Clearing the air

The ground—level facts are well known. Acid rain kills trees. Greenhouse gases are linked to climate change. But what of earth's mental atmosphere? Broadcast messages of hate and degraded sexuality also have a corrosive effect on communities, nations, and the global neighborhood.

Television "reality" programming is the big new wave, but perhaps that wave's undertow is an even more participatory, and sometimes virulent, audio medium. It's the phenomenon generically known as "hate radio."

In the United States, news/talk is one of the most popular radio formats. This format's off—spring—call—in radio programs designed to provoke heated debate along political, ideological, racial, or religious lines—is gaining in audience. Even sports talk radio programs in some markets have become forums for negativity.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

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September 22, 2003

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