Arguably no message apparatus like it exists in the nation, except, perhaps, at the White House (or in Oprah—whose position with American women is curiously analogous to Rush’s position with American conservatives). It is concentrated and extraordinary power.
Except that this power ought to be ending. It ought to all be on the wane. It is not just the Obama victory and the magnitude of his approval ratings. It is not just that the gravity of the economic crisis, with historic unemployment rates, means it’s a lot harder to get people excited about Reagan-and-Rush-esque hands-off government.
It is, rather, a crueler demographic point. The dirty little secret of conservative talk radio is that the average age of listeners is 67 and rising, according to Sinton—the Fox News audience, likewise, is in its mid-60s: “What sort of continuing power do you have as your audience strokes out?”
You can begin to make plausibly large statements about the end of—or at least a crisis in—conservative media. “There are fewer advertisers, fewer listeners, shrinking networks, shallower penetration,” says Sinton. “A lowering tide lowers all ships.”
What’s more, it’s the Internet that is the fast-growing and arguably more powerful political medium—and it is the province of the young and liberal. The only sensible market view of conservative talk is that it will contract and be reduced, in the coming years, to a much more rarefied format.
Rush Limbaugh: The Man Who Ate the G.O.P. | Vanity Fair