What Is and Isn’t a Troll

Right Wing Talk Radio (artist’s impression)

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.

5 comments

  • Alan: You can also add 680 News and CBC Radio 1 to your car presets. Both signals do reach Buffalo.

    I’m not sure of the political tilt of Toronto’s 2 talkers, CFRB(1010)or CFMJ(640), but they would also be good adds. Same with CKTB(610) in St. Catharines.

    Music-wise, CHBM(boom 97.3)is a GREAT add if you like 70s-90s music.

  • Another example of bubble mentality, I give you “The Financial Guys” show Saturday afternoons on the same station. I do not have audio but they have on several occasions very clearly announced that if you are an Obama supporter do NOT darken the doorstep of their offices seeking to do financial planning business with them. Liberals are NOT welcome. Talk about not letting another opinion get in the way….

    • I’ve heard them say pretty much that. What a silly way to run a business. The other guy is Robert Saviola, he does hypnosis. Just what I’d want to do, be hypnotized by a guy like that. Come to think of it maybe that’s where WBEN gets its audience. They sure act like they are in a trance. I’ve found a couple decent shows Saturday am on 1520.

  • The Financial Guys. They don’t want your business if you support Obama, but they advertise broadly to take and manage the money of public employees, whom they clearly detest and deride as leeches on the legs of taxpayers. Big shock that they (like their patron Carl) are hypocrites.

  • I have twice gone round with war hero David Bellavia for denigrating Buffalo teachers on WBEN. When I suggested some of his fellow veterans aren’t exactly pulling their oar and some of them only enlisted to get free healthcare and college degrees he went berserk. Called me a douche, slammed the phone as I was still talking and told me I should choke myself. He continued to sputter and snivel that anyone “kick a vet” while telling his listeners that Buffalo teachers aren’t teaching but they will start teaching again if they get a $20K raise. It’s only ok if he attacks you. You aren’t allowed to say anything back to him. Yet he thought he was owed a seat in congress for his combat medals. It just doesn’t work that way any more.

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