CNN, fresh off being dubbed a "real" news organization by the Obama White House, has embarked on a three-part series examining that bizarre and foreign cultural subset of America called conservative talk radio listeners. To those not in the liberal elite, they’re known simply as "normal folks."

From the tone of Part One, you almost expect the sparkly CNN reporter to beat her way through the topical jungle of Palm Beach, enter the EIB studios and ask: "Dr. Limbaugh, I presume?" This series promises to reveal more about CNN and the ignorant snobs in the MSM — who see conservative talk radio as a mysterious "Dark Continent" — than it does about those who listen, writes Jim Lakely.

Carol Costello begins by proffering the theory that conservative talk radio is "so powerful" and "some say it has made our country viciously partisan." By "some say" Costello means "CNN." Funny, I don’t recall CNN declaring that "some say" all those anti-war protesters taking to the streets with their blood-dripping Bush puppets was "viciously partisan" — same for the left blogosphere’s Chimpy McBushitler stuff — let alone making "our country viciously partisan." But if I continue parsing every sentence as I have the brief intro, we’ll be here all day.

Before we roll tape, let me reveal one priceless detail: Costello interviews a psychiatrist to evaluate the obviously un-well minds of conservative talk radio listeners. With that enticement, let’s go:

The "regular guy" who she features in Lancaster County, PA, listens to talk radio for eight hours a day she says, with astonishment. Of course, she’d love it if people watched CNN for eight hours a day. But listening to talk radio is soemthing you can do while you work, so it’s hardly as wasteful as zoning out in front of the boob tube. Anyway, it’s clear that Dr. Gail Saltz, the shrink used as a source in this piece, doesn’t think all that talk radio listening is very healthy. Especially if they listen to The King, Rush Limbaugh.

Saltz says Limbaugh’s "style appeals to those who think they have no voice." Well, gee, Doc. Why might they think that? I’m no psychiatrist, but maybe it’s because their views are reflected almost nowhere in the culture except talk radio and Fox News. But it’s Saltz’ description of Limbaugh’s style that really gets the "exploring a foreign culture" vibe going.

"He is essentially operating like the bully. And if you’re on the playground, do you want to be under the bully’s wing and go along with him and get therefore some power by proxie, too? Or do you want to be left out alone on the playground where who knows who’s going to take you out."

Huh? Leave it to a liberal to infantilize full-grown adults. Never mind that the piece points out conservative talk radio listeners are more educated than the general population in formal schooling. You can also add on how educated they are getting about politics and the culture by listening to the radio. But that analysis doesn’t even make sense. Take, for instance, the Tea Party protestors.

The movement started organically, online, with no help from talk radio. Yes, eventually all the conservative talkers took up the cause and greatly encouraged it, but talk radio did not start the movement. The people who showed up at town halls to confront their rulers about their radical plans and marched in Washington on September 12 are not wilting flowers or weaklings who need the protection of a "bully". The Tea Party movement is wholly characterized by self-reliance and self-empowerment. That’s why you saw very few mass-produced signs, the hallmark of a rally peopled by liberals.

Nor do conservatives derive their "power by proxy" from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Medved or Dennis Prager. Liberals don’t understand conservative talk radio because they don’t understand conservatives. As demonstrated by Saltz’s infantilization of talk radio listeners, liberal elites think conservatives have the minds of children, easily swayed by whatever "demagogue" is on the dial when they start up their cars. The fact is, your average conservative radio listener is well-informed on the issues, has formed his own opinions, votes almost religiously, and seeks out hosts who will affirm their views — because they hear them expressed in so few other outlets. But, as the "regular guy" told Costello, they don’t agree with everything even their favorite host says, which shows that talk radio listeners are critical thinkers — more so, it seems, than your average MSM reporter.

But you’ve gotta love the part with the MSM’s go-to liberal talk host, Randi Rhodes (Oh. Pardon me. A host "who many consider a liberal talker." Can’t be putting any labels on liberals. Bad form.) Right after the shrink told CNN’s audience that conservative talk hosts attract listeners who like "strong, aggressive messages" — translation: knuckle-dragging troglodytes — they cue up Rhodes. Her intro: "IIIIIIITTTT’S FRIIIIDAY, BASTARDS!!!!" A tad "aggressive," no? The irony, naturally, was lost to CNN.

And, typical of the small percentage (9 percent) of liberal hosts, it’s time for a bitch-fest. The reason more people don’t listen to liberal talk radio is not because it’s a failure, but it’s a matter of "access." Talk radio fans, which Rhodes claims to be, "have no choice" but to listen to the likes of Limbaugh. "And the other thing is conservative radio listeners love to be angry." This from a host who did a bit on President Bush getting shot. Again, I’m no psychiatrist, but this might be a case of projection. Might want to get her in contact with Dr. Saltz.

But note that word: access. That’s the talking point for attempts to revive the Fairness Doctrine. The market is locking immense talents like the no-audience Rhodes from the masses. So we have to have the government "fix" that. I like Greg Gutfeld’s take on Big Hollywood:

Apparently, the left is banned from talk radio! I’m sorry, but I don’t see a sign at the clubhouse, saying “no liberal hosts.” The only sign is from the public, who hates them. It’s called supply and demand. The demand is for a conservative viewpoint – and it’s currently being supplied.

What happens when you supply a product for which there is no demand? You get Air America. Some might call that a noble experiment, but it was neither noble, or experimental. Instead it functioned like a jar of leftwing preserves– a time capsule of corrupt liberal thinking, circa 1977. And, of course, for NPR to succeed, it needs government assistance. For liberal ideas to survive, you need welfare.

Bingo! And it reminds me of something. NPR attracts listeners more affluent and educated than even conservative commercial radio’s with-it and successful audience. Isn’t that the kind of demographic advertising agencies salivate over? One would think NPR could branch off a "for-profit" arm and give it a go in the market. Won’t happen, but it’d be nice to see them put their wallets and careers where their sanctimony is.

In sum, this segment on CNN is not only a reflection of the network’s cluelessness, but about how it assessed its own audience. CNN produced this "conservative talk radio as a Dark Continent" piece because it determined that its viewers see conservatives with the same level of ignorance. And the superficial and condenscending tone of the first installment only proves why conservatives are increasingly tuning out CNN. As Charles Krauthammer famously quipped abou
t the brilliance of Roger Ailes, founder of the Fox News Channel: He discovered a niche audience — half of America.