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TV, Radio Talkers Shaping Political Discourse in U.S.

Jeffrey Brown examines the impact of television and radio talk show hosts and how they affect the way Americans think about politics.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next tonight: the TV talkers and their impact on how the rest of us talk politics.

    Jeffrey Brown reports.

    GLENN BECK, Host, "Glenn Beck": If it wasn't for FOX or talk radio, we would be done as a republic.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In a multimedia world of talk and more talk, the latest big talker is Glenn Beck, known for his folksiness and emotion, which sometimes spills over to tears…

  • GLENN BECK:

    I just love my country.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    … and, most of all, for his over-the-top style and words, which, for many, push the limits of acceptable public rhetoric.

  • GLENN BECK:

    … is that there are Marxist revolutionaries who have dedicated themselves to principles that will destroy our nation as we know it.

    I'm saying he has a problem. He has a — this guy is, I believe, a racist.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Since moving from CNN Headline News to FOX last year, Beck has successfully built up his cable TV audience. He now reaches almost three million viewers with his 5:00 p.m. show, unseating FOX's Sean Hannity for the number-two spot, right behind the network's Bill O'Reilly. On radio, Beck's audience of nine million is second only to Rush Limbaugh.

    All of these talk show hosts far exceed the numbers of their liberal counterparts. And, as the numbers grow, so has the attention in other media, and Beck's seeming influence on the national agenda.

    Beck is a persistent critic of the president and his policies. Among much else, he helped rally opponents to show up and speak up at this summer's town hall meetings on health care, and led the way on exposing problems with ACORN, the community organizing group that ran into numerous public controversies.

  • ROGER HEDGECOCK, Radio America:

    I like Glenn Beck personally. And I like that his TV show, in that he is speaking truth to power. That's his attitude. He really is trying to overturn the apple carts.

    We're not in favor of illegal alien amnesty.

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