With Representative Kucinich already talking about reconstituting the Fairness Doctrineas
far back as January, a far from Conservative radio talker may have provided
said Congress with just the opening it seeks. The ultimate prize the liberals in
Congress are after has nothing to do with race, as always, it's about politics
more than anything else.
Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the “nappy-headed ho's” racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team -- all three broadcast network evening newscasts led with multiple stories on it Tuesday night after it topped CBS and NBC on Monday night, to say nothing of the non-stop cable coverage -- is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show.
And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. “Putting things in perspective,” Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, “despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive with Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS [93.3 FM],” a station most in the DC area can't even receive. Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus. Though he's on in the morning drive, when the most people listen to the radio, his audience is just one-sixth of that of Rush Limbaugh.
Call it a flying-pig moment, or chalk it up to his concern for Dems' long-term best interests if you will. But there's no denying that on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer absolutely unloaded on Nancy Pelosi and her ill-conceived venture into foreign policy.
The segment was entitled "Democratic Diplomacy: Has Pelosi Gone Too Far?", virtually answering the question by its very asking. In the set-up piece, David Gregory rolled two telling clips. The first was of VP Cheney's comments on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday to the effect that Pelosi's statement regarding her trip was"nonsensical." The second was of former congressman Lee Hamilton, warning that if his fellow Dems box in the president on foreign policy, Americans might conclude that the Democrats have gone "too far."
Interviewing Tim Russert at 7:06 AM ET, Lauer came out guns ablazin'.
LAUER: Vice-President Cheney called Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria "bad behavior," a Washington Post editorial on Thursday called it "counter-productive and foolish," and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning goes a step further and suggests her trip may actually have been a felony, that it may have violated something called the Logan Act. Tim, is this the way the Democrats wanted to get off the mark in terms of foreign affairs?
Would you take a paycheck from an organization you consider illegitimate? Neal Gabler apparently would.
"I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me my Kool-Aid," claimed Gabler on this evening's "Fox News Watch." He then proceeded to do just that, claiming that Democrats pulled out of the Fox-sponsored presidential candidate debate in Nevada "for the same reason that Republicans would not go on Air America -- it doesn't make any political sense. Why in the world would you want to legitimize a network that spends hour after hour after hour after hour to, to."
Host of American Public Media's (APM) Marketplace broadcast, Scott Jagow, asked “why would the U.S. or any other country go along” with the European Union's carbon reduction plan if there is “so much skepticism about whether they can actually do it.”
European correspondent Stephen Beard expressed his concern, in the March 8 report, entitled “Climate pressure building in Europe”, saying, “We’ve had already so many examples of performance falling well short of promise” from the European Union’s emission’s trading system and ultimately, "Cutting greenhouse gases is going to involve some economic pain.”
My colleague Paul Detrick regularly monitors public radio and when doing so today he caught this gem from American Public Media's (APM) Marxist Place, er, "Marketplace" program.
A new study finds that high taxes and good healt go together. Researchers say states with higher taxes spend more money on social programs which ultimately leads to healthier kids.
Turns out APM didn't tell listeners about the political donations of the study's liberal author, nor turn to conservative health care experts for criticism or to offer market-oriented solutions to covering more children with health insurance.
After a cozy recounting of the launch of The Politico newspaper (run by ex-Posties), Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz noted leftist radio host Ed Schultz's complaint that Hillary Clinton is inaccessible, and passed on the official response from Team Hillary: "Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines says his boss has 'happily appeared' on Schultz's show at least half a dozen times, including her first national radio interview after being reelected."
That's apparently not enough. On Friday morning's Bill Press radio show, Schultz complained that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has appeared on his show 16 times in the last ten months. He apparently wants frequent access -- and he said it only makes sense, since Hillary was so crucial in creating progressive talk radio. He also slammed John Kerry, believing he would have done better in 2004 with more progressive radio interviews. Ed Schultz, king-maker?
Listening to the Stephanie Miller radio show today on the local Clear Channel "progressive talk" station, I found the trend to rely on comedians for left-wing talk radio entertainment continues. Miller's out, and the guest hostesses are comedian Elayne Boosler and comedy writer Merrill Markoe, still best known for her professional/personal relationship with David Letterman. Today, Boosler joked that Republicans "were so vile" that they were calling Sen. Tim Johnson a "bleeding-brain liberal." It fell so flat, even in the studio, that Boosler tried to point out that it was a joke.
Bloggers have pondered the term, but that was long before Senator Johnson's unfortunate illness.
Yesterday, this dynamic comedy duo was discussing Iraq, and Markoe claimed that Iraq was surrounded by Sunni Arab countries. Boosler weakly suggested "No, I think Iran is Shi'a," but Markoe insisted she was right, and they had to consult someone else to figure it out.
Although not as bumpy as the road the GOP encountered last night, I've hit some turbulence on the first day of my Iraq trip. With weather socked in on the East Coast, my US Airways flight out of our little Ithaca airport was cancelled. A quick phone call later I was on the road to Syracuse. For my sins I decided to listen to Air America all the way - the Stephanie Miller Show as it turned out. They spoke of being in "full gloat mode," and that was no overstatement. Multiple renditions of the "nah-nah-nah-nah, goodbye" song, endless repetitions of Paul Begala's slur of Rush Limbaugh, fantasies of Tom DeLay slipping in his own sick - a class act all around.
Oddly, I didn't find it getting under my skin much. After 12 years in the wilderness, I suppose it's just human nature for Dems to revel in the moment. Every dog has its day. Then again, on election night 1994 I don't recall the GOP revolution, welcome as it was, sending me into paroxysms of puerile chest-pounding. Sidenote: the Air Americans mocked the Fox & Friends cast's notion that, after all, many of the successful Dem candidates were of a moderate to conservative stripe. Miller & Co. are apparently expecting Pelosi to govern in accordance to what they gleefully referred to as her "San Francisco values."
On last night's Fox News Watch, Cal Thomas offered assessments of the way in which the independence of two of his fellow conservative commentators is viewed. While acknowledging that the two top-rated talkers have recently chided the administration, he suggested there is a perception that, by and large, the pair lack political autonomy.
In the context of a discussion of President Bush's efforts to shore up support among conservative radio talk show personalities, Thomas stated:
"Even Rush Limbaugh,whois seen as being in the pocket of the administration, has been critical of Republicans not being more like Republicans."
Media Life magazine had two media experts answer why Air America went south. Nancy Haynes said exactly what I've said from the beginning, that taxpayer-funded radio was the big obstacle, over 700 affiliate stations, a very established network:
Air America has had an especially tough time growing its audience because its affiliates must take listeners almost entirely from other, more-established stations, and the most likely source for Air America to “steal” audience would be from NPR affiliates. Yet NPR's isteners are among radio's most loyal. That's bad news for Air America.
Andrew Ettinger added the other obvious point, that radio dynamos like Limbaugh and Hannity built slowly, from the commercial ground up, not from the philanthropy-driven top down:
Air America is grasping for straws in some mighty odd places. A mass email from Air America host Thom Hartmann today touts the parallels between the plight of the bankrupt left-wing radio network and, of all things, Fox News Channel [FNC] and the Washington Times.
"There are times when doing the profitable thing is also doing the right thing. That's certainly what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch thought when they lost an average of $90 million a year for about five years before the Fox News Channel became profitable."
What a difference a day makes! Just yesterday, as I reported here, pollster John Zogby was boasting of his affiliation with Nova M, the new liberal radio network, heir to the moribund Air America. The headline of the mass email he sent out proclaimed: "Air America Co-Founders Start New Liberal Talk Network: Mike Malloy, Joe Trippi and John Zogby join Nova M Radio."
As he breathlessly announced the "formation of [the] new progressive talk radio network" by a couple of Air America's original founders, Zogby touted his own connection, letting us know that he will be co-hosting a weekly one hour show, “The Pulse of the Nation.” The idea will be for Zogby to "poll particular hot button issues from politics and pop culture to the War in Iraq and stem cell research. Each program will include expert guests and audience participation. At the end of each show John will reveal the secret results of the poll and each listener will then know whether or not they have their finger on 'The Pulse of the Nation!'"
Check out the email below I just received from the Zogby polling group. Anita Drobny and Sheldon Drobny, co-founders of the Air America Radio Network, along with a couple others, are starting a new liberal talk radio network to pick up where Air America is presumably about to leave off. What does it say about the objectivity of Zogby's polling that John Zogby will be a regular contributor?
Air America Co-Founders Start New Liberal Talk Network: Mike Malloy, Joe Trippi and John Zogby join Nova M Radio
Nova M Radio, Inc. based in Phoenix, Arizona officially announced the formation of its new progressive talk radio network. Debuting on the network will be the long awaited return to the airwaves of America’s original “truth-seeker” Mike Malloy. The Mike Malloy Show will initially broadcast live, from 9PM -12 Midnight (EST) beginning October 30,2006 on Nova M Radio affiliate 1480-AM KPHX Phoenix. The Mike Malloy Show will be made available to affiliates across the nation and will also stream live on www.novamradio.com. Malloy on his return to the radio quipped “Yikes! That was close. To not be on the air during perhaps the most critical election in modern U-S history would have been a real bummer. But, we're back and here it is: The Nova M Radio network. Another crack in the wall of right-wing drivel that saturates the airwaves. Join me nightly, truth-seekers and goodbye Air America - hello Nova M!”
Despite heavy promotion from the mainstream media, liberal radio network Air America has filed for bankruptcy. Reports the AP:
Air America Radio, a liberal talk and news radio network that features the comedian Al Franken, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a network official told The AP.
The network had denied rumors just a month ago that it would file for bankruptcy. On Friday, Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn told The Associated Press that the filing became necessary only recently after negotiations with a creditor from the company's early days broke down.
The network will stay on the air while it resolves issues with its creditors, Horn said. In addition to Franken, the network also features shows from liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes and Jerry Springer.
Let's play one of our favorite games: WIACHSI, which of course stands for "What If a Conservative Had Said It?"
Ready? OK, let's play. What if a conservative attacked a female liberal icon by calling her promiscuous? How many Dem pols, NOW leaders, assorted Naomi Wolfs of the world . . . and Air America hosts would be popping up all over the MSM to proclaim their outrage?
And yet, on today's edition of Tucker Carlson, Air America host and class-action trial lawyer [nice two-fer!] Mike Papantonio leveled the loose-woman charge at none other than Ann Coulter.
The subject was a new book, "I Hate Ann Coulter", written by four authors who have chosen to remain anonymous out of their supposed fear of "gun-toting abortion-clinic bombing, self-proclaimed wing nuts who follow Coulter."
Matt Lauer had a chuckle at the expense of his guests - then took Dems to task. Michael Smerconish scolded a Republican. And Meredith Vieira gave further evidence of a style looser than that of her perky predecessor.
That's the nutshell wrap on the first half-hour of this morning's Today.
Politics first. Lauer opened his interview with the chrome-domed duo of James Carville and Philly radio host Michael Smerconish by rubbing his own less-than-hirsute pate and observing with a laugh in the shot captured here: "First time in a long time I feel like I have a luxuriant head of hair."
But things quickly turned serious. Echoing a sentiment expressed by his rookie sidekick yesterday, Lauer left little doubt he feels the Democrats are squandering an electoral opening by failing to propose sufficient specifics on national security. Lauer to Carville: "if you [Dems] ever had an opportunity to take advantage of it, it's now, and the Democrats can't get their act together."
From the comedy grapevine of Air America this morning, host Rachel Maddow (perhaps best known to talk-TV fans as a regular panelist on MSNBC's defunct Tucker Carlson "The Situation" show) followed up on President Bush’s line about defeating the terrorists in Iraq so they don’t “follow us home.” She cracked, “then we’d have to feed them and love them and get them their shots.” (Isn’t that seriously about the way the Left wants us to treat them, as in Gitmo?) Minutes later, Maddow chuckled over this Los Angeles Times story this morning about accidental shootings by Los Angeles police. Scott Glover and Matt Lait claimed "a Times analysis of two decades of police records highlights another danger to officers, one little appreciated even by officials who oversee the department: Officers over those years shot themselves or one another nearly as often as they were shot by suspects."
After being plugged relentlessly by the New York Times and other "objective" media outlets, the ratings for Air America continue to drop. Brian Maloney has the details:
Like an ice cream cone left in the hot July sun, Air America Radio's ratings are melting in some key (read: liberal) regions of the country.
Based on fresh ratings data released Thursday evening, the "progressive" radio network has lost strength in three cities where it had previously found the most listener support: Portland, Seattle and Denver.
Representing the spring 2006 Arbitron reporting period, these results provide one of the two most important report cards for the entire year.
Bill O'Reilly's down to his last strike. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, Bill propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.
While Bill singled out the NY Times as the paper most loath to offend its liberal Jewish readers, he also mentioned the Boston Globe by name on his radio show. As discussed here, the NY Times came out this morning guns ablazin', so to speak, for an immediate cease-fire.
Turns out the Boston Globe has done the same thing. Excerpts from its editorial of today, While Lebanon Burns:
Back to the drawing board for Bill O'Reilly. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, BOR propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.
BOR particularly singled out the New York Times as a paper reluctant to take any positions that could be construed as contrary to Israel's interests. As of this morning's NY Times editorial, No More Foot-Dragging, that theory might be 'inoperative.' For the Times, in flat contradiction of Israeli desires, is now calling for an immediate cease-fire:
Bill O'Reilly got his show off to a surprising start this afternoon, with a novel theory as to why the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in criticizing Israel for its role in the current conflict. During his opening monologue O'Reilly theorized that the papers are fearful of turning off liberal Jewish readers.
As per Bill's hypothesis, papers such as the NY and LA Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post have been taking big hits in readership and profitability. With Fox News Channel's ED Hill in the studio, O'Reilly continued: "liberal Jewish readers are all [those newspapers] have left" as a significant market segment. If the papers were to be too critical of Israel, it could alienate their last remaining readership niche.
Don't know if it will still be up when you go there, but when I went to Google News Top Stories at about 2:25 PM EDT, this is the photo of Rush Limbaugh that I found, accompanying the various stories reporting that Rush will not be charged in the discovery, when recently going through customs, of a prescription medicine not in his name.
NewsBuster Noel Sheppard has written elsewhere about Google's censorship of conservative web sites, and others have accused it of a liberal slant in its selection of stories.
What do you call an ardent Arlen Specter supporter who proposes a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and accuses Republicans of 'chicanery' for introducing proposals on gay marriage and flag burning? Why, a 'conservative' of course - if you're NBC's Today show and your guest is Michael Smerconish.
This is the MSM's means of convincing viewers that there is balance in their choice of guests. As I noted here, the mislabelling reached its pinnacle a while back when Today labelled Bush antagonist Pat Buchanan - someone who left the GOP seven years ago to run against W - a 'Republican strategist.'
Today was back at the name game this morning. As you'll note from the screen grab, it labelled Michael Smerconish a 'conservative.'
Just when you're ready to write Chris Matthews off as a hopeless liberal, he pulls something like he did tonight, criticizing the New York Times for its latest leak of an anti-terror program.
Matthews' guests were the Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan. On the subject of the Times leak, Sharpton predictably proclaimed that the Gray Lady was "absolutely right," while Morgan sided with President Bush. That's when Matthews weighed in with his surprising pronouncement:
"Melanie, on this issue, believe it or not, I'm with you. I think the Times should not have run that story, I don't think we needed to know that. It wasn't really about us; it was of more interest to the enemy."
On Monday’s Diane Rehm show on National Public Radio, the arrogance of The New York Times was on full display. Times reporter Eric Lichtblau was a guest on the program discussing the story the Times published on Friday disclosing a secret anti-terror program designed to follow the money. Among the claims made by Lichtblau were, The New York Times determined this anti-terror program was a matter for national debate, the Bush administration is trying to score political points by feigning outrage over the disclosure of this program, and that none of the sources who disclosed the program had political motives.
Lichtblau ,and fortunately for the war on terror and the national security of America he didn't cite an example to back up this claim, wants listeners to believe:
"Um, you know, we’re not gonna just take a leak and run with it. We, you know, carefully look at the facts of the case to decide whether or not it’s worth publishing and I think it’s important to remember that there’s information that we at the New York Times and other papers keep out of the public domain all the time because we agree that yes, this could compromise a source and method, this could actually help the bad guys."
If the mark of a person at ease with himself is the ability to have a chuckle at his own expense, then Rush Limbaugh is a supremely serene man. In the wake of the incident in which he was detained at the Palm Beach International Airport when it was discovered he had in his luggage a vial of Viagra with a prescription not in his name, you might have imagined that Rush would have begun today's show with an indignant denial of wrongdoing. He might have explained in tedious detail that in fact the prescription had, with personal privacy in mind, been written in his doctor's name.
But no. Rush opened by poking gentle fun at the situation, and even, in the process, at himself:
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, who in March condescendingly charged on Inside Washington that opposition to the UAE ports deals was a “classic for talk radio" since "it's something simple idiots can understand,” on this weekend's edition of the panel show again ridiculed talk radio -- this time as a caldron of “anger” on illegal immigration. But Thomas was dubious about whether the anger is really about immigration, or just where talk radio listeners have parked their incessant anger. He asserted that “in conservative talk radio there's this constant anger and it attaches itself to different issues. It sort of moves around. And right now, or for some months, it's been attached to immigration. What's not clear is whether that moveable anger will just find some other issue if Congress does nothing...”
CBS radio news just ran an item on the departure of Dan Rather. There was a surprising bit of candor in which CBS reported that Rather had "expressed frustration, feeling he'd been shelved by the network."
There was also a bit of - presumably - unintentional humor. We were treated to a clip of the Washington Post's [very liberal] media critic Tom Shales informing us that Rather "was a very activist anchor, and he changed the role of anchor."
Talk radio show host Michael Smerconish appeared on tonight's Scarborough Country to promote his suggestion, set forth in this column, Cut Coulter Loose, that the GOP disavow Ann Coulter for the statements in her most recent book, 'Godless', about the 9/11 Jersey Girl widows .
Smerconish told Scarborough that the Republican party needs to "make clear" that Coulter's comments are "appalling."
Scarborough sympathized, saying that Coulter's Jersey Girl comments "need to be condemned." He complained that when you do criticize Coulter, "conservatives accuse people like us of being traitors."