Snivel Radio

Taylor Marsh addresses the Center for American Progress report in the same way that Hugh Hewitt addresses a new football season; with preconceptions firmly in place, and no perspective to lend any credence whatsoever – a shortcoming that is neither of their fault, per se, but still renders their commentary meaningless:

Boy did American Progress stir up a storm. Never has one report gotten so many wingnuts in a tizzy. It’s positively delicious.

Yeah, some of us get that way when half of our political system wants to sodomize the First Amendment.  Some of us even get upset when they come for Taylor Marsh’s freedom of speech.  Not that I’d expect reciprocation.

If your party is in free fall and your base is demoralized what do you do? That is, what do you do if you’re a Republican? You create an issue. Sew panic.

Sew panic.

With the needle of alarm, perhaps?

Perhaps Ms. Marsh means “sow” panic. 

I digress: 

Rev up that fear mongering machine! Never fear, Fox “News” is here. The trouble is that wingnut talk-radio has as much to fear from their own.

She mentions some Fox droid who lamented the likes of Trent Lott – as I, myself, did. 

Next on our incoherent swing through the stream of Ms. Marsh’s consciousness, we get to a big of history.  She actually comes close:

When Reagan deregulated the airwaves and nixed The Fairness Doctrine, up came the rise of Rush.

Unfortunately, throughout the 1990s, Democrats remained clueless. I was talking to people about wingnut radio in the 1990s only to see their eyes glaze over.

Why do I suspect it had nothing to do with the subject?

No, I’m not snarking.  Well, not just snarking.  Because in her next line, Ms. Marsh shows that she’s been toking from the same bong of cluelessness that’s seemed to have driven all liberal talk radio in recent memory, save perhaps Fast Eddie Schultz and Stephanie “Like Laura Ingraham, but Liberal” Miller.  

 Most just wanted radio shows that drew listeners and raised ad revenue. Fine. All I wanted to do was provide a counterpoint. See eyes glaze over again.

“Oh, Christ.  Marsh is babbling about counterpoint again.  Doesn’t that woman understand that radio’s a business, not a hobby?” 

Profit is critical, absolute reality, but outright ownership of the airwaves is the public’s job and there are a lot of liberals in America, as well as independents who deserve to hear more than one point of view without having to pay satellite prices.

I’m a Veronica Mars fan.  Don’t I “deserve” to have my show un-cancelled?  Even though I was part of a cult following that didn’t make the show close to profitable for its network?

Marsh’s paragraph is so full of raw talking points, it’s hard to know where to start.  So let’s start at the top:

  1. Ownership of the airwaves hasn’t been “the public’s job” in the entire history of the medium.  Since the very beginning, the “airwaves” have been a trust, licensed to companies.  The Electromagnetic Spectrum is no more the public’s property than all seawater within 12 miles of the US coast is “government property”. 
  2. Are there a lot of liberals who “deserve” talk radio programming?  I’m sure there are.  And they find it – on NPR, and on middle-of-the-road talk stations like Minneapolis’ WCCO which, while it’s not a Guevara-T-Shirt-wearing, alpaca-clad, Volvo-driving Air America affiliate, certainly skews left of center vastly more than right.  And they found that – Air America – in America’s greatest liberal bastions, New York and Chicago and Portland and San Francisco and Minneapolis, on big, powerful, clear signals.  And they didn’t listen, in droves.  Even after their sole initial major-market success (in Portland, Oregon), the format, as well as the network sank like a rock. 

Back to Ms. Marsh:

When Republicans found out what radio could do their greed reached a peak. They used it on Clinton throughout the 1990s and it worked, with that success fueling more campaigns. They cemented Hillary Clinton’s persona as well. They’re doing it again with immigration, which is what has brought Trent Lott and others out.

The Fairness Doctrine is one issue, but the bottom line truly is regulation of the airwaves so one company and one political party doesn’t own them.

I can almost imagine Ms. Marsh saying the word; “companyandpoliticalparty”.  Like Clear Channel – which owns Rush Limbaugh – is an arm of the GOP.  Of course, Clear Channel si also the company that broadcasts the most “progressive” talk among the majors (behind CBS as a percentage of airtime devoted to liberals – but Clear Channel is much bigger, and accounts for more hours of lefty broadcasting nationwide).  

As if Clear Channel were a Republican operation, and they wouldn’t drop Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh in less than a news cycle if liberal talk got better numbers, and hence more profit.

Ms Marsh repeats – without apparently understanding them – the CAP’s statistics on the comparitive number of hours of conservative vs. liberal talk, and accepts without question their conclusion that “it’s not the market – it’s the ownership”. 

And with that presumption of ownership collusion comes…

Karl Rove has used right-wing radio for years to pump up the EMOTION of right-wingers, because that’s what gets voters to the polls and right-wing radio listeners vote. The same tactics are continued on “Christian” broadcasting networks throughout the country. It is quite simply the most formidably dangerous weapon the Republicans have to wield against Democrats come election time. Local conservative hosts gain trust with listeners to great affect. It hurts Democrats at the polls.

But behind all that is the simple fact that conservative talk radio is powerful because people listen to it. 

Something has to give; something has to be done. The de-regulation of the airwaves was the single most destructive act aimed at the public interest to hit media since talk radio began.

Well, no – in her own words, Ms. Marsh showed that it was the single most destructive act aimed at liberal hegemony over the media.   

A media she is woefully ill-equipped to understand:

As a progressive radio host without a home, except on the web, I don’t expect to stay on the air if I can’t pay the bills.

 What a crock of crap.

Ms. Marsh; you’re on Blog TalkRadio.  Blog Talkradio is free.  Any moron can put a show on BTR (and so can some excellent, talented hosts, like my real-radio colleague Ed Morrissey). 

So don’t be yapping about paying the bills, since you clearly have no understanding of how real radio people do exactly that – and like your liberal-radio friends, the only answer you have is to run crying to government. 

Advertisers and ratings are crucial. But most progressives can’t even find a spot on terrestrial radio from which to launch a show and test it for enough cycles to get ratings. That’s just a fact.

 No, it’s just buncombe.

Air America has been “tested” for four years now.  By the time Rush, Sean, Hugh, Michael, Dennis and the rest of talkradio’s household names had been on for four years, they were all unqualified successes.  Air America peaked within a year of its debut, never made money (and arguably was never intended to), and is circling the drain faster every day.

Sort of like Ms. Marsh’s command of the facts on this issue:

So enter fear mongering. Shaking the radio base. Making them feel they’re going to lose Rush, Sean, et al. Are you kidding? They’re huge money makers and no station manager is going to get rid of them no matter what. 

 No, but that’s not what the Fairness Doctrine would do.  If a station broadcast Limbaugh and Hannity for six hours a day, they’d have to “balance” their schedule with six hours of “progressives” that nobody would listen to, replacing shows that have an audience with six hours of shows that never will.

On the corporate-owned stations of the Salem Network (for one of whom I do the Northern Alliance show on the weekends) which are all-conservative, 24/7, that’d mean a mandatory quota of 12 hours a day of “progressive”, ratings-killing, money-sapping, just-plain-lousy talk.

Raising the fear factor is just a tool to help them get the job done.

The word Ms. Marsh is looking for is “awareness”.

And looking.

And looking.

6 thoughts on “Snivel Radio

  1. As a fellow Veronica Mars fan, I not only deserve another season, I deserve to have Logan wiped from the last season and Wallace back to second billing. Logan was horribly boring last year, Logan and Veronica together doubly so.

    (aside: the creators/writers for VM were self-described liberals, and yet a few conservatives like Mitch and I are fans. We’re also demanding more of it, not equal time for a show written from a conservative point of view.)

    On the other hand, Randy Rhodes could have done her “pretend to shoot the President” bit on a 50kW blowtorch instead of 500 watt daytimers. The old Morning Sedition show on AA could have had many more listeners when they suggested that Bush and Cheney allowed the towers to be hit to drive up oil prices. Iowa’s Tom Harkin may actually have had to live down his suggestion that Christian radio (like Salem) is the American Taliban if anyone actually heard it. In this light, it may be good for America to hear the unhinged left loud and clear. Give them 6 hours a day on KSTP and 100.3 — that may be the GOP’s best bet in 2008.

  2. The problem here is that liberals and conservatives have very different definitions of the concepts of “rights”, “liberty” and “freedom”. We’re speaking different languages.

  3. I’m for the Fairness Doctrine if it applies to entertainment programming. For example, for every show that has Big Business as the villian, they have to produce one where Big Labor is a villian.

    For every program showing the US as having a racist past, they have to produce one showing America as the best country in the world.

    Everytime a white Christian is portrayed as a wacko, they have to have an ACLU member as a bigoted nutcase.

  4. And they found that, in America’s greatest liberal bastions, New York and Chicago and Portland and San Francisco and Minneapolis, on big, powerful, clear signals

    Uh, Mitch? What did they find?

  5. Are there a lot of liberals who “deserve” talk radio programming? I’m sure there are. And they find it – on NPR, and on middle-of-the-road talk stations like Minneapolis’ WCCO which, while it’s not a Guevara-T-Shirt-wearing, alpaca-clad, Volvo-driving Air America affiliate, certainly skews left of center vastly more than right. And they found that, in America’s greatest liberal bastions, New York and Chicago and Portland and San Francisco and Minneapolis, on big, powerful, clear signals

    I think he forgot to put a period at the end.

  6. Logan was horribly boring last year, Logan and Veronica together doubly so.

    No kidding. Huge mistake, IMVMLO

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