ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Poor Al Franken

What will Al do? I mean, Air America can't buy an audience. Perhaps they could resort to socialist roots and force people to listen to Air America... for their own good. Oh, wait... They've got nutjob Hinchey on the prowl to do just that (from the LATimes):

Successful talk radio is conservative for three reasons:

• Entertainment value. The top conservative hosts put on snazzy, frequently humorous shows. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, observes: "The parody, the asides, the self-effacing humor, the bluster are all part of the packaging that makes the political message palatable." Besides, the triumph of political correctness on the left makes it hard for on-air liberals to lighten things up without offending anyone.

• Fragmentation of the potential audience. Political consultant Dick Morris explains: "Large percentages of liberals are black and Hispanic, and they now have their own specialized entertainment radio outlets, which they aren't likely to leave for liberal talk radio." The potential audience for Air America or similar ventures is thus pretty small — white liberals, basically. And they've already got NPR.

• Liberal bias in the old media. That's what birthed talk radio in the first place. People turn to it to help right the imbalance. Political scientist William Mayer, writing in the Public Interest, recently observed that liberals don't need talk radio because they've got the big three networks, most national and local daily newspapers and NPR.

Unable to prosper in the medium, liberals have taken to denouncing talk radio as a threat to democracy. Liberal political columnist Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in the New Yorker, is typically venomous. Conservative talk radio represents "vicious, untreated political sewage" and "niche entertainment for the spiritually unattractive," Hertzberg sneers.

If some liberals had their way, Congress would regulate political talk radio out of existence. Their logic is that scrapping Air America would be no loss if it also meant getting Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Bennett off the air.

To accomplish this, New York Democratic Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey has proposed reviving the Fairness Doctrine to protect "diversity of view," and John Kerry recently sent out some signals that he too thought that might be a good idea.

Under the old Fairness Doctrine, phased out by Ronald Reagan's FCC in the late '80s, any station that broadcast a political opinion had to give equal time to opposing views. A station running, say, Hannity's show, would also have to broadcast a left-wing competitor, even if it had no listeners.





Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler