Wednesday will be th…
Wednesday will be the first day for the official liberal talk radio network, “Air America”. The anchor for this network is Al Franken’s “The O’Franken Factor”. I guess that there wasn’t any real good way to spoof the title of “The Rush Limbaugh Show”, so he went with O’Reilly’s. And that sounds to me like he’s already set the tone for his show; comedy, parody, attack, and, oh yeah, issues (maybe). As I said over a year ago, this should tell you all you need to know about how this crew is going to go about their business; they’ll attack ideas with comedy, where complex ideas are oversimplified and you’ll be too busy laughing to notice the errors. Franken himself said, “I think the audience isn’t there for a liberal Rush, because I think liberals don’t want to hear that kind of demagoguery.” This from a guy who wrote a book titled, “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot”. Franken’s books and comments have been attacks, while Rush and O’Reilly, while they do have their share of taking down the other side, spend most of their time putting forth what they believe are better ideas, not simply pure deconstruction. But even before he’s been on the air one minute, Franken can keep from attacking.

And speaking of attacking, don’t forget how Franken fights–physically, stifling free speech in the name of promoting free speech. I asked last January that if he was on opposite Rush Limbaugh, would Rush be allowed to jam his signal? (And as it turns out, they will be on opposite each other.) Combine that with Matt Margolis’ experience getting beaten up while carrying pro-Bush signs at an anti-Bush rally, and one may have a taste of how this new network will operate.

And consider this: Limbaugh’s radio program didn’t start with a radio network with a slate of conservative hosts and a big media fanfare. It was just him doing a brand of talk-show that hadn’t been done before. I recall when Neal Boortz was just a local Atlanta talk-show guy, and he would occasionally criticize Limbaugh’s show for only taking 3 calls in one particular hour. That did go against the format of talk-shows up until that time, but Limbaugh made it work–by himself. Liberal talk radio, after a number of individual failed attempts (anyone remember hearing Mario Cuomo?) is investing heavily into this, in an apparent attempt to start winning the talk-show wars by quantity rather than quality.

That’s why I think this will ultimately fail. People did not rush to Rush because of a media blitz or advertising. They came because they finally heard what they couldn’t get from the mainstream media. I believe that in large part the American people are generally conservative. Many folks don’t like labeling, and I understand that, but if they were to take a political test, I think a good majority would be center to far right. Rush’s success in the field came from saying what made sense to these people, and for some it challenged what they were thinking. Rush is no pure intellectual by any stretch of the imagination; he certain does his share of comedy, parody and attack. But most of his program is not that. Given the history of Franken, and the way he’s starting out on the wrong foot, I don’t think we’ll be able to say the same thing about his show.

Considerettes Prediction: Franken’s show is gone in 2 years. I’m going on the record with this.

Correction: The first broadcast will be the 31st, not today. Corrected it above.

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