Charlotte Talks: More Than Just Pushing Buttons, Talk Radio Shaped Today's Politics

Aug 21, 2019

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, right, with Donald Trump at the Trump International Golf Club.
Credit The White House / Joyce N. Boghosian

The current state of politics, and the divisions therein, are due in part to decades of conservative talk radio and hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, who created the landscape for Donald Trump's rise to the White House. 

There's no denying the unique relationship between the Trump White House and Fox News. Any given segment on a topic can shape Donald Trump's thinking - and tweeting - on the matter.

But while Fox helps sustain the Trump presidency, credit for why Trump is in the Oval Office to begin with is due to a much older medium: radio, specifically conservative talk radio.

Credit Flickr / Brent Moore

That's according to Brian Rosenwald, who studies the intersection of media and politics, and who says Trump's path to the presidency was forged in the late 1980s with the national syndication of Rush Limbaugh's radio show, and the era of deregulation that scrapped the Fairness Doctrine.

Limbaugh's success spawned countless imitators who pushed Republican politics further to the right and made compromise anathema to the listeners who form the GOP base.

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Brian Rosenwald, author, "Talk Radio's America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States" (@brianros1)