Essay: Newsweek and Air America Join Forces -- Both Reputations Tarnished

Notes: This first appeared in today's Human Events.   We first reported this on March 11th.

NewsBusters.org | Media Research Center
A Gust of Hot Air (America)

It's official -- what we the sentient public, doctor and dentist patients in waiting rooms across America and the eight diehards still subscribing have long known: Newsweek is a horrendously biased left-wing rag. 

Newsweek announced on Tuesday that they are partnering with liberal radio uber-failure Air America to syndicate their show Newsweek On Air.  They are the first outside "talent" to join with the newly rechristened Air America Media (AAM). 

Longtime Newsweek On Air producer and host and Newsweek Contributing Editor David Alpern said of the conjoining, "AAM Syndication is a great partner for Newsweek On Air. We look forward to maintaining the same high-quality content, balance, and listener interest that has won our program various awards and a place on so many station schedules, some for nearly all of its 27 years on the air."

After more than a quarter century of their "balanced" programming, I would venture to guess that most of you have never heard of Newsweek On Air.  This state of anonymity will likely continue with their Air America Media partnership.  It seems they sought to collaborate with an entity whose listenership mirrors their readership - minimal and declining rapidly.

What is it that has Newsweek thinking that Air America Media is such a "great partner?"  Is it that they are they looking forward to sharing the same airwaves that gave us the likes of Mike Malloy, who on February 3, 2009 said "the Republican Party needs to be executed, preferably at dawn, preferably without a last cigarette" and the next day proffered "the Republican Party needs to be murdered"? 

Or perhaps it's someone more like Thom Hartmann, who on January 23rd of this year alleged that the 2001 anthrax mailings to then Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy were an inside job designed to scare these two into allowing a vote on the Patriot Act? "Now you tell me that that's a coincidence and I'll tell you, and if you really believe that's a coincidence, I got a bridge to sell ya in Brooklyn."

Neither of these integrity-riddled broadcasters is still with AAM, which must be a disappointment to the folks at Newsweek.  But it is into this cesspool that they are now enthusiastically diving.  They must be so proud.  

And is the timing of this partnership announcement coincidental, or just really stupid? 

The same week Newsweek announces that they now have new skin in the radio game, they use their cover and the accompanying story to bash Rush Limbaugh, the undisputed king of syndicated talk and someone who is ideologically opposed to the magazine's new syndication partner. Thereby hiding their new business interests -- and their old ideological ones -- behind the battered veneer of their journalistic integrity.

It's Pepsi assaulting Coca-Cola under the guise of objective reporting.

And as if they were priming the partnership pumps, when Air America Radio launched in 2004 Newsweek did a fawning, glowing three-page announcement story featuring host Al Franken -- including a President Bush-mocking "photo illustration" of Franken standing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

After what we witnessed from the media during their coverage of the 2008 Presidential campaign, these sorts of things are less and less surprising.  And we will be seeing more and more of them. 

Last year, the press sold out in a whole new way to now-President Barack Obama.  They've always been this biased; never before have they been this blatant.  In 2000, they wanted Al Gore to win; in 2004, they wanted John Kerry to win.  But in 2008, they took an active, participatory role in ensuring Obama won.  And over the course of their coverage, they became decreasingly concerned about hiding it or who knew it.   

So it should not surprise us when things like Newsweek partnering with Air America occur.  This is just the official inking of the deal.  The agreement had long ago been reached.  Newsweek themselves brought on Daily Kos mega-liberal Markos Moulitsas as a contributor in 2007, but claimed to have "balanced" it out by also adding Karl Rove. 

It speaks volumes that Newsweek views as equals a man who managed two successful campaigns for the White House and someone who wrote in April 2004 of the Blackwater contractors slaughtered in Fallujah, Iraq "I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. [sic] ... Screw them."

Were we at the Media Research Center to write any of this into our intentionally (and extraordinarily) humorous DisHonors Awards Gala script for next week, at which we make much fun of the unintentionally (and painfully) humorous media, I'm not sure it would play.

For all good humor must be rooted in truth, and this would seem just too... fanciful to be true.

Sadly, it is indeed another frightening reality in the Brave New Post-Obama Media World.   
Seton Motley
Seton Motley
Founder and president of Less Government.