Monthly Archives: February 2003

“The air war is about to heat up, but it’s not a paratrooper assault on Baghdad. A group of venture capitalists from Chicago and an Atlanta radio executive, done with talking, are investing an initial $10 million to create a national liberal radio network.”

So begins the Los Angeles Times in an editorial that reads more like a news item with what the kids today call attitude.

“The aim is to challenge conservative bad boys by giving regular air time to the likes of liberal wit Al Franken, who wrote the 1996 book “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.” The proposal itself is comical.”

See? Attitude is struck right off the bat.

“If the left wing has for decades obsessed about corporate power, the right has been addicted to complaints about media bias. Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and others catapulted to stardom by warning angry conservatives of a supposed liberal media conspiracy. Former CBS reporter and producer Bernard Goldberg’s book “Bias” recently shot to the bestseller lists by charging Goldberg’s colleagues with shortchanging the truth and demonizing conservatives.”

Actually it’s only been about one decade — the Clinton years — that has seen the rise of the Corporate Right. And the “bestseller” status of Goldberg’s book, like that of Ann Coulter’s was the result of “bulk buys” by Right-wing “think tanks.”

“Now the left is flipping the debate around. In his overheated “What Liberal Media?” Nation writer Eric Alterman claims that the press is — guess what? — really more conservative than liberal. The liberal-network investors, who have backed Democratic candidates in the past, apparently agree.”

And the reactionary network investors like Rupert Murdoch? La Times passes over him in silence.

“Atlanta radio executive Jon Sinton says the investors’ intent is to “engage in skit comedy, parody, political satire.” The dubious idea here is that liberal talk shows that failed were mere victims of bad marketing. But with National Public Radio and Pacifica News Service stations cramming the left side of the dial, there’s no dearth of liberal radio shows. To make this point, “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau had resident talk-show host Mark Slackmeyer receive a call from desperate Democrats asking him to do a left-leaning show — not realizing he had been for years.”

NPR and Pacifica “cramming”?

Yes well all know how Clear Channel quakes in its boots during Pacifica fund drives.

And just as with the campaign by publicity-minded Latinos to attack Dame Edna Everage’s remarks in “Vanity Fair,” need we remind La Times that Mark Slackmeyer is a cartoon character and not an actual person?

You know what? I’ll bet they know that.

“The backers of the new network might consider tuning in before they waste time and money aping the on-air antics their side has long derided.”

In other words La Times is offering a “polite” version of Bill “Shut up! Shut up!” O’Reilley. If a Liberal “answer” to the Right-wing “talk” radio hegemony is indeed put on the air its chances of success or failure would be relative to both its inherent quality and the vagaries of the marketplace.

But that’s not enough for La Times . The Left, by its lights, shouldn’t even so much as consider doing or saying anything at all.

The millions who marched in the streets in opposition to George W. Bush would have a different opinion. But La Times is not interested in their opinion. Or anything else about them — which is to say us. Like their unelected leader, the response of this media organization to the public it supposedly serves (but in fact seeks only to control) is simple:

“Who cares what you think?”