The Problem with Talk Radio

The Problem with Talk Radio September 5, 2012


Not that I’m a genius or anything close to it but I have stumbled upon the source of all of America’s troubles and I am happy to report that is it not me.

And it is not you.

You want to know what’s really destroying this country?

You want to know what’s really breaking our backbone?

You want to know what’s gotten us beat down so low that we think the ant’s belly is the Goodyear Blimp?

Look no further than your radio dial.

I am serious as a heart attack.

Turn that dial to any one of the dozens of noonday radio talk shows and just listen in for half-an hour. (If you are like me, you’ll get the dry-heaves if you listen any longer than that.)

If listening to talk radio doesn’t make you reach for the bottle of anti-anxiety script, you might want to check your pulse. Perhaps you are already in a coma?

I’m not going to name any hosts names because this really isn’t a partisan thing. A talking head is a talking head and they err on all sides of the political spectrum.

The host of the show I heard on Tuesday’s drive baited his audience with this question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

The overwhelming majority of callers said that they were much worse off than they had ever been in their lifetimes. Fear was the primary emotion among the callers. Oddly enough the other thing they almost unanimously agreed upon was a trust and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Apparently that trust didn’t give them much hope, however, because nearly every caller spoke to the horrible conditions of this country and its citizens.

The host always asked them why they thought they were so much worse off. Here’s a few of their answers:

– We are worse off because of our debt and you know who is responsible for the debt crisis? NASA, that’s who. Get rid of NASA and we’d have enough money to pay off our national debt and feed all the people of the world.

– We are worse off because we have a president who supports same sex marriage. I have a friend in the Marines. He said that when he first joined that it was illegal to be gay and in the military. Then we went to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Then we made it legal to be gay and in the military. He says he’s getting out before they make being gay mandatory.

– We are worse off because of the dumbing down of America’s schools. I mean when a kid gets grilled because his name is Hunter.

– We are worse off because we have an evil Muslim in the White House. It really scares me because he is allowing all these Muslims in the country under false pretenses. The U.S. is the largest Muslim country in the world. It won’t be long before they rise up and begin to fight us from within our own country.

– We are much worse off because we are no longer a Christian nation. We need to get back to our roots of trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Well, that’s for dang sure.

Because I’ll tell you the whole time I listened to these callers, bless their troubled hearts, all I could think of was exactly what was it their faith offered them?

More despair than hope.

More worry than peace.

More fear than faith.

More self-righteousness than grace.

Listening to the people who sit around listening to talk radio made my own heart quiver.

How in the world can anyone think being a person of faith is a good idea when people like this, bless their trouble hearts, carry on in such a negative, anxiety-ridden fashion?

If Jesus is really our Lord, does it really matter much who our president is? I mean when it comes to our own personal peace and hope and such?

And if any of you are so all-fired worried about the state of this nation, exactly what are you doing to make it a better place? Other than worrying yourself sick, that is, and then calling up complete strangers to bitch about how awful the world is now?

We cannot vote ourselves into being a better nation.

We cannot talk our way into being a better nation.

A nation is only as good as its people choose to be.

How have you been demonstrating faith over fear?



Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Where’s Your Jesus Now? Examining How Fear Erodes Our Faith and a bunch of other great books. You should read them & quit worrying so much.





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  • jaz

    Thank you for this.

  • Oh, now this is wonderful! You, my dear, are a national treasure 🙂

  • Amen, amen, a-men!

  • AFRoger

    Mark 7:1-23 is a humbling mirror. Both Jesus and his students are accused of unfaithfulness, not hygeine issues but ritual lapses that left them spiritually defiled. Stunningly, Jesus does not deny the accusations or offer some wimpy excuse such as “we were on the road, you know; and the crowds threw us off schedule, yada, yada, yada.” But he breaks new ground by going straight for the jugular of hardheartedness, blame, and judgmentalism–then goes further by pointing out that all the pretty religious practices in the world never undefiled us. They were meant to point the way to God who does the cleansing. That’s God’s work, his work, so watch him get the job done.
    While our religiosity does not cleanse us, and what goes in does not defile us, what comes out of us certainly has the power to defile us beyond words–because these things reflect their origins in our hearts where the real problem lies.
    We have only to listen to a few lines of Amos to know where God’s heart is. Jesus affirmed what has always been true: to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. James 1:26-27 gets more pointed still. Ever since Ronald Reagan made hay with the question “are you better off, etc.”, I’ve wondered why Christians everywhere haven’t in a loud chorus shouted “Wrong question!” Shouldn’t the question really be something closer to “How’s my neighbor doing? How are the poorest among us doing? How are we all doing together, and what can I do to help?”
    Just think. There are Christians everywhere who go to church all the time and do all the right things there, Christians empowered and privileged by unimaginable amounts of wealth and hours of time the wealth bestows on them but who don’t know a single homeless person or a single fatherless child by name.

  • As if. Talk radio isn’t a source of America’s troubles. It’s a symptom. The trouble was the death of journalism. When journalists abandoned their role to stand apart and chose to throw their lot in with one side, they spawned a reaction. What we need is a commitment from journalists to hold both sides accountable and to not skew their coverage in either side.

    • What we need is a broadcasting company that is committed to journalism and not to entertainment.

  • EmpirefallingSomeday

    Amen sister!

  • Deanna Bartalini

    The media no longer wants to inform people, they want to form people. We need to be conformed to Christ not the world. You are right on the mark when you sat we shuld stop all the worrying.

    • While I think it is true that some media only want to incite and inflame, I do believe that there are plenty of shoe-leather journalists who long to inform, and do their best to make that happen. Of course, part of the problem is that we are dealing with an audience who doesn’t want to be informed, but entertained.