The Editorial Page Editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Wayne Laugesen, caught my attention last month when he pointed out that talk radio is “viewed, right or wrong, as part of the GOP, a big part of the GOP.”
This, he said, has hurt Republicans among Hispanics.
I asked Laugesen whether the damage caused by talk radio goes beyond Hispanics, to women or environmentalists, for example.
“I think a lot of good comes out of conservative talk radio,” he told me “But it can be a double-edged sword. That which gets ratings is not always in the best interest of those trying to win elections. Trying to find a niche on the radio is different from trying to put together a coalition of voters to win an election.”
I called Laugesen after listening to him on a talk radio show yesterday, where he had this exchange with radio host Jason Worley on KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado yesterday:
Jason Worley: Environmentalism is a religion today. If you compare it to Judaism, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, it has the same tenents, the same ideas. The problem is, the people who follow it, don’t have to actually ever suffer the effects of it. Go drop them off in Borneo in the middle of the rainforest with no mosquito protection repellent, no sunscreen…see how long they could last. They wouldn’t.
Laugesen: Right. If they ever got their way. If they were ever successful at stopping all this progress they intend to stop, they’d be miserable.
Worley: Wayne, you and I share a lot of beliefs. We’re right there on libertarian-leaning conservative beliefs.
Laugesen: Sure. I love progress. Almost 100% of the time, with some exceptions, when someone creates profit, which is really just the cost of capital, that person has improved the human condition. Because what are we willing to pay for? What makes us part with precious capital? An improvement to our lives. That’s the only thing that makes us part with capital. Human beings are not intuitively into destroying their lives, or the environment that supports their lives.
Lots of people, like swing-voting soccer moms, consider themselves environmentalists.
Could this conversation possibly make them feel good about the GOP?
To be fair, there was a lot more to the KLZ radio segment, including Laugesen’s audio of a group of anti-fracking protesters saying some silly stuff, but still, if you’re the kind of person who feels warmly toward environmentalism, and you listened to this show, you could easily have felt personally attacked.
But that wasn’t Laugesen’s intention.
I interpreted Laugesen’s 100% comment to mean he’s against most all regulations that might hinder profit. But he straightened me out, saying he believes that rules and regulations are necessary.
He also said he thinks “organized religion is far more legitimate than extreme environmental activism.”
In fact, throughout his radio appearance, Laugesen directed his critique at “radical” environmentalists, not all of them.
But, amid the extreme comments by a guy like Worley, do everyday environmentalists hear the distinction. Or do they just feel attacked, like Hispanics?
Laugesen and I agreed that amplification can overpower details on talk radio.
“Dwelling on the nuances does not win the favor of dittoheads,” he said.