Man Without Qualities

Friday, June 27, 2003

Not Quite Correct ... But Getting There

Samatha Spivack writing in the San Francisco Examiner:

What the creators of the liberal radio network don't grasp, unbelievably, is that conservative radio grew organically because it provided a refuge from the daily deluge of gloom, doom and class warfare presented as news, and not as an alternative to existing political commentary.

The incipient market for conservative radio was an audience heartened to find information that had been consistently omitted from headline stories of environmental devastation and public policy crises. That it came packaged as commentary didn't matter, especially since it was often obvious that the daily news was derived from the press releases of special interest groups, with little effort to provide balance.

While Democrats view themselves now as outsiders in a GOP nation, that's the second and lesser condition necessary to draw a politically alienated audience to the radio. The primary necessity is a national press that excludes your views.

There is no perceptible clamor, for instance, for a radio program thrashing the Bush administration as environmentally unfriendly. We can see that story at 5, 6 and 11, or on the front page, and it will be presented in almost precisely that way. Nobody is frustrated for lack of stories spreading alarm about poverty, disease or homelessness, or some new and horrifying form of abuse against a victim group. Those stories dominate the news every day.

What additional perspective will liberal radio hosts offer after they've said that George W. Bush is an idiot, and Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot? All of the liberal political talk that's wanted already exists, and it's presented by professional broadcasters who have paid long, hard dues in the field, not by party operatives.

Not only is it true that all of the liberal political talk that's wanted already exists, but much more of that stuff than is wanted by the market already exists. That's why, for example, CBS, ABC and NBC news divisions lose money - buckets of it.

As I have pointed out before - what is needed in the liberal news market is consolidation and downsizing. Not more unwanted liberal product. Less, but better quality, product.

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