Local Stories, Events
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Health Care & Environment
02.22 Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
02.22 The Uninhabitable Earth [Lots more important than all other problems put together]
02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
International & FuturismSanders Has an Advantage, and It’s Not [Just] About Economics
02.22 When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order [this enables easier corruption by banks and oligarchs and may result in complete societal breakdown, chaos and war]
02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]
02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
Air America had come into a market saturated by right-wing talk radio—and then committed suicide by incompetence.
Air America, the liberal radio network, went down in flames on Jan. 21, when it filed for bankruptcy. It wasn't because of air-to-air combat with conservative talk shows and bloggers. It wasn't because of the Recession, although reduced advertising revenue, a reality of all media, also affected Air America. It wasn't even demographics, even though older, marginalized conservatives tend to listen to radio more than do younger liberal professionals. And media history was only part of the problem.
By the 1960s, liberals had become masters at developing and using not only mainstream media but also an emerging alternative media to advance a social agenda. But then they choked, sputtered, and fell into disarray.
During the past two decades, conservatives slowly, almost methodically, established a talk show base that ignited its own movement.
By 2000, with liberals more focused upon the print media and the emerging social media, and having neglected the advantages of a re-energized AM bandwidth that was more adaptable to talk than to music, the personality-drenched conservative talk radio medium filled the vacuum. The talk shows targeted the same kind of audience that the liberal '60s alternative media had targeted—the socially and politically marginalized who distrusted Big Government and believed in individual liberties. Any emerging liberal network would be seen as merely an annoyance, rather than competition. The conservatives, embraced by Fox News and talk radio, solidified their hold upon the listeners by playing to the irrational fears of their base—that the media were controlled by liberals, and that government was out to get them.
Air America had begun as a fresh challenge to the conservative talk show movement. It had a decent mix of comedy, rant, and music. Eventually, it would syndicate shows to about 100 affiliates. Air America had come into a market saturated by right-wing talk radio—and then committed suicide by incompetence. Its death was celebrated by a vitriolic rightwing mix of radio commentators and listeners.
Even facing the Recession, diminished advertising revenue, a target population that had almost abandoned radio except for niche music stations and NPR, and the dominance of conservative talk radio, the six-year-old network could have survived . . .
IF it had had better investment funding . . .
IF it hadn't spent a disproportionate share of its small investment on lavish studios in a high-rent Manhattan commercial building . . .
IF it hadn't had so many management changes, and so much ineptitude among senior managers. . . .
IF it had hired more on-air personalities and off-mike producers who had significant radio experience. Even the most talented (among them Al Franken, Sam Seder, and Rachel Maddow) had minimal radio experience. In contrast, almost all of Rush Limbaugh's career was in radio before he became the man most loathed by liberals.
Air America might have survived IF it had tried to evolve slowly, as had conservative talk radio, and not tried to match it in salaries and personalities the first year.
It might have survived IF its primary message wasn't to attack the conservative infotainment hosts but to develop its own entertainment and issues, and to deliver a focused message. By the time of the demise of Air America, conservative talk radio not only had a larger fan base but better websites and outreach.
But, most of all, Air America might have survived IF it hadn't been so arrogant. Its hosts and producers ignored phone calls and e-mails from liberals and moderates who were not on its radar as "important." And, it and many of its affiliates also ignored calls from many reporters who were trying to do stories about the network and its personalities. If the producers arrogantly didn't think something mattered, then it didn't.
Air America didn't do for the liberal movement what the rest of talk radio did for its conservative movement—it didn't respect its listeners enough to allow them their own voice
In the end, Air America didn't do for the liberal movement what the rest of talk radio did for its conservative movement—it didn't respect its listeners enough to allow them their own voice.
Dr. Brasch is an award-winning reporter and editor, media analyst, and author of 17 books. His latest are Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush; 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina; and America's Unpatriotic Acts. All are available at Amazon.com and other bookstores. You may contact Dr. Brasch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website, www.walterbrasch.com.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on February 4, 2010.