Cover image for Rushed to judgment : talk radio, persuasion, and American political behavior
Rushed to judgment : talk radio, persuasion, and American political behavior
Barker, David C. (David Christopher), 1969-
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 165 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1560 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1991.8.T35 B37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Convenient, entertaining, and provocative, talk radio today is unapologetically ideological. Focusing on Rush Limbaugh--the medium's most influential talk show-- Rushed to Judgment systematically examines the politics of persuasion at play on our nation's radio airwaves and asks a series of important questions. Does listening to talk radio change the way people think about politics, or are listeners' attitudes a function of the self-selecting nature of the audience? Does talk radio enhance understanding of public issues or serve as a breeding ground for misunderstanding? Can talk radio serve as an agent of deliberative democracy, spurring Americans to open, public debate? Or will talk radio only aggravate the divisive partisanship many Americans decry in poll after poll? The time is ripe to evaluate the effects of a medium whose influence has yet to be fully reckoned with.

Author Notes

David Barker is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Prof. Barker has published several articles on talk radio in the Journal of Politics, Social Science Quarterly, and Political Communication.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this thought-provoking book about the growing political role of call-in programs, Barker (Univ. of Pittsburgh) focuses on the best-known example, Rush Limbaugh. He analyzes how Limbaugh ideologically propagandizes his sympathetic listeners to deepen their preexisting beliefs. Barker seeks to explain how political persuasion occurs and the likely effects of such efforts. The study is exceptionally well anchored in communication and political theory and empirical methodology. Moreover, Barker offers a deft, nonpolemic analysis of Limbaugh and his messages. He explains a laboratory study of how talk radio programs can persuade listeners and follows this with an important chapter on the "Limbaugh effect," in which Barker demonstrates how regular listeners became more conservative politically and increasingly hostile toward the broadcaster's favorite targets of scorn. Barker next demonstrates how Limbaugh effectively persuaded listeners to favor George W. Bush over John McCain for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. He then shows how Limbaugh's program stimulated its regular listeners to participate--particularly to vote--in the political process. The final chapter suggests that regular listening to conservative talk shows tends to increase listener misinformation, while regular listening to moderate radio talk shows (such as those on National Public Radio) decreases consumer misinformation. ^BSumming Up: Strongly recommended. Undergraduate and graduate libraries. R. E. Dewhirst Northwest Missouri State University

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Introduction
2 Political Talk Radio and Its Most Prominent Practitioner
3 Toward a Value Heresthetic Model of Political Persuasion
4 Talk Radio, Public Opinion, and Vote Choice: The "Limbaugh Effect," 1994-96
5 Talk Radio, Opinion Leadership, and Presidential Nominations: Evidence from the 2 Republican Primary Battles
6 The Talk Radio Community: Nontraditional Social Networks and Political Participation
7 Information, Misinformation, and Political Talk Radio
8 Conclusion
Appendix A The Limbaugh Message
Appendix B Excerpts from the Rhetoric Stimulus
Appendix C Excerpts from the Value Heresthetic Stimulus