"Why," somebody asked, "are there so many
radical, right-wing talkers on radio, when Joe and Jane Public
are mostly middle of the road or liberal leaning?" How better to
bait people into listening. Easy solutions come from lazy minds.
Bear baiting is older than the written word. The current radio situation is akin to letting the fox, the sales people, run the hen house, the creative side of radio: egg production, hours tuned, drops and only drastic measures can fix the problem. The lazy go for easy and say, "Let's bait bears."
Even lazier, albeit arrogant and self-righteous, on-air staffers are hired. They tow the line, blissfully unaware of their ignorance of the way of the world and the harm they do. They do it for a paltry pay check. Out of a radio job, these talkers will sell encyclopedias or telemarket.
Listeners, who are mostly middle of the road or liberal leaning and definitely empathetic on social issues, turn in to hear the hosts and prejudicial callers spout well-prepared infamies. Inflamed, listeners yell at their radios and swear oaths against station content to family and friends, who, themselves, tune in to hear what's what.
All the while, hours tuned spikes. Revenue flows. Management and sales people cash hefty bonus cheques.
Not for a moment do any of these women and men, especially when cashing their bonus cheques, recognize or ponder the deleterious consequences of their mindless, thoughtless, lazy and greed-based easy solutions. Why expect social responsibility from men and women who lack creativity, imagination and imagineering, in the first place. Money may make the world go around, but social empathy made the world, in the first place.
When your 3-year old will die without $150,000 of medical care and you can't afford medical insurance, the lesson of social responsibility foregone is hard learned. When you're aged, dependent on a fixed income, and the mindless prevailed in dismantling CPP, OAP and employer pension responsibilities to retired workers, the lesson is hard learned; you'll die before your time from the stress. Injured on the job and no government-based compensation, the lesson is hard learned. The consequences of easy, lazy and opportunistic solutions are too numerous to list.
Simple, easy, lazy solutions, conjured by mindless, thoughtless and short sighted opportunists, promise the same result for all: pain and anguish, and no one escapes. The sole alternative is empathetic forethought and vision. The only upside is that the opportunistic problem solvers will be caught in their web of self-deception along with the rest of us.
dr george pollard is a Sociometrician and Social Psychologist at Carleton University, in Ottawa, where he currently conducts research and seminars on "Media and Truth," Social Psychology of Pop Culture and Entertainment as well as umbrella repair.
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