Friday, May 26, 2006

Long Weekend Ahead!

Iowahawk is on to something. Here, as a public service for my occasional (very occasional…rare, even) Left-Wing readers, is a link to 1-900-REALITY. Don’t spend it all in one place, all y’all.

Are you bored? Sitting at home alone, scouring basic cable news for impeachment updates? Well now you don’t have to wait for the 3 am rerun of Keith Olbermann for the hottest, juiciest, blockbuster scandals that will finally bring down the illegitimate BushCo cabal! Because now there’s 1-900-REALITY!


Call now and join our reality-based party! Provocative leakers are standing by to give you an earful of shocking facts, just the way you like them… hot, heavy, and weeks ahead of the news cycle!


For just $5.95 and $1.95 per minute, you’ll be connected with one of our information insiders who is aching to fulfill your every fantasy of governmental overthrow!

Hi, I’m Mary. Dial extension CBS and let me show you my private collection of shocking Texas Air National Guard documents. Stay on the line and I’ll show you how I can do things with Microsoft Word that Bill Gates never dreamed of!

Oh, yeah…you know there’s more. And be sure and check out the guest blogging from Jesse MacBeth, that intrepid anti-war, former US Army Ranger. And I’m the Pope, too.

It seems like I’ve been reading stories about the imminent demise of Air America for over a year now. I’m still waiting for that other shoe to drop. It seems inevitable, doesn’t it? Especially when the organization has been directed to slice 20% from its budget.

Air America Radio's acting CEO has been ordered to either cut millions from the bloated network's budget or condemn the left- wing talk radio experiment to the ash heap of history, the Radio Equalizer has exclusively learned.

Taking marching orders from RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser, who also oversees and often funds Air America parent Piquant LLC, interim head Jim Wiggett is in a surprisingly tough position.

If at least $5 million can't be sliced away soon, it could finally be curtains for Franken & Co.

There’s more, of course. While I’m not shedding any tears over this turn of events, it does make me wonder why the Left doesn’t seem to be able to replicate the success of right-side talk radio. Given the success of Lefty blogs (dKos has the highest number of daily hits in the political ‘sphere; other Lefty sites have good numbers, too) you’d think there would be a rather large audience for this sort of thing. But apparently there isn’t: the market has spoken and it doesn’t speak well for Air America.

There’s good reason to wish the Left some success, however. If there were a viable, visible, and successful Left-Wing voice on the radio, perhaps we’d hear less of this drivel:

The most extreme change (ed: since the demise of the Fairness Doctrine) has been in the immense volume of unanswered conservative opinion heard on the airwaves, especially on talk radio. Nationally, virtually all of the leading political talkshow hosts are right-wingers: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Reagan, to name just a few. The same goes for local talkshows. One product of the post-Fairness era is the conservative “Hot Talk” format, featuring one right-wing host after another and little else. Disney-owned KSFO in liberal San Francisco is one such station (Extra!, 3–4/95). Some towns have two.

When Edward Monks, a lawyer in Eugene, Oregon, studied the two commercial talk stations in his town (Eugene Register-Guard, 6/30/02), he found “80 hours per week, more than 4,000 hours per year, programmed for Republican and conservative talk shows, without a single second programmed for a Democratic or liberal perspective.” Observing that Eugene (a generally progressive town) was “fairly representative,” Monks concluded: “Political opinions expressed on talk radio are approaching the level of uniformity that would normally be achieved only in a totalitarian society. There is nothing fair, balanced or democratic about it.” (ed: except for the fact that it’s THE MARKET, Stupid!)

Bringing back fairness?

For citizens who value media democracy and the public interest, broadcast regulation of our publicly owned airwaves has reached a low-water mark. In his new book, Crimes Against Nature, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. probes the failure of broadcasters to cover the environment, writing, “The FCC’s pro-industry, anti-regulatory philosophy has effectively ended the right of access to broadcast television by any but the moneyed interests.”

The above is an excerpt from “The Fairness Doctrine; How We Lost it, and Why We Need it Back,” a Lefty Cri de Coeur for government intervention in the marketplace. Which is entirely typical, of course. And another reason NOT to stay home in November, as if you needed one more. Never hurts to point these things out, though.

Charles Krauthammer, in today’s WaPo:

All of a sudden, revolutionary Iran has offered direct talks with the United States. All of a sudden, the usual suspects -- European commentators, American liberals, dissident CIA analysts, Madeleine Albright -- are urging the administration to take the bait.

It is not rare to see a regime such as Iran's -- despotic, internally weak, feeling the world closing in -- attempt so transparent a ploy to relieve pressure on itself. What is rare is to see the craven alacrity with which such a ploy is taken up by others.

Mark my words. The momentum for U.S.-Iran negotiations has only begun. The focus of the entire Iranian crisis will begin to shift from the question of whether Tehran will stop its nuclear program to whether Washington will sit down alone at the table with Tehran.

Mr. Krauthammer is correct. There will be more pressure on the US to “negotiate.” He is also correct in stating Tehran’s overture is a very transparent ploy. We’ve had well over two years of negotiating with Iran and the results have been all-too-predictable: nothing, nada, zip. The Russians, the Brits, the French, and the Germans were all spectacularly unsuccessful in their attempts to solve this problem, which leads one to the inescapable conclusion: Iran isn’t interested at all in what the rest of the world thinks or desires. They have stated their goals and objectives and they are Hell-bent on achieving them, the rest of the world be damned. Other than buying more time for Tehran to accomplish its objectives, what earthly good would unilateral negotiations achieve? Nothing, just like all the other attempts to resolve this issue. Time, and options, are running out. The only way to avoid a military solution to the Iranian nuclear problem is to enact and enforce economic sanctions with teeth. I’m not hopeful about that possibility; as a matter of fact, I’m downright pessimistic.

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