A critical overview of right-wing talk radio over just the past month reveals a troubling pattern that, if ignored, has the potential to impede the ability of Americans to make informed electoral choices. At issue is the wholesale misuse of the public airwaves by Republican propagandists.

The public’s right to access balanced political information is not only under assault on a daily basis by Republican talk radio, but the concept of accurately presenting political issues on the public airwaves is under attack.

Republican propagandists such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham regularly claim that calls to ensure at least the semblance of fair political coverage on talk radio are cries for censorship. That claim is indicative of their approach, first by reframing the issues in a highly skewed way, then coordinating the same talking points among the different radio shows. Organized coordination of political messages is the only way to explain why Hannity often offers the same talking points at 4 p.m. that Ingraham did at 9:30 a.m. That kind of approach is a clear organized political effort tied to freezing out dissent – precisely the anti-democratic misuse of the public airwaves that the Fairness Doctrine once successfully addressed.

To overlook the way in which right-wing propaganda radio is organized to support the Republican Party by freezing out opposing views, is to ignore a force that is eroding democracy in America.

A deliberate monopoly for political gain isn’t free market economics, it is oligarchy in practice.

Mark Tardif, Waterville

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