Talk Show Democracy

Are call-in programs good for the political system?


The proliferation of talk shows on radio and television has given politicians a new way to talk to their constituents. The public also gets a new way to make its views known and even sometimes to talk directly to its leaders -- from President Clinton on down. But some critics view talk show democracy with concern, if not alarm. They fear that talk show hosts entertain more than they inform. They also complain that talk hosts like Rush Limbaugh and fellow conservatives are unfairly demonizing Clinton, Congress and all levels of government. But other political observers say talk shows are providing a valuable alternative to traditional news media and creating a new, interactive forum that will become more and more important in the years to ...

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