City Journal Winter 2016

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Winter 2016
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Edited By Brian C. Anderson

The Beholden State: California's Lost Promise and How to Recapture It

By Brian C. Anderson and Adam D. Thierer

A Manifesto for Media Freedom.

Eye on the News

Brian C. Anderson
Air America Deflates
The “progressive” radio network isn’t long for this world.
April 29, 2006

Selected Responses:

Sent by Nunya on 05-09-2006:

You morons have been predicting (praying for) the downfall of Air America from day 1. Well, it isn't going to happen. CNN is liberal? Nigger, please. Here's the definition of liberal media: Someone who has the balls to say that the puppet posing as President of our dear country doesn't have 2 cents worth of brains and could not even spell your publication's name. You poor, misguided soul. You must be rich or something. If not, you are more stupid than he is. The man is a complete and total incompetent, lying moron. That is not conjecture. It is a proven fact.

Air America represents the last dying breath of what is left of our democracy. The truth hurts, I know. That's why morons like you want it to go away.

How's that budget deficit doing by the way? Did you cash in on any of it? I thought not. Obviously your ass kissing didn't buy you much.

Sent by B. Samuel Davis on 05-01-2006:

Interesting article. What Air America represented was a chance for Democrats to put their message across in its purest form. In other words, what you heard from Air America was something you rarely hear in the mainstream media - the Democratic party line, "unfiltered." It sure wasn't pretty--this was (and is) true hate radio--all that the left claims for conservative talk radio was out front and center on Air America. It was also a money pit for liberal donors, as (almost) everyone who participated in AAR have done quite well, with dismal results in terms of getting the message across.

So I for one will mourn the downfall of Air America. Nowhere else could you hear the overall bankruptcy of ideas on the left, and nowhere else but on talk radio could you compare and contrast conservatives versus liberals, Democrats against Republicans. The fact that AAR was rejected by even its putative base does not bode well for Democrats, as sooner or later conservatives will get their act together again, and retake the electorate for good.

Just past its second birthday, Air America, the Left’s great hope to defeat the Right in the talk radio wars, has no reason to celebrate. Winter 2006 Arbitron ratings, leaked to Matt Drudge earlier this week and reported in greater detail by the invaluable Radio Equalizer blog, show Air America registering a weak 1.0 share in Los Angeles, an even tinier share in Chicago, and a catastrophic drop in New York City, where flagship station WLIB hemorrhaged nearly half its listenership over the last ratings period, falling from a mediocre 1.4 to a pathetic 0.8 share. That’s smaller than the all-Caribbean format the network replaced when it first launched in New York and nowhere near the ratings of conservative heavyweights like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in the city. Air America’s Gotham numbers are so dismal that WLIB is booting the network off the station later this summer, industry publication Mediaweek has just announced.

You’d think that the public’s growing dissatisfaction with President Bush and the Iraq War would translate into lots of listeners for Air America’s “progressive” talk, especially with the fawning free publicity the network and its top host, comedian Al Franken, have enjoyed from the mainstream press. But even hard-core liberals (who make up only about one-fifth of the American electorate, it’s important to remember) must find Air America’s incessant and often moronic Bush bashing monotonous and unentertaining—the kiss of death for talk radio.

Further, liberals already have NPR—and for that matter, the New York Times, network newscasts, CNN, and most of the mainstream media. Conservative and libertarian voices dominate the radio dial because they offer a much-needed response to the liberal media mainstream. The Right has done well on cable television and in the blogosphere for the same reason. Air America, created and kept afloat by a handful of wealthy liberal financiers, meets no such market demand.

Even as Air America’s hosts snicker about President Bush’s plummeting approval ratings, the network seems destined to disappear from the radio dial before the president leaves the White House.

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