I love when my local public radio station resorts to naked flattery in its pledge drives. Immediately following a segment this morning on NPR, in which Cokie Roberts used the word “obstreperous,” the local pledge drive host came on and said: “Where else on the radio can you hear the word ‘obstreperous’? Here at WHYY, we don’t insult your intelligence.”
Or, more straightforwardly: “You’re so much smarter and more sophisticated than the riffraff that listens to those other radio stations.”
Not that there’s anything surprising here. They’re just playing to their audience, or their perceived audience—or perhaps just that portion of the audience most likely to break out their wallets. But still, it’s funny how this also feeds into the negative stereotype of the typical public radio listener: essentially an elitist whose progressive, socially conscious views (often on display in the form of bumper stickers on the back of his suitably “green” automobile) are just further evidence (in addition to his master’s degree in corporate handjobbery) of his superiority to others.