Like all but three people in the world, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have never listened to Air America. Although we consider Al Franken a genuinely humorous guy, we aren’t terribly interested in hearing his “deep thoughts” on matters political. Ditto Janeane Garofalo, except for the humorous part. If you ask us, she’s Generation X’s answer to paint drying.
We didn’t find it much of a shock, then, to hear that the fledgling radio network–which aimed at reaching the legions of American citizens who are dying to ascertain Randi Rhodes’ views on current affairs–recently went bankrupt. Frankly, we thought the idea of a “progressive” radio network only slightly better than New Coke.
Pundits of all stripes will undoubtedly pontificate about the lackluster performance of Air America–with conservatives gleefully suggesting that lefty talk has little popularity in this country outside of assorted faculty meetings and “Bush Lied, People Died” rallies. To some extent, this must be true: After all, on the FM airwaves, Rush Limbaugh rules the roost; on cable news, the pertinacious Bill O’Reilly is king.
Even so, we don’t think it’s true that Americans have a deep-seated distaste for left-wing opinion. If the malignant clowning of Hugo Chavez at the UN can make Noam Chomsky a best-selling author-cum-anti-capitalist, surely our country can stomach a few left-wing talk shows.
As such, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would like to suggest another reason why Air America has proved about as popular as 300-pound, 4’8″ aspiring model: The government.
Well, allow us to be more specific: We believe that the publicly-funded festival of upper-middle class leftism known as National Public Radio (a.k.a. National Palestinian Radio) had more than a little to do with the Air America belly flop. So, if our rabid left-wing pals, irate over Air America’s manifest failure, want to point the finger of blame at anyone, perhaps they should tilt it in the direction of Uncle Sam. Or, at least, Garrison Keillor.
If you ask us, it’s a very simple matter. “Progressive” radio will inevitably have a tough time winning fans thanks to the popularity of NPR in left-liberal circles. Apparently, there are only so many tote bags you can own, only so many soporific radio personalities you can stomach.
As a result, if our lefty friends want to make another go of it on the FM dial, we suggest they do the following: Turn NPR into a fair-minded, balanced radio network, instead of a tax-payer-funded bone to rich liberals. Why do we doubt that they’ll trouble themselves to do that?
(Note: The crack young staff usually “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently contemplating the urgent–nay, crucial–contributions to American culture of “Antiques Roadshow,” which justify its status as a tax-payer supported program.)