Thompson joins talk radio opposition
As Barack Obama prepares to take over in Washington, conservative America is preparing its opposition. Step forward Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee, all former candidates for the 2008 Republican nomination, and all now heading towards jobs discussing and dismantling the Democrats on talk radio. After eight years when the liberal media have had all the fun attacking the Bush administration, Rush Limbaugh, American radio's biggest ratings winner, has spoken of his glee for "the rebirth of principled opposition".
Fred Thompson was the former Law and Order actor who was optimistically labelled "the next Ronald Reagan" at an early stage of the presidential campaign, but whose unenergetic bid for the White House ended almost as soon as the primaries began. Now Thompson is being lined up as a replacement for contentious commentator Bill O'Reilly, and will start hosting a two-hour show for syndication company Westwood One from the beginning of March.
According to reports in the New York Times, Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, has also been in talks with Westwood One about finding a slot on the airwaves. And Huckabee, the Baptist minister from Arkansas whose folksy appeal made him the religious right's candidate of choice, has now agreed to host short shows for ABC radio, in addition to his weekend TV work for Fox News.
Though interest in talk radio tends to subside in the years following an election, one recent commentator pointed out that "the last time a young Democrat took over the White House with gauzy visions of change, it produced a 'Golden Age' for right-wing talk." This was when Limbaugh came to prominence during Bill Clinton's first term, and the format has grown in recent years. With over 2,000 stations now using talk shows, it has even replaced country music as America's favourite listening pleasure. ·