It should be noted that Tom Brokaw was, IMHO, the best of the Jennings/Rather/Brokaw triumvirate that dominated nightly news in the 80s/90s. But he’s a member of the MSM machine, the same machine that doesn’t see a problem with the current journalism that dominates the airwaves. And in his latest discussion with Laura Ingraham, he still doesn’t understand that it was the media culture that he propagated that led to the rise of conservative talk radio. With the anchors and reporters on 60 Minutes, the Nightly News shows, Dateline, 20/20, and others (with the exception of straight-shooter John Stossel) during the 80s/90s all propping up a liberal bais, it’s clear that many people wanted an outlet– a second option. And that option was conservative talk radio.
Had the news been “fair and balanced”, there would have been less of need for people to seek out an alternative market. Many people didn’t like the constant harangue that came from ABC/NBC/CBS, and CNN and the cable market were not influential in the 80s. You couldn’t watch CNN at work, and you couldn’t surf the web to read news stories. Instead, you had your radio, and on that radio you could listen to NPR for more of the same or find Rush Limbaugh for something very different.
Market forces drove the rise of Rush Limbaugh, make no mistake. There was an untapped market of people who were alienated by the MSM in the 80s and 90s, and Rush and Co. recognized it. They arrived with a new message on an old medium, and suddenly there was outcry from the MSM. In their arrogance, instead of understanding why Rush was so popular, they condemned talk radio and treated it with great contempt. Instead of nipping it in the bud, they let it blossom, all the while claiming their garden was better looking.