Talk Radio’s Trump Divide

The divide between Wisconsin conservative talk radio and national talk radio over Donald Trump is remarkable.

The other day, I wrote that it’s time for Wisconsin conservatives who are still on the sidelines to get active, to step up and start making the case against the candidate who will topple the infrastructure of conservative thought and policy that’s taken decades to build.

(That candidate is Trump, in case you were wondering)

In Wisconsin, WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes, on-air and via his Right Wisconsin website, has made his stance against Trump clear. See my call to action for more on that.

WISN’s Mark Belling has also repeatedly criticized Trump in harsh terms, perhaps most harshly after comments where the bombastic billionaire said he prefers American soldiers who are not taken prisoner. Belling has contended it’s only a matter of time before conservative interest groups like the NRA and pro-life groups start firing artillery at Trump, considering he demonstrably opposes their positions.

Vicki McKenna of WIBA and WISN has been less forceful in opposing Trump, but she also hasn’t gone into full-blown Trump adulation. Playing the fence, she points out that Trump is a trailblazer in encouraging conversations about previously “forbidden” topics (as has Belling – and both are correct).

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others have spent months drooling all over Trump – essentially writing Trump a blank check payable not to cash but to an unlimited amount of air time and sickening adulation.

Their slobbering, nonstop Trump coverage is so obscenely over-the-top that one wonders if the country’s top conservative radio hosts have collectively lost their minds.

Putting a solid, square frame around the stark divide over Trump on the airwaves, Jerry Bader of WTAQ recently published a piece calling for Republicans to disown national radio talkers:

For reasons known only to them, Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, et. al have chosen to flush their credibility down the toilet and defend Trump no matter what he says. Any Establishment Republican that criticizes Trump for what he said should be equally critical of his collective terrestrial radio house organ. And elected Republicans should refuse to appear on their shows (Hannity is the host that tends to have the most guests). And elected Republicans who have said privately they would never vote for Trump if he’s the party nominee should start saying it publically.

Bader is right – and he makes a point I touched on months ago:

The reversal of this right-wing opinion leader’s commentary – and his silence about Walker following Trump’s entrance – is mind-blowing to the point of being suspicious…It’s time for conservatives to seriously re-assess whether these entertainers should really occupy the role of right-wing opinion leaders that William F. Buckley once held.

Bader’s admonition highlights the stark divide among Wisconsin’s most influential talkers and the national ones. For my part, I have in the interest of preventing nausea and dizziness stopped listening to national talk radio.

Either they’ve determined wall-to-wall coverage of Trump is good for ratings, they’ve lost all intellectual honesty, or they’re just being paid off by the Trump Organization. In any case, they’ve chosen to quit explaining contemporary news in conservative terms in order to promote a loudmouth billionaire who gives money to Democrats, supports Democrat policies, and only makes fun of Republicans.

Thankfully, the Limbaugh website makes cancelling my Rush 24/7 subscription as easy as a couple clicks.

About the writer: Chris Rochester is editor in chief of Morning Martini. He’s an armchair politico, veteran of several campaigns, and communications specialist. He's the communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.
  • Johnny Thorne

    Trump will strengthen and solidify true conservatism. The conservatives in media and politics will continue to head fake the people and betray the patriots. I’m right. Don’t bury America and make the same mistake again listening to the establishment leeches.

  • pumped_up_kicks

    A-B-C…anyone but clinton…

    i’ll take cruz or trump over the rest of the amnesty loving bushies who keep popping up as candidates…first it was jeb! then rubio/bush2.0 and finally, kasich/bush3.0.