Or at least it would be if anyone listened to it. DeoDuce asks "Can liberals be in the spotlight and not screw up?", but that question presupposes that Air America somehow qualifies as a "spotlight" which is rather doubtful. DeoDuce is referring to the recent Drudge item about Randi Rhodes threatening President Bush with an audio clip:

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

Sounds at least as bad as the so-called abortion provider "hit lists" that earned the victims $100 million in damages from the writers. I think that award may have been a bit excessive, but it's definately not ok to use threats of violence to manipulate the political process. Plus, it's rather crude and unclassy, unlike the light-hearted humor of the conservative talk-show hosts.

(Generally, anyway. And if you're willing to threaten violence then you'd better be prepared for the establishment to use violence back against you. Not to ramble, but in the larger sense I think there are times when violence can be a good solution to a problem, but the initiator should realize that his escalation will not and should not go unchallenged. Ultimately, if a government cannot successfully defend itself with physical force then it doesn't really "deserve" to exist anyway, since it certainly wouldn't be reflecting the will of the people.)

Anyway, as for Air America's downward spiral, Brian C. Anderson had a good piece in the LA Times (!) last week. (Via himself in his interview at Powerline.)

Wait a second, you say, didn't I read that Air America has expanded to more than 50 markets? That's true, but let's put things in perspective: Conservative pundit and former Reagan official William J. Bennett's morning talk show, launched at the same time as Air America, reaches nearly 124 markets, including 18 of the top 20, joining the growing ranks of successful right-of-center talk programs (Limbaugh is still the ratings leader, drawing more than 15 million listeners a week).

And look at Air America's ratings: They're pitifully weak, even in places where you would think they'd be strong. WLIB, its flagship in New York City, has sunk to 24th in the metro area Arbitron ratings — worse than the all-Caribbean format it replaced, notes the Radio Blogger. In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still.

Anyway, I like gloating. Randi Rhodes and Air America should pay President Bush $100 million.

Randi Rhodes apologizes.



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