It is so turned around these days.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Somebody grab me a tissue...

It seems as though liberal, or progressive, radio talk network Air America is heading for bankruptcy. While I can't say that I am sad to hear this, I am disappointed. Because, now, when a liberal will argue that "you conservatives have control over the airwaves" I will have to admit that they are telling the truth. But in all honesty liberal talk will not gain mass appeal until a few things change. Less hate. More actual discussion. Even representation of both sides. Lets start with the first point.

Less hate. The majority of the content on Air America is anti-Bush. With which I don't have a problem. But it is mostly tasteless and vulgar. Once again, fine, but you start to lose your credibility when you want to make a serious point.

More actual discussion. It seems that most of the shows are nothing but long monologues with no real intellectual thought or interchange. I know that sounds harsh but if the hosts are going to claim to be "progressive" and hang out with this nations "great thinkers" I would hope that they would put a little more effort into it than re-hashing their comedy routines. Why is it that the progressives best hosts are ex-comedians? (Franken, Garofalo, Mahr) That's a completely different post. I find more thought coming from some of my wife's high school sociology students.

Even representation of both sides. It seems as though there is no real attempt by the liberals to engage conservatives. Rarely will a phone call in opposition be taken. Crass generalizations are often used when referring to "red staters" or "evangelicals." I have called and gotten past the call screener to the Randi Rhodes show four times. Four times mind you. Only once did I get a busy signal. Each time I waited, a minimum of 20 minutes, and my call was never taken. Once I waited close to 40 minutes. I bring this up to point out that , one, I could get in easily and, two, they don't want to hear from us.

I am not talking about Rush and Hannity. I can't stand them. They are kind of like Conservative version of Air America to me. But I am talking about shows like Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewwitt, Michael Medved. These guys are not afraid to hear opposition and everyday ask for the opposition to call in. They frequently point listeners to liberal publications for discussion. I can honestly say that every time (that I have heard) on Air America, when they site an article that opposes their viewpoint, it is always without fail disregarded as drivel or made fun of in some way. It is interesting to me how much time I spend listening to people with other viewpoints. I desire to stay balanced. I want to know the lefts arguments even if I don't agree. I even subscribe to an atheist podcast just to hear agruments to my beliefs. I feel that there are more conservatives out there like me than liberals who desire to be challenged. Why is that? Well I think it stems from the fact that liberal viewpoints, for the most part, are based mostly on "feelings" and not much substance. Don't get me wrong, the intentions of liberalism are great, but, I have a feeling that when really pressed on the serious issues facing us today a liberal will do one of two things. Dismiss any opposing point because it may stem from values or fail to be completely morally and intellectually honest with themselves. And not only is that sad it is ironic that they are touted as progressive.

Anyway, until progressive media figures out that it has to present both sides, it will never be a success. If these are the best hosts they can muster it is doomed. It will at best be a fringe, freak circus act taking up radio bandwidth.


At 11:10 PM, Blogger O'Brien's Briar Patch said...

Come on BJ,

Let's go back to the invention of this bitterness.

Contrast how radio dealt with Reagan, Bush I and Clinton. Did you ever hear venom from the left (not radical left now) directed toward Reagan and Bush I that you heard toward Clinton?

I can't recall anyone attacking the children of the Bush's and Reagan's like talk radio did Chelsea Clinton (one said she looked like a dog, another a horse).

Something new started with the popularity of talk radio in the 80's and it really hasn't been good at all. Democrats are just playing a game of catch up.

The bad thing is that this will remain to be a game of one-up-man-ship and the citizens will be the losers in the long run.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Vonster said...

"Why is it that the progressives best hosts are ex-comedians?"

Because nobody could take their positions seriously?

At 6:57 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

Not my point at all. My point is that there are people on conservative radio who frequenlty engage the left. Their shows are intelligent and civil. The left can't do that. They have to have comedians come in and make their points through crass humor. Because, in all honesty, liberalism without humor is just whining. And who wants to listen to that? Nobody, not even liberals.

"Something new started with the popularity of talk radio in the 80's and it really hasn't been good at all. Democrats are just playing a game of catch up."

These are wasted keystrokes if you are only going to use generalizations. What is this "something new" and if it is not "good at all" then why liberals need to play catch up? I will answer for you.... Perhaps to make change in a consevative dominated medium. O.K. I am all for change, but in all honest now ....let loose of all your biases for just a few seconds.... Is the type of programming on Air America a change for the better or worse? Especialy comapred to the people I frequently listen to. Scott, seriously make an effort sometime to download a few Dennis Prager shows from or Listen to them while you blog your other stuff. He has some of the lefts best on for very good discussions. Then listen to Air America and you will instantly see (or hear) how immature and ignorant their shows and arguments are.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger O'Brien's Briar Patch said...


There is an interesting book that just came out called "Building Red America" by Thomas Edsall (it's not talking about building "communist" America, but under the guise of red vs blue.)

One of Edsall's beliefs is the right discovered the amount of swing voters is relatively small and that is it is more important and successful to whip a party's base into a frenzy rather than going for the mythical large number of swing voters and I think this has to do with the success of conservatives in the media and that this is a resource still not mastered by liberals (The New Republic has an excerpt of his book in its Sept 25 issue - it's really an interesting article on politics.)

So, in other words, it discovered going for the jugular was quite successful.

If you examine the emergence of talk radio, relatively, it really only exploded a short time ago and probably started during the era of Rush Limbaugh.

So in a way, this really is sort of a new phenomenom.

And what I mean by how it's not good, is that this explosive radio arena brought on a time of red meat devouring of whatever side in this media.

For example, recall not long ago G. Gordon Liddy's remarks about the ATF as jack booted thugs.

And believe it or not, I do not listen to Air America, nor any other talk radio for that matter. Talk radio is something that has never grabbed my fancy - think it has to do with all the commercials.

As for biases, you should examine some of your own: you cite the recent Air America and its attacking of Bush et cetera, but conveniently leave out the years of right wing attack radio that has been pummeling the left unrelentlessly.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

What is wrong with pummeling your opponents with defenses of your own posititions and beliefs? But that is not what most leftist progressives do. They attack with hatered towards a president and administration. So much so that I think it really clouds a sensible capacity for logic and reason.

I don't think that a red america has to be built. It is and always has been, for better or worse, red. And I think even you when faced with the tough issues of today would ultimately be at least a little purple.

I'm telling you Scott, you need to listen to Prager or Medved. Just once. I'm not trying to convert you. The beautiful thing about the Podcasts is that the commercials are editted out. Just yesterday Medved had Sam Harris on as a guest. Sam Harris is currently one of the great thinkers of the left. A complete athiest and progressive but the discussion was great none the less. With rare exception, it is things like this that are void on Air America and liberal talk. You know, what I will find a good show and post it here for you to listen to.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

Here is a great show from a couple of weeks ago. Dennis Prager talks with Howard Zinn. Just download and listen at your liesure. I beg you to find anything like this coming from liberal media.

Dennis Prager Howard Zinn Interview

At 8:38 AM, Blogger O'Brien's Briar Patch said...


Come on...there is some of the "liberal" media that allows for what you suggest - take Amy Goodman for one. Bill Moyers is another one. Even Charlie Rose has some good discussions from time to time. There are plenty of good folks out there on the liberal side that can sit down and have a good discussion with many people.

What I think you are avoiding is that Air America is an attempt to fill a void that harsh right wing talk radio has had to itself for so long. That it is trying to be a sort of "red meat" eating alternative to red meat right wing radio. What I find troubling is how folks on the right act as if the liberals invented this method and are doing something new that hasn't been done before.

Also, I think a lot of folks try to assign labels to people like Franken and the method he uses (satire) by claiming it the same thing as what Moyers does. You know, sort of like saying PJ O'Rourke is the same as Bill Buckley.

And I don't want to get into a "tit for tat" discussion, but the vile attacks on a political persuasion has long been perfected by right wing talk radio and long before the emergence of Air America.

One of these days we'll have to get into a discussion involving the biological-physical differences of the liberal and conservative brain (there actually has been some studies indicating the two folks do think in different ways, but that's another story).

At 9:03 AM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

I'm sorry you are right "liberal media" yes.....liberal talk radio is what I should have said. Good catch.

"...but the vile attacks on a political persuasion has long been perfected by right wing talk radio and long before the emergence of Air America. "

So are we supposed to feel bad that liberals could not figure out how to capitalize on American Airwaves? The thing is they still can't, they haven't figured out the appeal. Once they do, then it may catch on. It's kind of like liberals complaining about Carl Rove at the helm of the Bush campaign, They will list all the ways he has "manipulated" the conservative base, but secretly they wish they had someone just like him on their side. The thing is nobody is stopping them from having a "Rove" but themselves.

"One of these days we'll have to get into a discussion involving the biological-physical differences of the liberal and conservative brain (there actually has been some studies indicating the two folks do think in different ways, but that's another story)."

OOOOHHH I can't wait. I am not afraid of what the scientific data will suggest. But I am afraid of how liberals will generaly spin something like that to make everybody a victim. I'm sorry but just because we may have a "biological-physical difference" does not mean you are exhempt from making bad social policy. Or that we religious are missing that "enlightenment" gene.

At 10:23 PM, Blogger O'Brien's Briar Patch said...


Now,, people don't have to feel sorry for the liberals for not being as rabid meat eaters as the conservatives; what I want is for the conservatives to quit whining about getting kicked in the nuts when they have been going around kicking people in the nuts for much longer and much harder. (For example, Limpball once nailed Chelsea Clinton for her looks and then got pissed off at someone for lampooning him for his girth.)

Nah, you missed my point about the biological differences of conservatives and liberals. In some of the reading I've done and observations I've made, it appears liberals and conservatives process information differently and respond to things differently. A sort of left brain, right brain thing.

For example, have you ever thought about why so many in the arts are liberal when contrasted to conservative?

Or here is a test I've been working on: ask a conservative and liberal what they consider to be the strongest representative of liberty or freedom - the US flag or the US Constitiution. Of course this isn't a true scientific measurment, but I think you'll be surprised at how many conservatives say the flag and liberals say the Constitution.

Here's one more: have you considered why conservatives are so successful in the electronic media while liberals find their success in the print media (this is certainly not a claim that conservatives are idiots, because when I used to subscribe to the National Review I was amazed at how complex conservative theory could be).

Really, if you can, pick up that article in the New Republic I mentioned. For those who follow politics, it's really an interesting piece.

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Scott J said...

The Left has controled the 3 national T.V broadcast mediums of nearly 30 years.(ABC,NBC,CBS) Then CNN came along for the ride, next MSNBC to combat the Fox Netowrk, who by the way, is the only T.V news outlet who leans to the right. C'mon, I think it's only fair if the "right" plays on the radio medium and the "left" plays on the broadcast meduim. Hell Dan Rather can be their poster boy.


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