Paul Harvey: Right-wing Folk Tales

ABC probably doesn’t want people to think it’s in the business of passing off urban folklore stories as real news, or altering the facts of stories to fit a conservative spin. But that’s what one of its most listened to broadcasters does–six days a week.

Paul Harvey is regarded as a broadcasting icon. An institution. His radio show, distributed by the ABC Radio Networks, is carried on more than 1,200 radio stations and, according to his own press releases, is heard by 23 million listeners six days a week.

Even if you make allowances for self-promotion, his audience exceeds that of talkmeisters Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlesinger. Harvey is advertised as the most listened-to broadcaster in the world.

For more than 40 years, Harvey has been charming listeners with his folksy, down-home style. He calls his broadcasts “visits.” While he is perhaps best known for his Rest of the Story feature, three generations have been brought up on his twice-daily newscasts, a 5-minute morning version and a 15-minute noon broadcast. These newscasts consist of a combination of rip-and-read wire copy, with Harvey’s patented pregnant pauses and unique inflections, along with a sprinkling of anecdotes passed off as news.

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