Friday, April 02, 2004

Air America.

Three posts in and you early adopters must be wondering if I have developed a Mel Gibson obsession. Fear not, the title of this post refers not to Air America, the Gibson/Robert Downey Jr. romp about lovable CIA drug runners and their narco-wacky antics in Laos (I bet the Cali Cartel wish they had the Company's agent) but rather to a splendid new addition to America's cluttered FM/AM bandwiths. (You can learn more and hear live streams here:

Air America is the new liberal talk radio network that has been launched to take back the night (and hopefully the day) from the microphone hoodlums on the right. It hopes to challenge the imposed monopoly of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and the bizzare pentacostal minister on one of my local stations who threatens hell and damnation to those unsaved folks who vote Democrat and refuse to speak in tongues or take the rapture seriously. I wish I had sound on this blog; I promise you this man is a prime example of the separation of church and brain. Anyway, Al Franken is heading up a roster of hosts who seek to lay to rest the lie that we pinkos are po-faced puritans (Bill Clinton??? A prude??? with no sense of humor (how do they explain the Marx brothers?) and a grip on the mainstream media. So far the network is off to a humble start, broadcasting to only three cities, although this is hardly surprising when one considers that most of the public airwaves in America are in the grip of three conservative radio companies whose idea of mature political discourse is steamrolling Dixie Chicks CDs.

The fact that Air America is having a tricky time getting to a town near you should finally lay to rest the lie about "liberal media bias." Here in Maine, there was a liberal media bias when I worked in broadcasting; namely me. Believe me, I cut a lonely figure at radio gatherings with my "Reagan for Shah" button and unbleached cotton shirt, surrounded by dumpy middle aged men named Rockin' Roger or similar wearing Transitions lenses, sateen concert jackets, spray on hair, and Lee Greenwood tour t-shirts. The bias in the media (be it radio, TV, or print) is towards sensationalism; if it bleeds, it leads. True political discourse is on life-support and if the right gets its way, the machines will be unplugged in the name of "cost savings."

Despite the right dominating talk radio akin to a mobster playing with loaded dice in Atlantic City there is something you can do personally to redress the balance; call your local big box radio station and ask them to level the playing field. Then ask your friends to do the same. Then do the same to the station's advertisers. Much like an AT-AT in Star Wars, there is a weak spot in the underbelly of the Republican elephant; money. As much as they love the sound of Limbaugh or Coulter spewing their toxic bile (after all, it means more sales of acid reflux medication at premium prices, boosting their drug company stocks) they love the ring of the cash register more. Therefore, if you let them know that you'll probably buy your new car from the dealer who underwrites Franken rather than the one who shells out for Mike Gallagher you'll be speaking to them in the only language they understand.

If that doesn't appeal; bitch and moan loudly about how divisive, untruthful, and misleading right wing radio is, even about the points that occasionally make sense. They have been casting us in black and white for far too long while we womble around parsing shades of gray. If they want an unfair fight, lets give it to them! Argue with any right wingers you come across in public places like bars and family gatherings; don't try to reason with them, try to win the crowd. Write to the paper bemoaning the stances of syndicated columnists. Bird-dog politicians. Laugh derisively in public at readers of the Boston Herald. While it might seem unsporting to approach things this way, remember that your opponent will not think twice about punching you in the groin while you lace up your gloves. Marquis of Queensbury be damned, this is ultimate fighting, and you need to be like Gracie.

So for everytime you caught a soundbite from Rush Limbaugh that made you go "whaaa?", put aside the fact that he was probably gooned on oxycontin when he said it and instead recall what bold faced distortion of his made you choke on your tofu. Now simply reverse the argument, however illogical it might become, and use it to bash a conservative today. Over time, you can begin to add real fact and substance to your spiked club of a position, but for now concentrate on mastering hitting people on the head with it.

Here's to Air America, and for every small victory for the left; such as Jim Hightower's book on the New York Times bestseller list*, Bush staffers quitting and "telling all", and the adminstration being too incompetent to frame the debate. Come out swinging, and don't forget to keep kicking once you get them down. Fighting Republicans is like fighting zombies; there can be no such thing as an honorable tie.
contact me:

*If the conservatives hate the New York Times so much, why do they keep putting "NY Times Best Seller" on their book jackets? Besides, politics is no reason to hate the NY Times; their unreasoning sycophancy towards Steinbrenner and the frigging Yankees is, however.

No comments: