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Journalists Think You're Stupid

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Paul in Gainesville, Florida. Thank you for waiting. You're next on Open Line Friday. Hi.

CALLER: Hey, Rush.

RUSH: Hey.

CALLER: I'm a telecommunications student at the University of Florida, and it kind of goes hand-in-hand with the journalism school there.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: And one of the things they teach us early on is that the people that we tell the news to and the stories, they're not very smart. They're not as smart as us so we gotta dumb down the stories for them.

RUSH: Do they say things like most people read at a seventh or sixth grade level, things like that?

CALLER: Yep, things exactly like that.

RUSH: So they tell you that you have to dumb yourself down in order to relate to your audience?

CALLER: Yeah, exactly.

RUSH: Now, how does that make you feel? You're in journalism school, you're in telecommunications. How does it make you feel when they tell you that the people you're gonna be informing or talking to are basically idiots?

CALLER: It seems like I'm not gonna be able to tell them a lot of the story that I want to tell.

RUSH: But what's incorporated? Isn't part and parcel of that, you gotta have a little contempt for people who are not very smart? If you run around, if you start your day thinking you're doing your job for dumb people, then you're gonna be arrogant. You're gonna be condescending toward them. You're gonna hold 'em in a little bit of contempt. You're gonna resent them a little bit. I maintain that this is one of the many roots of the problems of journalism: The idea that their audience doesn't know anything.

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: The audience doesn't know anything, and they're not capable. That's why when the audience complains... You know, it's the only business, Paul, where the customer's always wrong. You complain to a newspaper or a television station and they'll say, "Well, you know, you just really don't know how we operate here. You don't know how we put the news together. You just don't know." The customer's always wrong. You accuse 'em of bias, and you don't know what you're talking about.

"We're not biased! You're an idiot. You're stupid."

They don't say that to people, but you're being taught that that's how you have to realate to 'em. I, El Rushbo, on the other hand, am just the opposite. When I'm talking about the media, I make the mistake of thinking that they're smart. They're not. They are actually, I think, their audience. I think they're dumber than their audience, to be frank with you. But I, on the other hand, treat everybody listening to this program as though they know exactly what I'm talking about every time I open my mouth.

They may not know the information I'm gonna impart, but I assume you're capable of learning everything I am.

They don't.

And that's a great, great point.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: By the way, the journalism student, Paul from Gainesville, Florida, was also going to say that part of his education in telecommunications is that people are inherently not good people. He was gonna make my point for me that they have to be protected from themselves and from everybody else, that that's how he's being taught. He was gonna back me up on it.

END TRANSCRIPT

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