03/21

Why Talk Radio is “Mad as Hell”

network580

Why is Talk Radio so angry?

And does it remind you of anything? Particularly a certain classic film, released in 1976 and called Network?

You know the one. With the scene featuring a waterlogged anchorman played by Peter Finch, desperately imploring his frustrated viewers to go to their windows, throw them open, and shout at the top of their lungs: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

How is it that the satirical vision of screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky has so effectively “meddled with the primal forces of nature” not only in the TV and cable news business, but also in the business of Talk Radio?

For the answer, I went to the guy who wrote the book.

I’m talking about Dave Itzkoff, author of the terrific new book Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies. The book covers the making of Network and how that movie foretold much of today’s news media landscape, including the contentious, rabble-rousing hot-heads of Talk Radio.

Watch my conversation with Dave about the book, the movie, and the impact the sons and daughters of ranting madman Howard Beale have on our pop cultural zeitgeist today:

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