Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., told reporters last week, "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem." Some hosts, he added, do not know what is in the lengthy bill.
The comments incensed conservative talk show hosts who generally had supported Lott over the years.
Lott is "upset that the American people got right into the middle of the conversation over the problem with illegal aliens and it didn't turn out all that well for the pro-amnesty forces," Atlanta-based talk show host Neal Boortz wrote on his Web site.
"If Trent Lott and his other buddies up on the Hill aren't listening to 'talk,' then what are they listening to? The answer is either their wallet or their legacy."
Radio host Rush Limbaugh asked his audience: "What are we going to do about Mississippi Senator Trent Lott?"[ Talk shows influence immigration debate, Jun 23, 2007]
Some folks accuse Lott of being racist. I don't think that is accurate. If this man had to choose racial interests and economic royalism, I think he'll ultimately support monied interests.
Talk radio is among the more democratic of the corporate media-for the simple reason that there is less money involved than television. The entry price for buying a radio station or getting a syndicated talk show available nationwide is just a lot less than for many other media. Furthermore, podcasts are nipping at the heals of talk radio-people can hear the kind of news they want to hear at a fairly affordable price
I tend to think the conservative alliance of corporate interests and folks with either white racial or traditional religious identification is fundamentally unworkable long run. Corporate interests in the US are only able to maintain the illusion of prosperity by liquidating assets-and increasingly the big non-concentrated asset left for them to liquidate is the economic value of citizenship.
The only way folks like the Bush Dynasty and Trent Lott can maintain their position is by increasingly resorting to non-democratic mechanisms-like fixing the Florida vote in 2000 or admitting large numbers of guest workers that have no voting rights.
Talk radio hosts ultimately have to attract listeners in significant numbers. Some founders feared, democracy might degenerate into mob rule. It is the job of folks in institutions like the Senate to moderate that tendency. Sadly, the Senate just plain isn't doing their job. That would be even more apparent with a more democratic house and decentralized media control. What we have here isn't mob rule, but oligarchy that is out of control.
At this point, public opinion is still pretty moderate towards recent immigrants. The public appears to want less immigration and doesn't want undue hardship to recent poor immigrants to result from enforcement of immigration laws. What the senate is getting in trouble for is an immigration policy that assures that all the costs of fixing immigration will fall squarely on the mass of American citizens and continues to allow corporate interests to mine the value of US citizenship for the gain of a few wealthy interests. That problem just won't go away.