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The Collective
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
By Steven Taylor

Here’s a lengthy AP story on the show’s debut: Yahoo! News - A Liberal Voice Debuts on Talk Radio.

And here’s why the whole process is probably doomed, at least if the goal is to find the “liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh”:

“I don’t think of it as a business, but I know it has to make money to be sustaining,” Franken said in an interview, perching his feet up on the desk after a rehearsal session for the show. “A lot of it is mission.”

Given that Limbaugh had a passion for broadcasting (and whether you love him or hate him, he is good at the craft of radio) and that his goal was to make a living at the enterprise, the issue of understanding that he was in a business was key. This idea that Air America is a bunch of crusaders out to change the world is all fine and good, but isn’t a particularly good business model.

However, it does have a stereotypically liberal mindset: that good feelings and wanting to “do the right thing” will conquer all-ignoring the fact that there are other versions of what the “right thing” is in the minds of other people as well. And that if one is going to engage in what is ultimately a business venture, then a sound product is needed.

And while Limbaugh notes that his success isn’t predicated on who wins elections, this appears not to be the case for AA, at least in terms of their motivations:

“We are flaming swords of justice,” Franken told a cheering crowd at a party to launch the network Tuesday night. “Bush is going down, he is going down, he is going down. And we’re going to help him.”

Again, I welcome more talk on the radio, and would love for there to be a panoply of options on the AM dial in terms of political diversity. But this enterprise has always seemed too contrived to work, and I still have a hard time taking Franken or Garofolo seriously as political analysts. They strikes me more as dilettantes.

Still, I guess we will see. I wouldn’t predict a rating bonanza, however.

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  1. it does have a stereotypically liberal mindset: that good feelings and wanting to “do the right thing” will conquer all

    Hey, that’s not the sole domain of liberals. The whole “we’ll invade Iraq and the flower of liberal democracy will bloom under the tender guidance of Chalabi while Terrorists are swept asside in a reverse domino wave across the mideast - all in under a year” was pretty much just a reliance on good feelings (and crony capitalism) and wanting to “do the right thing” will conquer all.

    Comment by Hal — Wednesday, March 31, 2004 @ 9:52 pm

  2. I just started an AirAmerica monitoring blog called (until that domain becomes active, use this).

    BoreAmerica will be reporting on lies, prevarications, outrageous statements and other fun things sure to be heard on AirAmerica. We’ll feature satires of AirAmerica, news of its contributors, and no doubt much more.

    This will be a group blog, and I’m looking for other bloggers who want to contribute. Details here.

    Comment by The Lonewacko Blog — Wednesday, March 31, 2004 @ 11:32 pm

  3. It looks more and more like an 8 month infomercial for John Kerry.

    Comment by Paul — Thursday, April 1, 2004 @ 4:29 am

  4. Hal,

    I honestly think that some sort of stable secular semi-democratic government has a far higher probability of success than does this radio network. And I am not being snarky, I am quite serious.


    Comment by Steven — Thursday, April 1, 2004 @ 7:01 am

  5. Steven you inspired me.

    Comment by Paul — Thursday, April 1, 2004 @ 9:38 am

  6. Do you think we could get Sharon to make Franken uninsurable?

    Comment by Dick — Friday, April 2, 2004 @ 8:25 pm

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