Bad content? Bad business model? No, those reasons aren't why Air America is no longer with us. Air America, a radio network advertised as the next talk radio juggernaut in 2004, was supposed to revolutionize the format and provide a "counterweight" for those left-of-center politically.
But there's another reason according to HLN host and "The View" panelist Joy Behar. In the usual fashion of citing no statistics and making sweeping generalizations, Behar blamed the collapse of liberal talk radio outlet Air America on a gender gap in listeners on her Jan. 25 HLN broadcast.
"Ok, but can I say that men listen to talk radio more than women and men are more conservative, generally speaking," Behar said, proposing a reason for Air America's bankruptcy.
As usual, ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored Friday’s March for Life protest. (Even the Associated Press skipped over the tens of thousands marching.) But the PBS NewsHour at least offered a brief from news anchor Hari Sreenivasan:
Thousands rallied in Washington in the annual March For Life. It was the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion. The anti-abortion crowd rallied at the White House, and then moved on to the Supreme Court. A handful of abortion rights supporters were also present.
NPR covered the trial on the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller on Friday night (as well as Friday morning), but had no March for Life mention. On the afternoon talk show Tell Me More, host Michel Martin interviewed Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life. But the pro-life movement was harshly smeared by late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart in an interview that led off that same show:
Whatever version of healthcare reform President Obama gets from Congress will look nothing like the promises he made while campaigning.
According to NPR, it has nothing to do with Obama belting empty campaign slogans. Rather, NPR fired off a litany of conservative bogeymen, from Republicans to moderate Democrats to Sarah Palin's "death panels" to explain why Obama's campaign message has failed to materialize.
In an article printed Thursday called "Why Public Support For Health Care Faltered," NPR, in cooperation with Kaiser Health News, began with the assumption that President Obama really meant his dream of healthcare for all that would magically be free:
For those who insist that National Public radio is an oasis of civility and sweet reason on the radio dial, there is a brand new rebuttal. His name is Fred Fiske. On Thursday, he devoted a three-minute, unrebutted commentary to insisting that he calls Rush Limbaugh’s radio network "Excrement In Broadcasting."
When are they scheduling the three-minute rebuttal?
For years, WAMU, the NPR station based at American University in northwest D.C., foisted left-wing talk show host Fiske on the nation’s capital. Fiske is now mostly retired, but his commentaries for WAMU have recently been airing on Thursday mornings in drive time at roughly 8:50 am. Fiske was merely the latest in a series of leftists to take Limbaugh’s comments out of context, and insist he told people not to donate to Haitian earthquake relief.
That's not what Rush said. The controversy-proking Limbaugh transcript is here. Limbaugh insisting the next day he was questioning the efficacy of government donations, not private donations is here.
Time writer Richard Corliss lamented the decline and fall of Air America radio Thursday, and the decline of the Democrats: "It died a year and a day after Barack Obama's Inauguration, and two days after Obama's Democrats all but officially became a minority party in the U.S. Senate." Despite that pessimistic note, Corliss insisted that Air America’s failure said absolutely nothing about the appeal of liberalism in America:
So why is poli-talk radio so dominated by Limbaugh, when the country is not? Because, even for people who don't agree with him, he can be monstrously entertaining; he makes great radio. He and his clones may dominate as a radio format, and energize the conservative base and annoy liberal politicians, but their success is not a reflection of the mood of the country at large. And in the ratings, the whole contingent of the Radio Right is outpointed by NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." That's where the liberal listeners so desired by Air America went for their news and (covert) commentary.
Some of us told anyone who would listen in 2004 that Air America would have serious trouble succeeding in commercial radio when liberals already had a station in most American cities in their NPR news and talk station. But it’s funny that Corliss would use supposedly balanced, taxpayer-funded NPR to be the ideological opposite of conservative talk radio.
It is a strange paradigm among much of the mainstream media that plummeting poll numbers are of far greater import for Republicans than they are for Democrats. That, at least, is the logical conclusion of the relative silence of major media outlets on the steep decline in President Obama's poll numbers compared with the decline in President Bush's.
According to an Allstate/National Journal poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of Americans would vote against President Obama if the presidential elections were held today. Only 39 percent say they would vote to re-elect the president.
But so far, this stunning development--given the President's sky-high approval ratings upon entering office--has gone seemingly unnoticed by the major television networks and most prominent print publications. Aside from some prominent blogs (whose coverage is by no means substandard), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner are so far the only major outlets to report on the poll, according to a google news search (as of 2:00 PM).
If there was ever any doubt National Public Radio had a political slant, check out the animated video posted on the network's Web site. That should clear up any doubt.
This video dated Nov. 12, 2009 was created by Mark Fiore, a political animator, who NPR reports is described by The Wall Street Journal as "the undisputed guru of the form." The video demonstrates for viewers how to speak "tea bag," which is a term lefties for whatever reason seem to find absolutely hilarious. (h/t Jesse Hathaway via Bob Parks). Transcript as follows:
Moderator: Finally, learning a new language doesn't have to be hard. You can be fluent in conversational tea bag in just a few short minutes. Lesson one: Don't get distracted by the confusing words of other languages. Character: I think the public option and the competition it would foster would really -- socialist, socialist. Moderator: Good, very good. Lesson two: If you're having trouble understanding the words of others or being understood yourself, use teabag's stronger, more descriptive words. Character: The Nazi, Nazi, Nazi
Lefty author Margaret Atwood has created, in the form of a novel, the environmentalist's bible. "The Year of the Flood", as it is titled, is not merely a figurative bible for a dispersed and sporadic collection of greenies, but rather a sacred testament (the author says as much) for a movement that, every day, looks more like a church--complete with sin, salvation, and saints (one of whom is--you guessed it--Al Gore).
In an interview with Atwood, National Public Radio's Steve Inskeep described "The Year of the Flood" as gloriously melding science and religion into a harmonious enviro-theology. Atwood "thinks that in the future we could see a religion that combines religion and science," Inskeep states.
But the more the listener learns about Atwood's novel, the more he or she realizes that the book does not meld science and religion. Rather, it does away with religion and replaces it with radical environmentalism. Here is an excerpt from the NPR interview (h/t CATO's David Boaz):
Here’s how National Public Radio celebrates the week before Christmas, with cutesy ukelele songs about feminism. On Monday, the nationally distributed talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross rebroadcast a 2007 interview with leftist singer Nellie McKay (pronounced to rhyme with rye), who has a new album out of Doris Day covers. McKay began the replayed segment by performing a song called "Mother of Pearl" that's sort of a cousin of "Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter." The lines in parentheses were usually spoken, as the voice of sexist conservatives:
Feminists don't have a sense of humor (Tsk, tsk, tsk)
Feminists just want to be alone (Boo, hoo, hoo, hoo)
Feminists spread vicious lies and rumor
They have a tumor on their funny bone
So far, so good, but then the feminist satire kicks in:
They say child molestation isn't funny (Ha, ha, ha, ha)
Rape and degradation's just a crime (Lighten up, ladies.)
Rampant prostitution, sex for money (What's wrong with that?)
Can't these chicks do anything but whine? (Dance break!)
National Public Radio covered the "Code Red" protests against liberal health "reform" plans on Tuesday night’s All Things Considered newscast, but the tone wasn’t loaded with respect. Correspondent Andrea Seabrook, the same reporter who recently bowed before Michelle Obama on NPR as "the perfect mix of personable and formal, poise and personality," played up a dorks-with-pitchforks angle for conservative protesters.
Seabrook found a man with a papier-mache pitchfork and torch and sneered: "They're happy to tell you they're the right-wing mob, several hundred people gathered to listen to their favorite conservative lawmakers."
Several hundred? NPR’s estimate was way below a report from Politico, which estimated attendance as "several thousand." Seabrook concluded with brio that the protesters wanted to "shove the entire health care bill off a cliff." Here’s how it sounded:
Public-radio host Garrison Keillor isn’t just convinced that NPR saves the lives of outraged right-wingers in heavy traffic. He also believes that socialists are the forces of Christmas, and for conservatives to oppose the nationalization of health care is just like opposing the message of Christmas. His latest anti-conservative screed appeared at The New York Times website:
Christmas is one of the bulwarks of Life As We Know It, and in these parlous times we cling to its classic truth, which is: Rejoice, be not afraid, and show mercy to the poor and outcast, for it was through such people that Jesus came into the world. Dickens' ancient novella, written in a big rush because he was low on cash, is on the silver screen again, and Scrooge is moved by the Spirits to share the wealth with his downtrodden clerk.
Public-radio broadcaster/merchandiser/multi-millionaire Garrison Keillor answered "Ten Questions" for Time magazine, none of them challenging to his liberal pomposity. Only one turned political:
What role do you feel public radio plays in America today? – Cameron Homer, Pocatello, Idaho
Its role is to talk to people who are stuck in traffic. And conservatives become incensed enough listening to public radio that it keeps them awake so they don't drive into a fire hydrant. That's what we do: we save the lives of thousands of right-wingers every year. And they never thank us for it.
Besides being the host of "A Prairie Home Companion," Keillor is also an author, including the book Homegrown Democrat. Notice the conservative-bashing from the book jacket:
Talk about an inconvenient truth. In ever-increasing numbers, Americans are becoming skeptical about the scientific argument that there’s a man-made global-warming crisis that requires immediate and drastic government action. The media’s enablers of the radical environmental left have a response: maybe America just isn’t smart or curious enough to save the planet. In fact, they say our growing denial is making us nationally irrational.
On Monday, National Public Radio’s "Morning Edition" ran a story by science correspondent Richard Harris. He worried out loud about a new Harris Poll showing that 51 percent of the American public believes that the carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere could warm up our planet. That’s down from 71 percent just two years ago. That’s a free-fall.
Harris found an expert from Yale to explain this decline is based on our poor economy. People are too worried about their jobs to care about the fate of the entire globe. In a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, that’s why climate came in dead last of 20 issues of concern.
For the dog-bites-man news category: Joe Scarborough had a moment of intellectual schizophrenia today.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist and Politico.com executive editor Jim VandeHei were discussing a Politico story about internal political pressures at National Public Radio (NPR). Apparently, NPR's top political correspondent Mara Liasson was asked by NPR executives to reconsider her appearances on Fox News, for concerns over Fox's perceived political bias.
The Obama Administration isn't the only government-funded entity campaigning against Fox News. "NPR reporter pressured over Fox role" headlines an article by Josh Gerstein on Politico's Web site. It begins:
Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.
According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network’s supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.
At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.
Tuesday night’s state dinner was yet another occasion for the media to fumble around in the basket of superlatives for the Obamas. In a typically unctuous passage on Wednesday, Washington Post writers Robin Givhan and Roxanne Roberts declared the First Lady had brought sexy glamour back to the capital:
The first lady, however, was the star of the show. She glittered in a strapless silver, embroidered gown by the Indian-born designer Naeem Khan. She wore her hair swept back and had piles of sparkling "churis," traditional Indian bracelets, on her wrist. Her ensemble announced that no-holds-barred, Hollywood-style sexy glamour had arrived in Washington.
Left unsaid (but implied): Laura Bush was a sexless, paint-by-numbers wallflower. NPR reporter Andrea Seabrook filed a giddy story on her personal feelings for Wednesday’s Morning Edition that delved into Shakespeare for inspiration: ‘The whole room had a kind of ‘Midsummer Night's Dream’ feeling." Seabrook also thought Mrs. Obama was just perfect:
If someone decided to commit mass murder after hearing hot talk on the radio, NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr wouldn’t really suggest blaming the talk radio host. He’d suggest blaming the radio itself. That’s the weird tone of his Wednesday commentary, titled "Was the Internet Complicit in Fort Hood Shooting?"
Schorr explored blame for that mysterious "series of tubes" that is the Internet: "From what is publicly known about Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused killer of 13 in a rampage at Fort Hood, he had no accomplice — unless you count the Internet in which he communed, exchanging sinister thoughts with an extremist cleric."
This is the kind of analysis that would inspire humor, if it wasn't already odd: if we can blame the Internet for Fort Hood, does that mean Al Gore is somehow responsible for the tragedy?
The long-time CBS correspondent didn’t really want to rush to blame a radical imam for Major Hasan’s violent turn:
Last week, NPR president Vivian Schiller took questions briefly on washingtonpost.com about the taxpayer-funded radio network. When the liberal-bias question came up, she claimed "NPR tilts left! NPR tilts right! Frankly, we hear it equally from both sides -- or should I say from ALL since most issues are not that linear. The fact is, NPR takes NO sides."
When someone discussed the regular commentaries of NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr, she claimed: "Dan Schor [sic] is a liberal commentator. I will not deny that is true. So what do we do about that? We balance his views with those of conservative guest commentators who frequently appear on our airwaves."
But what if those conservative guests just happen to take a stand NPR likes? Case in point: on Tuesday night’s All Things Considered, NPR touted a Sarah Palin book review by "conservative columnist" Rod Dreher, who concluded: "She quotes her father's line upon her resignation this summer as Alaska's governor: Sarah's not retreating, she's reloading. On evidence of this book, Sarah Palin is charging toward 2012 shooting blanks."
Speaking of blanks, did Dreher really read the whole book? On his Beliefnet blog yesterday, Dreher blogged at 12:35 pm that he was 100 pages in. All Things Considered starts airing locally at 4 pm. Did he really finish the book and write a script before the taping?
On Monday night’s All Things Considered newscast on National Public Radio, reporter Joseph Shapiro recounted the sympathetic story of Regina Holliday, who lost her 39-year-old husband Fred to kidney cancer. Holliday painted a mural in Washington demanding "We Need Health Reform Now." (It’s headlined "A Widow Paints a Health Care Protest" and it's the most popular story on Wednesday at NPR.org.)
But Shapiro’s story actually skimmed over just how passionately ideological Holliday’s mural is. She's amazed anyone could possibly be against health reform. On her blog she explained that she painted her opponents as a little girl in a red, white, and blue outfit: "I wondered 'Howcan you be against this?' Then I realized they were acting like people who have been abused. She is a pretty little girl with welts on her legs..." [Italics hers.]
On air, NPR stuck to the heart-tugging narrative. The politics emerged late in the story:
As reports of the Fort Hood shooting began to pour in yesterday, numerous news outlets neglected to mention that the shooter is a Muslim. Either the potential import of this fact was completely lost on these journalists, or they omitted the shooter's Muslim affiliations out of a concern for political correctness.
CBS and NBC both omitted the shooter's faith in their East Coast feeds last night, as reported by Brent Baker. The Los Angeles Times left key facts out of its report, published at 9:46 EST (which has since been edited), even though other other media outlets had reported them. Among these was that shooter Nidal Malik Hasan was Muslim, and that he had previously expressed on an Internet forum affinity for suicide bombers.
The Associated Press reported at 8:15 EST that Hasan had "come to the attention" of Army officials at least six months ago for these Internet posts.
CNN’s Carol Costello began a new series on political talk radio on Monday’s American Morning, suggesting it was unfairly dominated by conservatives, and brought on a liberal psychiatrist who theorized that Rush Limbaugh has an audience because he’s “operating like the bully, and if you’re on the playground...you want to be...under the bully’s wing and go along with him and get...some power by proxy.”
The correspondent’s report, which aired just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was the first installment in a “special series on talk radio,” according to anchor John Roberts. Costello zeroed in on the listeners and why the format “can capture people for such long periods of time.” A graphic on the screen during her report heralded “anger on the air: what listeners don’t know about talk radio.” [MP3 audio available here]
Towards the end of her report, the CNN correspondent played a sound bite from radical left-wing host Randi Rhodes, who speculated that “the reason they don’t passionately listen to liberal talk radio is access” (Costello outrageously downplayed Rhodes’s political leanings by describing her as someone whom “many consider a liberal talker”). The “liberal talker” noted that apparently, “ninety-one percent of talk radio is conservative.” Costello continued that “according to Talkers magazine, liberal talkers fill just nine percent of the nation’s news talk radio on the commercial dial. Change that, Rhodes says, and liberal listeners would listen just as much.”
National Public Radio is making a change and has sent out a "guidance" email to member stations on the issue.
NPR'S deputy senior supervising editor Joe Neel drafted an e-mail that was sent out Oct. 14 to member stations addressing the number of uninsured. The e-mail clarified proper use of Census Bureau statistics and advised staff to "avoid the construction '46 million Americans.'" That number has been a flashpoint throughout the health care debate.
The NPR e-mail said, "We are sticking with the 46 million number issued by the Census Bureau in September (for 2008). It's the number of people in the U.S. who lack insurance coverage at any point during the prior 12 months. It includes citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants."
Forwarding a press release from a GOP Senate candidate to his Dem opponent, an NPR News Director called the Republican a "nimrod." Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill" column has the [subscription-required] story, which it describes as "another tale of e-mail forwarding gone wrong" [emphasis added]:
Army Col. Conrad Reynolds is one of several Republicans vying to take on Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) for Arkansas’ Senate seat in 2010. Reynolds’ campaign issued a press release last week blasting Lincoln for a vote, and among those who received it was Greg Chance, the news director of an NPR affiliate based at Arkansas State University.
It seems Chance attempted to forward the e-mail to Katie Laning Niebaum, Lincoln’s Washington-based communications director. In his forward, which HOH obtained, Chance mocked the press release and even the campaign’s logo, which features the Army colonel insignia.
“There was another one from this nimrod earlier today which I lost. I just love his logo. That ought to go over really well with the enlisted people. (ha ha),” he writes.
The folks at National Public Radio really don’t like Fox News. They don’t like NPR people on Fox News. When the NPR talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross wanted to discuss Fox News and its role in nurturing tea-party protests, they gave 40 minutes to David Weigel of the left-wing site The Washington Independent. It had the usual tone of exploring the dark side of the moon. Gross led off the show discussing the new conservative protests:
It's a right-wing movement that has been interrupting town hall meetings, staging tea party protests, and challenging Obama's citizenship. The new influence of Fox News TV host Glenn Beck was demonstrated by the 9/12 March on Washington, which he promoted on his show.
To NPR, apparently every Tea Party protester is a birther, and every conservative question at a town hall meeting was an "interruption." They discussed his article on the recent Values Voter Summit for Christian conservatives first, and then turned to the topic of Fox:
The public-broadcasting-insider newspaper Current passed along a survey from The Chronicle of Philanthropy on executive compensation at large nonprofits in 2008. The salaries can be higher than the current presidential salary of $400,000 (and the current congressional salary of $174,000). The list includes national executives and leaders at large stations like WNET (New York), WETA (Washington), WTTW (Chicago), and KCET (Los Angeles.)
Former NPR C.E.O. Kenneth Stern, who departed in 2008, is atop the pubcasting list, receiving $1,319,541 as part of his four-year contract. Another former exec, PBS C.O.O. Wayne Godwin, who served from 2000 to 2008, was paid $398,063. Current PBS C.E.O. Paula Kerger, $534,500, up from $424,209 at end of fiscal 2007.
Has the Dem infighting for 2012 begun? Is Hillary exploiting Pres. Obama's waffling over Afghanistan to launch an offensive against her ostensible boss?
The question arises after former senior Clinton aide Dee Dee Myers described PBO as looking "indecisive" and "pushed around" in his handling of Afghanistan, and Hillary herself laid down a heavy marker, describing in graphic terms the dangers of an al Qaeda resurgence were the Taliban permitted to succeed.
That, and the Washington Post reports on how ACORN was just "playing along" with the sting artists who caught them on videotape. You knew that was coming, didn't you? You already know that the freelance sting artists who zapped ACORN are being -- and have been -- referred to as "racists" and puppets of conservative radio and Fox News. Now, ACORN is utilizing a tried and true (but not very successful) tactic: Explaining that they were just "playing along" with the "ridiculous scheme."
I'm old enough to remember the famous (or infamous) Abscam sting of the early 1980s. One of the representatives who was convicted of taking bribes -- Richard Kelly -- famously (and hilariously) defended his illegal actions by claiming he was "undertaking his own investigation" and "spent part of the [bribe] money to maintain his cover." It didn't work. Kelly spent thirteen months in the federal pen.
But more interestingly on their Two-Way news blog, NPR's Frank James blames not ACORN itself, but society:
NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr recited the socialist sermon on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered: nationalized health care "would save many lives," and all that bother about providing taxpayer-subsidized abortions and health care for illegal aliens are tiresome "distractions" from the urgent need for more government. Schorr lamented:
Barring illegal from insurance benefits doesn't bar them from receiving treatment in a hospital emergency room. ERs have become the place of treatment of last resort for too many people here legally or illegally. T.R. Reid tells of a dramatic case in his book "The Healing of America." Nikki White lost her job and health insurance as a result of having a type of lupus. Because of her pre-existing condition, she couldn't get new health insurance. Eventually, she collapsed and was taken to the emergency room. Three doctors undertook to treat her until her condition stabilized. That involved six months in critical care and 25 surgical operations. Then she went home, still without insurance, and died at the age of 32. Her doctor, Amylyn Crawford, said: Nikki died of complications of the failing American health care system.
A new Investor’s Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) don’t back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if the liberal health care plan passes.
Earlier this week, as the front-page story in today’s Investor’s Business Daily noted, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story touting the American Medical Association (AMA)’s backing of President Obama’s health care plans, while a National Public Radio publicized a poll funded by a pro-ObamaCare group to claim that “nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option.”
The IBD/TIPP poll of 1,376 physicians suggests that the AMA does not represent most doctors as it advertises and lobbies on behalf of the administration’s plan, and offers a second opinion to the poll (of 991 physicians) originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting strong support for a bigger government role.