There’s something about right-wing talk radio that’s undeniably attractive—even for a “sushi-eating, Prius-driving, gay-marriage-supporting Oregon liberal” like Orrin Onken, he writes in Salon. Though he’s always been a lefty, Onken began listening in high school, and he’s maintained his “dirty little secret” for four decades now. Sure, he prefers Car Talk and Science Friday on NPR, but when they’re not on, it’s straight to Glenn Beck ("his mixing of morning-zoo high jinks with conspiracy-laden apocalyptic politics tickles me")—or any other "wingnut" who happens to be on air.
Why? “I sometimes say that I am spying on the enemy so I will know better how to oppose them,” he writes. Or “maybe I simply like seeing the never-ending parade of folly that is mankind.” The best stations stick with a combination of “on-air talent, inflammatory politics and careful call screening” that’s worked for years. In the end, it’s more about entertainment than politics for Onken. “Mostly I like hearing people talk,” and those who are “indignant, outraged, xenophobic and controlled by invisible forces” are good at it. Click for the full column.