Newsweek article on Air America

A. Joseph Ross
Mon Dec 18 00:38:16 EST 2006

On 17 Dec 2006 at 22:30, Dan Strassberg wrote:

> The worst shame of AAR's demise is that it simply gives the righties
> all the credence they need when they say that progressive talk doesn't
> work, never has, and never will. That was the buzz before AAR started.
> Now the righties can wave that banner wherever they choose and nobody
> will bother to challenge them. Nobody who could rescue progressive
> talk gives a damn that AAR failed because of blatent mismanagement
> coupled with the refusal--even AFTER the mid-term election results--of
> a lot of advertisers--national and local--to air their messages on
> progressive-talk stations. In addition, no group owner (and I am
> including companies that committed affiliates to the programming but
> never tried to provide any of the other resources that are normally
> necessary to make a new format succeed) did much more than pay lip
> service to the programming. In sum, AAR's contribution to fairness in
> talk radio looks to me like a HUGE negative--something that I'm
> convinved will cost the Democrats dearly in election cycles to come.

I think you are a bit too pessimistic.  First of all, the story has 
been so much about AAR's mismanagement that it'll be hard to miss.  
Some people like Rush or Bill O'Reilly may try to spin it 
differently, but anyone in the industry certainly must be aware of 
that reality.

And as for the Democrats politically, I don't think this year's win 
depended all that much on Air America, though it helped.  It depended 
on political and demographic change in the countryand the failure of 
Bush's policies, combined with a grass-roots organizing model that 
has been pushed by Howard Dean at the national level and others, such 
as Deval Patrick, at local levels.

Incidentally, two of the people way behind the scenes who put 
together a lot of the details of the precinct-by-precinct organizing 
in Massachusetts were two old-hands, Jack Corrigan and Michael 
Dukakis.  The techniques were old -- they appear in a handbook on 
organizing that Abraham Lincoln wrote for the Whig Party in 1840 (the 
Whigs won that year) and were used by Aaron Burr in 1800.  The use of 
the Internet was new.  

Air America and other progressive talk shows may have helped fire up 
the troops, but this was going to happen anyway, and the changes in 
the country are very real and long-term.  The Democrats didn't take 
over the New Hampshire Legislature because of Air America.

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
 15 Court Square, Suite 210                 Fax 617.742.7581
Boston, MA 02108-2503           

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list