Kathleen Hall Jamieson is, in general, a good (but non-approving) source of information about the rise of talk.
"One of the things that conservative talk radio does for Republicans is creates a coherent, conservative ideology that is reinforced hour after hour, to fairly large audiences every day. The problem for the Democrats is figuring out what that coherent ideology would be if it were offering the alternative point of view.
The talk radio host is trying to instruct an audience, in lines of argument, that can be marshaled in defense of the ideology expressed by the host. And under that is a coherent set of arguments that the person who's listening hears again and again. And as a result when the person confronts a person who ordinarily he wouldn't engage, he's now prepared to engage in the argument and make the conservative point of view salient to that individual.
What political talk radio hosts do is pick the facts that advantage their case and then make those facts the most salient facts for their audience. They fall within the range of omission that characterizes contemporary politics. When you look at political debates, for example, Republicans, Democrats, both do it. The biggest sin is a sin of omission. They don't tell you what would hurt their case.
Well, that's what political talk radio does. It selectively moves to feature the facts that best make the case for the ideology that advances the candidate in the moment that supports the agenda of the conservative talk radio host. So, the notion that talk radio hosts are just up there polluting the political process by egregiously lying is simply not true."
This gives you a sense of that "perfect storm."
The raw numbers.
In 2007, the people saying conservative talk radio had too much power were ... conservatives.
There's a new wave of paranoia sweeping through that industry about the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine.
Kasey has some pretty cool video about "a virulent proponent of fairness."
And Cheyenne tells us what Bill O'Reilly thinks.
But if you read Courtney's mega-post and click through the the Media Matters stuff, you can see why Schumer and others have some real qurestions about what's being said on the airwaves.