Air America Radio’s Missed Opportunity

The Moderate Donkey listens to Air America Radio. I have friends who are involved with Air America Radio. I realize that they have beaten incredible odds to become the success they have become. But Air America Radio has thus far missed a golden opportunity to become what they originally set out to be – a liberal answer to conservative talk radio.

Let me explain.

Air America Radio was created to be the counterpart to the Rush Limbaughs of the world. What they did instead was, with a few exceptions, hire a host of inexperienced leftwingers who often joined Limbaugh, Hannity, and their ilk in attacking the Democratic party.

Let’s take the now cancelled show Unfiltered with Rachel Maddow. First, and this is a big pet peeve of mine, they came across as cultural elitists. I cringed whenever they made condescending comments about certain types of music or artists I like, or movies and TV shows I’ve enjoyed. Were they trying to make their mainstream listeners feel culturally impaired by touting their superior entertainment knowledge or were they just trying to appeal to the 2% or so who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000?

This came across at no better time than on their Friday party machine segment when they played music no mainstream listener had ever heard or would ever hear, music I certainly would never play at my parties unless I wanted everyone to leave. And here I was thinking this was a political talk show!

But the one thing that REALLY turned me off to Unfiltered as well as several other Air American Radio Shows is they were quick to criticize Democrats. Now, I don’t feel any Democrat is above criticism – but doing so with literally millions listening won’t do anything to build support for the party and get rid of the GOP. Do you ever hear Limbaugh, Hannity, or Savage trashing the Republican party? Plus, it provided fodder for the rightwingers. Maddow really crossed the line on her last day on Unfiltered when she launched into an anti-Bill Clinton diatribe. With millions listening, she explained why the man who saved the Democratic party was really a bad president.

Way to go, Rachel! That’s how you convince the fence sitters to vote Democratic! Unfiltered was cancelled because of low ratings. Now you know why the ratings were low.

But Maddow wasn’t alone in her disdain for anything that isn’t far left simon-pure. Mike Malloy, the Left’s answer to rightwing wacko Mike Savage, believes he is a “traditional Democrat” (no, seriously, he believes that) but, as Wikipedia explains, he has basically withdrawn from the Democratic party and is now making overtures to the Green Party – those swell guys who cost Al Gore the election in 2000.

So the ax has fallen at Air America again. Morning Sedition, their unpopular morning show which, coincidently, also has a knack for trashing the Democratic party, has been cancelled. It’s being replaced by (drum roll please…) Rachel Maddow!

Some will tell me that you can’t argue with success. Afterall, Air America Radio is now on over 80 stations nationwide, and a few are in major markets. But other than liberal strongholds like Seattle, the Air America affiliate stations haven’t been a blazing success ratings-wise. They’re essentially preaching to the choir. And with the imminent departure of Al Franken to run for the US Senate, one has to wonder if AAR will replace Franken, who is a moderate, with another moderate voice (someone like Ed Schultz) or will they lurch left with another Maddow/Malloy type who will further propagate the myth that there is little difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.

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