaranteed Trump at least one sympathetic moderator – maybe Hannity or Scarborough.

  • Quite likely the radio station you appeared on is an iHeartMedia station, formerly Clear Channel, the radio mega-network which swallowed up a large number of radio (and tv) stations in the late '90s and '00s across the country in the wake of the 1996 Telecommunications Act's (thanks Bill!!) loosening of ownership restrictions on media outlets. Clear Channel was taken private in 2008 by none other than Bain Capital (thanks Mitt!!), changing their name to iHeart Media in 2014. They currently own approx. 850 AM and FM stations across the country. Point being, iHM does not particularly care about an individual station's ad revenue if they can sell guaranteed nationally broadcast advertising to large sponsors. They (iHM) are surely more interested in market share and corporate revenue than the amount a subsidiary makes in local advertising on a certain show. I think the answer to your "how widespread is this" question is, "very".

  • @nonynony — Rating are already down for Fox — in the sense that ad rates for the "debate" are plunging. My question still remains — what does Trump have to gain by going on the show.

    You go on these for several reasons. It's not a constitutional requirement.

    1. Face time in front of the public — Trump doesn't need that.
    2. Get your message out — Trump is doing just fine without Fox.
    3. Clarify your positions — Fox won't let him do that. It will be all ambush from the get go.

    Since he doesn't need Fox, why would he subject himself to their nonsense? He has absolutely nothing to gain. Besides, he's holding his own event a few miles away to raise money for veterans. The remains of the Fox "debate" will resemble nothing more than an in-patient therapy group with no facilitator. Guess which event will get more coverage and a bigger audience.

    The whole "Trump is a coward. If he can't face Megan Kelly, how can he face Putin, etc." meme was started by Fox after a memo from Roger Ailes — and against the advice of his staff. It's amusing to see so many people on the left "catapulting" Fox propaganda.

  • Thankfully my 77 year old father has never developed an interest in Rush or talk radio.

    He's actually pretty liberal, especially for his age. I'd describe him as what they used to call a "law and order Democrat".

  • Interesting you juxtapose Rush and Trump. If you read interviews with Limbaugh early in his career, he knew that a lot of what he said was BS, but there was a huge untapped market for it, and he rode the wave until he got carried away and believed it himself. Same thing could be going on with Trump: He started this as a bid for attention and a few laughs, but with all the adulation he's bought in to his own BS. He may get cold feet yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to go all the way.

  • Remember Ann Romney's revelation about plutocrats taking turns to be President?

    Maybe Trump simply jumped the line. "Boo! Hiss! Not faai-r-r-r!"

  • The thing that I find increasingly mindbogglingly most bizarre about the whole Trump campaign—and that's a *really* high bar to pass—is that with all the explicit bigotry and racebaiting and misogyny of it, and his willingness to apparently say *anything* without the tiniest nod to political correctness, he hasn't done homophobia. Like, at all, as far as I can tell. There are precisely zero members of his base that would be turned away by homophobic remarks, and they would fit in seamlessly with everything else he says.

    But he doesn't. Why?

    All the rest of it, I can come up with multiple explanations for, some more on the conspiracy theory side and some more pragmatic or venal. But I just can't figure out why he has avoided homophobia in his rhetorical arsenal.

  • The Dark Avenger says:

    Homophobia doesn't sell anymore, even to the base. They're too aggrieved to worry about Adam and Steve getting married, especially since gay marriage hadn't destroyed the country yet. 30 years ago, they could pretend the nephew with a house or apartment mate who never got married was a confirmed bachelor, today said nephew is likely to be out and if not proud, at least not ashamed of what they are.

    If you look at The Boston market, Rush went from a 50,000 watt radio station to a 5,000 watt station with minuscule ratings. The outermost range of his current station there, WKOX, doesn't even reach the local range of the one he was on previously. Media Matters covered it here:

  • @Nate – I don't think it matters whether he himself is a homophobe. Honestly I'm not even sure he's racist or misogynist or anything else – I've never thought he says what he really believes, he says whatever will get the most attention. (Not saying I think he ISN'T racist or misogynist, just that he's not necessarily revealing any true beliefs).

    I agree with Nan that he would have to do something outrageous to get out of this. If he doesn't want to be a quitter, or a loser, something BIG is called for. I suggest that he will mysteriously disappear for a few months, conveniently missing the primaries and nomination, and reappear with a thrilling story about being kidnapped by (fill in the blank), held hostage, unable to continue his campaign. It's a win-win for him: he doesn't have to lose to Cruz or anyone else; he doesn't have to lose to Hillary; he doesn't have to be president; and it's perfect fodder for him to continue his career of fake-reality notoriety. He could dine off it for the rest of his life.

  • scott (the other one) says:

    Here's my guess as to the absence of homophobia from Trump: someone or someones close to him, either personally or professionally, is gay and he doesn't want to upset/offend them. Meaning his personal attorney or accountant or chef or someone he truly relies on. I can easily believe Trump doesn't know well a single person of color but I would not be at all surprised if a significant percentage of people in his life are gay and that his unusual humanity in this one area is nothing more than self-interest.

  • Good theory, Scott. Not to stereotype, but hotels, casinos, and entertainment are likely to have a high percentage of gays in those industries. But don't forget: HAIRDRESSER. I say – with no disparagement to homosexuals or hairdressers – that person must be THE most important person in his life.

  • I haven't Snopesed it, but the idea that our perhaps future first lady has actually posed nude on the cover of a magazine is not even a bridge too far for the supposed evangelicals is a hoot for me. Can't wait to see that picture on a wall in the White House. It will take "it's ok when Republicans do it" to new heights.

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