Conservative talk-radio hosts, according to Politico, are peppering their commentary with paid plugs from think tanks looking for donors.
If you’re a regular listener of Glenn Beck’s radio show and you wanted to contribute to a political group that would advance the populist conservative ideals he touts on his show, you’d have plenty of reason to think that FreedomWorks was your best investment.
But if you’re a fan of Mark Levin’s radio show, you’d have just as much cause to believe that Americans for Prosperity, a FreedomWorks rival, was the most effective conservative advocacy group. And, if Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are who you listen to, you’d be hearing a steady stream of entreaties to support the important work of the Heritage Foundation.
That’s not coincidence. In search of donations and influence, the three prominent conservative groups are paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts. Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs – praising or sometimes defending the groups, while urging listeners to donate – often woven seamlessly into programming in ways that do not seem like paid advertising.
Or sometimes that does, as in this clip from Beck’s radio show (plug starts around 6:45):
But that’s the exception that proves the rule.
So, you’re thinking, talk radio has more plugs than Joe Biden’s head. So what?
So this: when you hear radio hosts flacking this teeth-whitening service or that lawn & garden center, those are clearly promotional messages the host is paid to deliver.
But start tossing around the policy positions of a think tank, and the lines get a lot blurrier.
The hardworking staff has long believed that right-wing radio was selling listeners a bill of goods. We just didn’t realize how far it went.
Originally posted in Sneak ADtack