What Is and Isn’t a Troll
The idea of talk radio call-in shows should be, theoretically, about an intellectual back-and-forth where people share opinions and knowledge, and perhaps reach common ground, or at least listen to a different perspective and perhaps think a bit.
But that’s not what happens. Most talk radio is right-wing hosts taking calls from right-wing callers, and if politics is on the table, dissenting opinions are strictly forbidden. Instead, the callers each try to out-do the host; if the host says Obama is a communist, the callers will insist that he’s … well, they’ll just agree and maybe add “fascist” into the mix because hey, why not?
So here’s a few minutes’ worth of audio that shows what happens when one local talk radio host faces a dissenting opinion on his Facebook page. (Screeners make sure dissent seldom makes it to air).
Labeled as “trolls”, the people who disagree are banned and blocked, sent to a sort of cyber-gulag, leaving the host and his followers safe from any opinions or views that do not mirror their own.
That’s pretty amazing, right? Right down to the “little gook in me” quip near the beginning, referring to President Obama as a “boy”, and the painfully inappropriate minstrelsy.
I can understand a person being upset about being called a racist if they don’t believe they are, but that’s not even what the offending commenter said. This is a childish over-reaction to a fair comment about a relevant topic – not at all trolling under any definition. If you disagree, engage and debate. If you shut them down, you’re just confirming for everyone that your opinion is factually and intellectually bankrupt.
This is why I have Sirius, WBFO, and WEDG on heavy rotation in my car. I want to be informed or entertained. I don’t want to be angry, and I don’t want my commutes to be hate and sedition all the time.