Andrew Breitbart on Why Talk Radio was a Success on the Right (Rush Limbaugh) and a Failure on the Left

Andrew Breitbart was a tenacious man of deep insight. He recognized how the apparatus of the media operated in his time.

Breitbart was interviewed by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution in 2009. Robinson and Breitbart discussed the liberal influence of Hollywood, the role of the corporate media in society, and how overwhelming bias in news can influence the public’s perception of national events. 

One of the clearest pieces of analysis on talk radio came around the 20-minute mark in the interview when Robinson asked Breitbart to highlight why right-wing talk radio was a massive success, and why left-wing talk radio fell short of expectations.

Take a watch. Timestamp 20:06.

Andrew Breitbart explained why right-wing talk radio figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were so successful; 

“It is pretty simple. If you took away media bias from the equation, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s ratings would fall. The subtext of every single story is biased. They are consuming the media and then they are analyzing and they are showing this is what they are saying, but this is what is really happening out there.”

Much of Limbaugh and Hannity’s success (whatever you think of them) was built on a formula of critiquing media bias and explaining this bias to the common man. The Right believes most (if not all) media is biased, and it has a plethora of media stories to field strip for inaccuracies. 

Breitbart explains why this critiquing model on the radio has not worked for the Left; 

“when you are on the Left…the media is so on your side, [trying] to pretend that the media bias goes the other way [in favor of the Right]…you are going to fall on your face after two hours of doing talk radio. You can’t do three hours of talk radio every single day saying that channel 360 [Fox News] out of 1000 on your direct TV dial is the bane of humanity.”

The core of Breitbart’s point is that the media is overwhelmingly controlled by the Left. Every institution of influence is controlled by the Left. When one or two outlets are perceived to have “conservative” or “Republican” views, they are hammered. 

But there are only one or two “conservative” outlets. The volume of material for the Left to critique is small. Liberal talk-show hosts cannot monologue for three hours a day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, and put together a narrative on right-wing media that would stick. 

Other Great Books, Interviews and Websites by Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart built a career on critiquing and combatting corporate media. He helped research, build and edit some of the internet’s largest websites, including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report. Breitbart’s legacy lives on through the reporting and news curating of Breitbart.com.

Andrew Breitbart authored two books on Hollywood and the Media, Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon and Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! Both books can be found on Amazon below.

He helped build the Huffington Post before the outlet took a Leftward ideological direction. He edited the Drudge Report, a longtime favorite of conservatives in its heyday.

Andrew Breitbart’s follow-up interview with Hoover Institution on his vision for the future of the media.
A little-known speech by Andrew Breitbart on liberal bias in media and Hollywood.
Discussing his book Righteous Indignation at the Nixon Library in 2010.

Breitbart was limited in his scope of the institutional media problem, due to his sudden passing in March of 2012. He would not live to see the rise of Donald Trump to the office of president. He would not live to see corporate social media and tech companies working together to influence the masses. If he was alive today, I believe much of his ire would be directed toward media and tech corporations. He would likely go after neoconservative Right for their complacency.

Regardless, Andrew Breitbart was a brilliant man of his time and an astute observer of media. His perspective on media influence and the influence of talk radio is on point. He is deeply missed in 2021.

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Isaac Wiinanen

Making observations as history unfolds.
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