Monday, February 17, 2003

Who needs liberal radio? Al Franken puts it best: "I think the audience isn't there for a liberal Rush. Because I think liberals don't want to hear that kind of demagoguery." So why is Franken thinking about joining up with a new liberal radio network aimed at countering the conservative Limbaugh/Hannity/O'Reilly stranglehold? Because, according to Jim Rutenberg in today's New York Times, some wealthy Democrats are willing to make it worth his while.

This isn't going to work. The reason that conservative talk radio succeeds is that its listeners feel alienated from the mainstream. Liberals have no reason to feel alienated, because they've got NPR. No, NPR doesn't engage in the sort of partisan advocacy for the left that the conservative media do for the right. It's certainly more willing to entertain diverse views than the Fox News Channel.

But tens of millions of people -- affluent, well-educated people, overwhelmingly liberal, who donate to NPR and who thus help shape its programming -- already have a spot on the dial that they're happy with.

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