In the eighties and nineties while I was hosting television talk we would book guests from the left and the right. What was important was that the personage was important and conveyed important thoughts. In short, our objective was to create a good show, an entertaining and informative program. Guests included President Jimmy Carter, candidate for mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Ed Koch, Alexander Haig, Frank Rizzo, Thomas Sowell, Rev. Al Sharpton. Ross Perot, Jerry Brown, Vladamir Pozner, William Kunstler, Pat Buchanan among many others.
We would generally have a guest on for the forty minutes that make up a television hour minus commercials. At the end of that time the guest not only had time to present and support his ideas but hopefully viewers learned something about the person. I never received one complaint that I was either too conservative or liberal although I had my own political and social beliefs and was not shy about expressing them on air. Surely, there was debate, but my paramount concern was to make the guest think on the air. I tried to create unexpected questions in a comfortable environment so that a viewer could actually see the process of the guest THINKING and since the show was broadcast live the viewer subliminally knew that the guest could say anything, that anything could happen.
My shows were broadcast live as they are (usually) on radio so from time to time I was asked to fill in for local radio hosts on vacation. I sat in for Bob Grant manyl times. Later my first extended gig on WABC was filling in for Sean Hannity. No one asked for my personal political beliefs. What was important was competence and my public visibility. This would be unthinkable in today’s media environment.
Program Directors will not even place differing political narratives on the same station today! THE BUZZ on WABC which I co-hosted with conservative Steve Malzberg was #4 out of all stations in the NY market in its time period when it was cancelled. Curtis & Kuby was a hit morning show when it met its demise.
A political bugaboo of the right is The Fairness Doctrine which they claim could censor conservative talk radio. The doctrine requires media outlets to air contrasting views when presenting controversial matters of public interest. The Fairness Doctrine was in effect from 1949 through 1987 and didn’t hinder the rise of Joe Pyne, Bob Grant, Paul Harvey and Barry Farber but it did help to foster an environment where listeners could hear a variety of opinions on the radio.
We live in bubbles where we no longer even want to listen to each other unless its in agreement or argument, bubbles where facts are superfluous if they don’t fit the narrative. It is simple today to create our own ‘playlist’ when it comes to shaping perceptions of reality.
And as the following article cleverly espouses, Americans are more than ever susceptible to INCEPTION. As I used to say everyday on my radio show: Don’t let the media meld with your mind