Right-wing talk radio is a medium in which thoughtfulness is practically forbidden. Whatever the issue, you can be sure that you will hear only the most simpleminded analysis of it, preferably one that provokes the most unjustified fear. Thus Michael Savage diagnoses what’s wrong with America:
We have two opposing forces fighting in the world right now,” Savage told his listeners this week.
“Muslim fanatics,” he explained, have simply filled the vacuum left by the progressives who have decimated society: “They destroyed the church, and then Satan entered the soul of the West.”
“What do we even stand for?” Savage wondered. “Sleeping with 15 people then doing an herbal ‘cleanse’ in the morning? Everyone’s into ‘detoxing’ now because they know their souls are polluted.”
What is disturbing is not so much that there are people who offer such a cartoonish understanding of the world but that there is a vast audience with a seemingly endless appetite for it. Psychological studies show that this one of the key differences between conservatives and liberals, that conservatives tend to yearn for the simplest, most black-and-white explanations and react negatively to more nuanced and thoughtful ones.