Lizz Winstead is in for Ed Schultz today.
Category: Left of the Dial
A Sad Song Just to Turn it Around
What a baaaaaaaaaaad day.
Awful. Just awful. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwful.
The Supreme Court has just put American democracy up for sale on Ebay. Not that it wasn’t already leased.
Here’s what President Obama had to say about today’s decision:
With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.
This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington—while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.
That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.
Isn’t he cute?
How the hell are you going to do that, Barry? Corporations can buy Congress now. And, by the way, how are you going to do all this banking stuff when corporations can buy Congress now? Hell. How are you going to do anything?
There is nothing to be done about this legislatively, nothing that can be done quickly to change this. This is the main reason that progressives MUST support Obama through to a second term even if they find him lacking. Obama must be allowed to change the 5-4 imbalance on the Supreme Court. Or, the Constitution must be amended to clarify that a corporationâ€”a word that DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE CONSTITUTION ONCEâ€”IS NOT A PERSON.
I say, if it can’t scratch its ass, it’s not a person.
I do often wonder if the Tea Baggers understand what the Boston Tea Party was actually aboutâ€”a protest of a multinational CORPORATION allowed to run amok.
We’re gonna need a new tea party, and I don’t mean one of these lame and sometimes racist events we saw in Hot Stupid August.
And OH! Poor Air America!
I was such a fan. I even coughed up $50 when Danny Goldberg came around with his hat held out. (The bumper sticker is still on my beloved jalopy.) AAR started out with the right idea but soon lost its nerve after Evel Cohen screwed them. Then Goldberg screwed them from the back, cutting loose the network’s finest product, the wonderful Morning Sedition. That would be the full arc of AAR’s shark-jump.
It was downhill from there. Having cut its finest ensemble cast, it allowed other casts to go by way of attrition, replacing them, likely to save a few shekels, with 1A1M* programming. THEN they fired their BEST 1A1M practitioner, one Randi Rhodes, ostensibly** because she called Hillary Clinton a whore, not on the air, mind you, but in front of a crowd after dark in Sam Framcisco. And they fired Kent Jones. And so on, and so on. As of its current incarnation, the lineup is so awful I don’t even know what it is. Lionel and Montel Williams? Please.
I know this isn’t a good time for the business of media. AAR’s statement mentions this. But, Air America, I’m sorry, pal. You did it to yourself.
Fortunately, AAR’s near six-year run buoyed a lot of careers. It spawned the wonderful Rachel Maddow and sent her to the big time. Its turbulence caused many liberal talkers to strike out on their own or to strike deals with larger media companies. It also raised awareness of the existence of them and others who were never branded AAR. And, how could one fail to mention that Air America Radio was the bridge for one fellow from comedian to Senator?
Ted Baxter of Fox “News” and his progeny will have a lot of fun with this. They’ll gloat. They’ll trumpet the failure of Air America Radio. And yes, at the core of it, AAR may have failed. But the success that has rippled as a result of its existence has been stellar. And liberal talk radio is not dying, suckers. In fact, we went and jumped to TEEVEE!
So long, Air America Radio. It’s a shame because with today’s decision by SCOTUS, we may actually need you now more than ever.
*One Asshole, One Mic
**Rhodes later explained on-air that AAR was actually trying to leverage her to alter her contract…
Rendering History As So Much Gibberish
Am knee-deep in The Thom Hartmann Show today. He’s addressing good stuff, specifically the outlandish shenanigans the Conservabots are performing with regards to American history. Glenn Beck, apparently, has now co-opted the memory of one Thomas Paine:
Do we really think that Paine ever said “we’re mad as hell?” Thom Paine was that century’s Howard Beale? Really?
Hartmann has also pointed out the intellectual disingenuous of these crappy tea parties, considering that the original Tea Party was in part a protest of the occupying government’s favoring one corporate interest over another. It was in part waged over the issue of fair trade, but I betcha the idea of protecting our markets these days would go over like a led balloon at these parties. More popularly, of course, The Tea Party was about “taxation without representation.” Which is utterly more stupid because there’s only one corner of the country that can legitimately claim that malady…that would be the locale that George Clinton used to call “Chocolate City…” Hmmm… You reckon a lot of the disenfranchised of Washington, D.C. will be showing up at these parties?
Liberal Talk Radio Will Eat Itself
Another casualty in Moonbat Radio land, as reported by LTR: Peter B. Collins is retiring from the radio biz. Gosh, this economy is really starting to look like it’s whupping our asses. I like ol’ Peter B. all right. He guested for Mad Mike for a bit I think…or was he just guesting on XM while XM decided what to do with its America Left? Maybe that was it. I know I’ve spent a week or so listening to Peter B., and I didn’t mind it, as 1A1M shows go.
BradBlog comments thusly, and I sort of agree:
…the playing field is indisputably rigged against non-rightwing talk radio. It’s not a matter of “Progressive Talk” having failed in America, it’s a matter of progressives, to this day, not having been given a level playing field on which to compete. Period.
Of course this is true to some extent. Boss Limbaugh is owned by Clear Channel, and so therefore he gets syndicated to the universe. Steph argues that she consistently beats Meghan McCain Basher Laura Inghram but is in like a third of the markets.
But the fact of the matter is that the deck is usually stacked against liberals. Lookit all of the happy horseshit this country just lived through and how angry most folks were at the Booshies, and then lookit how hard we had to work to elect Barack Obama. We had to get everyone we could out to vote because only a thick healthy margin would yield us the White House because these boneheads own the voting machines. The playing field will always incline against us in whatever endeavor we attempt. Means we have to run harder, that’s all. So, ya’ll need to think about departing from the 1A1M* format. Try something different. Pluck from other broadcast models. I’m telling youse guys: You’ve got a tilted gridiron, sure, but also, you suck at radio. There, I said it.
Look, I’ve laid out my program here before to save liberal talk, but here it is again: Establish a presence in Washington, D.C. Develop a serious news-gathering arm and flex it. Cover protests, cover Congressional hearings, cover culture. Make a strong ensemble show for morning drive time and get behind it. Lose your tendency to be a bunch of starfuckers. Get Randi Rhodes back at 3. Depart from the 1A1M formula. Better exploit the Internet and your relationship with Sirius/XM. Syndicate ad teams should find advertising ideas in the aisles the local Whole Foods and in the backs of the Utne Reader and should not accept shitty advertising, especially get-rich-quick schemes that might just victimize your audience.
The fact is that if liberal talk radio is going to beat Boss Limbaugh, it’s going to have to be much, much better than he is. I still argue that AAR had the right idea in the beginning, placing bright, interesting personalities into the studios and seeing what sparks flew. Unfortunately, much of the liberal talk on the radio is just 1A1M unimaginitive programming, and that isn’t going to translate into an overflowing slate of quality.
If you take a crap on an uneven playing field, all the crap might do for you is run downhill a little.
*One Asshole, One Mic
Anecdotal Economic Indicators and Montel Williams
I have been a listener of The Howard Stern Show since he came to Cleveland in 1992. This morning, Stern’s show provided an excellent, albeit anecdotal and extremely distasteful, economic indicator.
Stern has a “game show” called the “Mexican Delivery Guy Game.” Here’s how it goes. There’s a hot porn star or two in his studio dressed in little. They order some food, and the gentleman who shows up with the food is given a choice: You may either take an extravagant propina, or tip, or you may feel up this beautiful woman.
I know. It’s dreadful. Here’s the thing though: Three for three this morning they took the tip.
That’s never happened. They always take the broad. And, the sad thing is that Howard usually ends up giving them a few bucks for their trouble anyway. But these fellas, 100 percent of them, leapt at the chance for a chunk of green rather than getting to grope boobies. I don’t know about you, but to me, that speaks volumes about the Busch Depression we’re in right now.
By the way, more power to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for his principled stand regarding funds allocated to his state by the graces of the Recovery & Reinvestment Act. I hope that more Republigoat governors will take their portion of the funds targeted for stimulus and use them for the practical purpose of paying down their states’ long-term debt instead of using it to shore up infrastructure and create jobs in a state where unemployment is at 10.4 percent. After all, Republigoat governors, nothing wins elections for you guys like a strong, principled stand even in the face of actual facts. So, come on fellas. Turn the money down! For Jesus!
Speaking of Jesus: God bless Frank Schaeffer, who writes on the Huffington Post to ask:
How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now?
That’s a question we here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology have been trying to answer for years, sir. Good luck with that, and, welcome to the light.
Is anyone else here in utter awe and wonder at Bernard Madoff’s explanation as to how his “ponzi scheme” worked? Seriously, when one thinks of a “ponzi scheme,” one thinks there’s a bit of clever sleight-of-hand to it, no? Not in this case. Madoff would go up to you and go, hey, can I like have some of your money? I’ll invest it for ya and shit. And you’d go sure, Bernie, here’s some money! Invest it for me, please! And he’d take your money and he’d put it in the bank. Then he’d do that like 50 more times until he had a billion dollars in the bank. Then, a few weeks later, you’re all like, hey Bernie, where’s my money, dude? And he’s all like, yeah, I’ll get you man. And he’d run to the ATM and draw out like double what you gave him, and he’d bring it to you and be all like, yeah, man, I so invested it. I invested the HELL out of that mofo, beeyotch! And you’re all like, cool, Bernie, thanks? And that’s what happened until the little fartknocker ran out of money and got caught? Really?!? (With Seth and Amy)?
I find it rather disappointing, myself.
I don’t think Michael Steele is pro-choice, and I don’t think he’s “pro-life.”
I just think he doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.
News on the moonbat radio front: LTR reports that Air America Radio has snapped up a new talent: Montel Williams. What is it with AAR hiring folks who previously did shitty afternoon sideshows with paternity tests and other freaks? Was it not bad enough to have hired Jerry friggin’ Springer? Who’s next? Rikki Lake? Sally Jesse Raphael? Judge Judy? And when’s AAR going to get it that they need to stop facilitating nothing but 1A1M* shows? Come on, dum-dums. Let’s do some radio here!
Well, I guess I should listen before I judge. But still. Jeez.
*One Asshole, One Mic
Isn't That Cute?
Chuck Norris waxes seditious with Glenn Beck.
Awesome Funny Ron Kuby Moment of The Day:
Ron: Do we have any Tibetan freedom music, Chris?
Chris (a little disgusted): No, Ron! We don’t!
Question of the Day
Regarding the ongoing kerfuffle between CNBC’s Jim Cramer and World-Class Journalist Jon Stewart:
Why is a media employee of a publicly-traded media company even allowed to give blatant trading advice on the air? Does not the parent company risk running afoul of anti-trust laws? If not, why not?
Jon Stewart is doing such a good job these days. F Cramer.
Good News For Radio
LTR reports that Rachel Maddow has renewed for her radio show but that her show will change, for the better: She’ll now do morning drive time.
Maddow’s show will be offered in morning drive by the network, to be fed three times, during the 6, 7 and 8A hours. The show will feature radio-only content, as well as a few bits from her MSNBC show. As with the other shows, affiliates will more or less be free to air it whenever they want.
This is a vast improvement over the current situation with Rachel on the radio, whereby her first hour may include warmed-over MSNBC content and whereby her second hour IS MSNBC content.
Thom Hartmann of January 8
Liberals are the ones who built America. I defy you to find any good dimension of American life, five-day work week, 40-hour work week, Social Security, paid vacation, clean food, safe drugs, workman’s compensation, unemployment benefits, I defy you to find one benefit that the Republicans have brought us, that the conservatives have brought us. They don’t exist.—Thom Hartmann
If you listen to only one hour of liberal talk radio this year, make it the first hour of yesterday’s Thom Hartmann. Hartmann analyzes Obama’s incredible first major policy speech and wonders if the President-Elect is telegraphing a new trade policy. He discusses the “Two Santas” theory, a particular fetish of the neoconservatives. He refutes a caller with panache. The man was on fire yesterday.
The Astounding Success of Air America Radio
When it comes to Air America Radio, I am hardly a fanboi (I reserve my radio fanboi luv for Robin Ophelia Quivers). I have in fact been often critical of the network and its obsession with one-man-one-mic programming, its abandonment of the Winstead Doctrine, and its baffling programming decision to cast management as talent. And let’s not even get into how the network manhandled The Goddess. For that alone, no liberal listener could be blamed for boycotting Air America Radio for the duration.
However, today I would like to mark a milestone and to discuss the astounding success of Air America Radio:
Fox News Channel said popular cable TV host Bill O’Reilly will step down as the host of his syndicated talk radio show early next year.
“The Radio Factor” â€” which began in 2002 and runs on more than 400 radio stations, as well as satellite operator Sirius XM Radio Inc. â€” will end in the first quarter of 2009, Fox said late Thursday.
In a statement, O’Reilly said the workload has become too much, adding, “I can no longer give both TV and radio the time they deserve.”
O’Reilly will continue hosting “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel and writing his weekly newspaper column.
I wish I could write that Bill O’Reilly’s departure from the air means abject failure. But I can find no evidence of it. Radio ratings are difficult to track down, and, by what accounts I can find, Bill-O may actually have had some listeners. But, there is victory, regardless: Bill-O will no longer broadcast on the radio, and Air America Radio, which he denegrated mercilessly—though I suspect that was more driven by a personal cock-off with soon-to-be Senator Al Franken—does still broadcast. No matter how the fact comes down, it is: We’re paper, motherfucker, and you’re rock. Take that, you big giant Ted Baxter head.
O’Reilly was among many of conservagoat talkers who premptively predicted and prayed for AAR’s immediate failure. I always thought it was a strange and telling aspect of that mindset. It wasn’t just that they disagreed with the ideas espoused at AAR. It was that they couldn’t even stand the mere thought that AAR was allowed to exist, that its broadcast day, whether they were listening or not, was enough to make the big forehead vein pop out. It was this that led me to one of my most basic dictionary definitions:
A liberal is somebody who, when he first encounters Voltaire’s declaration that “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” gets misty-eyed and says, “That’s beautiful.” A conservative is somebody who, when he first encounters the quote, clenches his fist and says, “Who’s this Voltaire faggot?”
They were nearly granted their wish when a month or so in it became apparent that its primary financial backer, Evan Montvel Cohen, didn’t have nearly as much money behind the deal as he said he did. The initial stumble had nothing to do with ratings, content, advertising, or actual success or failure, but these morons were just ass-first in the schadenfreude punch bowl over it nonetheless. The great fear of the liberal listener was that Air America Radio, even with all its good press and all its celebrity power and all of its quality programming (it did have quality programming once) would merely serve to prove the O’Reillys of the universe right, that liberal ideas could not compete in the intellectual marketplace, that liberal talk could not entertain and hold ears, and that it certainly couldn’t sell ads.
It is a shame AAR had to suffer that initial stumble (documented so nicely in the documentary Left Of The Dial) because it immediately stunted the network’s initial creative impulse and made it abandon the directive that the shows needed to be entertaining first and politically biting second (the aforementioned “Winstead Doctrine”). It forced the network to the mantra, “we’re a business, we have to act like a business.” Evan Cohen stole the soul of AAR; he was, most certainly, this tale’s Grinch.
My theory of radio is that there have been three innovative models created in the past 50 years: NPR, Rush Limbaugh, and Howard Stern. I know I sound like a curmudgeon, still today bemoaning the loss of Morning Sedition, but that show understood that you could steal a bit from each of these models and spin radio gold. No show AAR has created since—hell, no show that radio has created since—has even come close to establishing this aesthetic. It’s a damned shame.
AAR’s continued insistence on thrashing and wrecking its best products is nothing new in radio nor in corporate America, and at AAR, it was virulent and chronic no matter who was CEO. Recent examples of this: Its inability to retain funnyman Kent Jones of the The Rachel Maddow Show, who is still missed sorely on that show, and the previously mentioned beat-down of smoky Brooklynite Randi Rhodes. It is this self-destructive tendency through the years that leads me to characterize the network’s continued success as “astounding.”
By my count, Air America Radio currently has 47 affiliates. This is down severely from the network’s heyday, when I think they broadcasted on about 100 affiliates. Yet it survives. It suffered Evan Cohen, who also screwed AAR by embroiling it in a scandal involving the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, it suffered bankruptcy, it suffered the departure of all of its initial big-name talent. And yet, today, I can still tune in and hear liberal talk. It survives, while Bill-O abandons his air. That is an astounding success.
But, wait. There’s more. Air America Radio has been astoundingly successful in another way entirely, that is, in educating its listeners.
Before AAR went on the air, I knew of one, maybe two liberal talkers. I had always assumed that, if I wanted radio as I drove to New York or Pennsylvania, I’d have to settle for El Rushbo or for WGOD. Now I know differently, and I know that if AAR bites it tomorrow, I can still seek and find liberal talk. I can podcast. I can use satellite and Internet radio, and I know who the talkers are now. AAR has permanently altered the methods by which I consume media. This is a tremendous and lasting success for the network, one that no conservagoat yapper can ever take away.
And I think it’s no coincidence, by the way, that political liberalism is seeing a resurgence. I believe that the resurgence, the election results of 2006 and 2008, are driven partly by the fact that there have been liberals on the radio for five years (in March). I have no empirical evidence of this. But anecdotally, you must admit that we are better represented in the media than we were five years ago or so. You do see Katrina Vanden Heuvel on the TV a lot more often these days, don’t you?
This is due in part to the greatest and most surprising success of Air America Radio, the birth of its ultimate rock star, the disarming, brainy charmer of a woman called Rachel Maddow, who made it to television long before I had predicted in this space. If Air America Radio was solely created for the lone purpose of introducing Maddow to a national audience, if that alone was the network’s deliberate, stated purpose, then it would have been enough. Maddow’s ascendence is the crowning achievement of AAR; its single most important contribution, a rube in experience who held her own fiercely in the marathon of cable news election coverage, a pundit who is so utterly good that Matthews and Gregory and the whole lot of them are pissing themselves. Who knew such a personality could be discovered on a whacky little morning show with Chuck “The Rhyme Animal” D and Lizz Winstead?
Now, I know there are other talkers other than those at the network of the Greens, and I must tip my hat to the likes of Big Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and now Randi Rhodes at Nova M, all of who have my ear at some point of every week. But, like it or not, all of them and their independent deals owe quite a lot to Air America Radio, which grabbed the attention and was big enough to convert a couple of random talkers out in outer space into a bona fide genre. And, I have to yet again point out that Bill O’Reilly is quitting radio while Air America Radio continues to broadcast. Nyah.
The NPR/Fresh Air interview of William Ayers is at: