Liberal Radio
February 16, 2003 10:15 PM   Subscribe

A group of rich Democrats plans a full daily slate of liberal-oriented radio programming. The first major figure they're courting to do a show: Al Franken, who wrote a satirical book about a certain right-wing radio host a few years ago. Want to hear smart, funny, liberal radio right now? Tune into Harry Shearer's Le Show, available royalty-free to any station that will broadcast it, or online via RealAudio.
posted by Artifice_Eternity (52 comments total)

 
Tune into Harry Shearer's Le Show, available royalty-free to any station that will broadcast it, or online via RealAudio.

[Montgomery Burns] Excellent! [/Montgomery Burns]
posted by y2karl at 10:26 PM on February 16, 2003


Interesting idea, although I don't think it will work. In Franken's own words:

"I think the audience isn't there for a liberal Rush, because I think liberals don't want to hear that kind of demagoguery."

As much as I've longed for a counter-balance to conservative radio these past 10+ years, I'm pretty sure that this is not the way... it will just play as either eastern elite or "left coast" propaganda, and play right into the hands of conservative* talk radio.

It's probably more better to continue with what we have: scathing, caustic folks like Bill Maher or Jon Stewart. These two are just as likely to lash out at hypocrisy and/or lunacy on the right as on the left.

I've always disliked describing Rush Limbaugh and his ilk as conservatives. That word seems to elevate those folks to a level of respectability that is at odds with the thuggery and boorishness that is their stock and trade. To me, Bill Buckley is a conservative, and a respected one at that. Rush is just a quick witted redneck.
posted by psmealey at 10:56 PM on February 16, 2003


Ugh... more better. Yeah. I think I just meant "better".
posted by psmealey at 10:58 PM on February 16, 2003


psmealey: I agree that for this to be successful, they would have to find people like Maher, Stewart, etc. who are willing to take on any sacred cow. You wouldn't be able to build a network of people who would simply tell the masses to do what Tom Daschle and Hillary Clinton say.

But if the backers of this venture are willing to allow for some idiosyncratic personalities and a little ideological leeway (Maher, for example, differs from Democrat orthodoxy on certain issues), it might work.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:09 PM on February 16, 2003


It won't work if they tap into "NPR liberals". They're boring, pedantic, and just not entertaining. The aforementioned Jon Stewart is probably the best political commentator on the air right now, left or right - and Randi Rhodes in South Florida does a good liberal show that doesn't wimp out.

I stand ready and willing to demagogue on the air. Hehe.
posted by owillis at 11:16 PM on February 16, 2003


The problem is that liberalism at the core of it is about rationality, consideration of alternative points of view, and debate of ideas on their merits. But the public doesn't want to listen to people being rational and considerate and presenting evidence for their viewpoints. It's not entertaining.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:52 PM on February 16, 2003


I thought Randi Rhodes died on tour with Ozzie Ozbourne?
posted by geekhorde at 12:08 AM on February 17, 2003


NPR liberals? I'll tell you what will sink faster than a lead balloon. A program for DLC faux Republican wannabe corporate suck ups. That would be just wall to wall brought to you by ADM commercials.
posted by y2karl at 12:42 AM on February 17, 2003


A program for DLC faux Republican wannabe corporate suck ups.

Ah, the birkenstocks and tie-dye crowd has weighed in.
posted by owillis at 1:02 AM on February 17, 2003


The problem is that liberalism at the core of it is about rationality, consideration of alternative points of view, and debate of ideas on their merits.

Isn't that sweet? The problem is that most of what passes for "liberalism" nowadays is actually leftism, and is is not about any of the above. Leftism is stifling, totalitarian, and anti-American, and quite frankly exists in abundant plenitude in our universities, news drainpipes and radio already, and that's quite enough, thanks very much. Can you even intimate with a straight face that Franken's book title "debates ideas on their merits"? Flagrant nonsense.

Kennedy was a "liberal", Katie Couric is a freakish "multicultural" leftist psychopath. See the mainstream difference?
posted by hama7 at 1:27 AM on February 17, 2003


The problem is that liberalism at the core of it is about rationality, consideration of alternative points of view, and debate of ideas on their merits.

Well, it used to be. Nowadays it's about steering tax dollars and special privileges to your constituents rather than the other guy's constituents, taxing 'that fellow behind the tree', and generating policy positions based on public opinion polls and focus groups. All sponsored by corrupt union bosses, Hollywood moguls, and the trial bar.

Yeah, yeah, I know, the conservatives have similar skeletons in their closets, only the names are different.

I would be delighted to hear all those nice things you mentioned embodied in radio programming. But we're not going to see it, are we? We're going to get liberal doppelgangers of Rush, playing 'Gotcha!' games against conservatives.

I really think the 'Gotcha!' game is the major impediment here. Honest consideration of issues involves admitting the possibility of error. It involves honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses in one's own argument, not just the relentless bashing of the other guy's argument. And the way opinions are presented in the media today, even the mildest admission of uncertainty, weakness, or error is immediately jumped on with both feet, and the person who admitted weakness, or, god forbid, actually changed his mind, is beaten to a pulp. The only way to survive is never to admit error or doubt, and attack, attack, attack!

Hell, you can see it here on MeFi.

This kind of overriding partisanship is the death of any kind of real, 'liberal' debate.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:29 AM on February 17, 2003


Ah, the birkenstocks and tie-dye crowd has weighed in.

Did I say the phony Welfare Reform promoting corporate ass kissing DLC Republicans Lite?
posted by y2karl at 1:41 AM on February 17, 2003


Dunno about you, but I like winning elections.
posted by owillis at 1:43 AM on February 17, 2003


Not to get too harshed out here--I must apologize for the above ticked off slams--on grounds of the enemy of my enemy and all that, and I most sincerely have admired your comments here of late but seriously, Oliver, you have displayed apparently received opinions about PBS and NPR that indicate you haven't listened to or watched either one for years.

They both have incredibly lame aspects but mostly in their incredible pro-business bias. The Morning Business Report, Motley Fool, Wall Street Week--man, those are some wimpy left-wing shows, alright. And then there's all those bravely pro-labor, populist programs like... like... well, there aren't any. But you seem to think they have such liberal bias.

Plus the NPR station here plays BBC Overnight which makes any network state side, private or public, appear shameful in comparison for quality and depth. Sorry, I didn't just say this instead of whacking at you.
posted by y2karl at 1:56 AM on February 17, 2003


Know what happens when you assume?

I listen to NPR all day long, WBUR Boston. Some of it is engaging (This American Life, All Things Considered) while a good portion of it is dogmatically and stubbornly left wing. I'm not saying it isn't good - but it isn't always entertaining and has that liberal tendency to lecture rather than engage its audience. Yes, the BBC is a good news gathering organization. But it also trends towards elitist stuff that tends to have no real application to the lives of regular people, and guilty of the "exotic foreigners" (Oooh, those Africans, aren't they ethnic!) world view we usually associate with colonialism.

I watch PBS (Hell, I was ON PBS) almost evey night. You cite their business shows, when I think of PBS I think of NOW and Frontline, two of their most signature shows that I enjoy and glean information from but are often go way left-wing (Every corporation is bad and are coming for you and your children! RAWR!). Almost as bad as Fox News in the other direction.

Wow. See what happens when you write like an adult? Does wonders.
posted by owillis at 2:17 AM on February 17, 2003


but are often go way left-wing

Example please?
posted by y2karl at 2:38 AM on February 17, 2003


Like, um, NPR using the phrase targeted killing instead of assassination on Morning Edition? Is that way too left wing?
posted by y2karl at 2:40 AM on February 17, 2003


I mean if you watch and listen as much as you say, you surely have a specific example. I've given you at least five to the contrary. Yoou've given me your unsubstantiated vague opinion. This American Life is a fine show and is, for NPR, very liberal. Is that an example? Or is Garrison Keillor too much a raging liberal for you? Which Frontline went over the line for you?
posted by y2karl at 2:44 AM on February 17, 2003


Now this, on the other hand, could be fun to watch...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:02 AM on February 17, 2003


Like, um, NPR using the phrase targeted killing instead of assassination on Morning Edition? Is that way too left wing?

Well that depend on if the "targeted killing" means Palestinians or Israelis, doesn't it?
posted by hama7 at 3:13 AM on February 17, 2003


Well, here's one example from NOW about advertising prescription drugs. The whole story was a setup of how evil these companies were for advertising their product, without mentioning that people have something called free will. Yes, the networks use the "evil corporation" story as well, but NPR and PBS (like the interesting, yet biased Life & Debt) rarely do stories on the upside of globalization.
posted by owillis at 3:18 AM on February 17, 2003


Now this, on the other hand, could be fun to watch...

Who are you, and what have you done with Steve_at_Linwood?
posted by hama7 at 3:28 AM on February 17, 2003


The key, artifice_eternity, is to not let on that you're a leftist, liberal in any kind of harmless way. Even though you may be quite liberal and harmless.

It really doesn't matter a whit.

I hope this escapade of rich democrat dollars funding something too little too late works.

But minds have been poisoned in this country. And I do fear it's fairly irreversible.

Hatred and noise trumps any kind of meaning one can glean out of their own comprehension of meaningfulness as far as the news presented to them goes.

So what if those who were there report 75k to 100k in the streets of Seattle. The paper says 20k.

Gotta go with 20k.

That's just the way it is.
posted by crasspastor at 3:32 AM on February 17, 2003


Gosh, Oliver, if that's the best you can come up with... I mean, gee. The horror, the horror...

And as far as the upside of globalization, I repeat: The Motley Fool, the Morning Business Report, Wall Street Week In Review, The McLaughlin Group, Tony Brown's Journal.

Well, maybe not Tony Brown, he's a right winger for sure but I really don't have a clue about his stand on globalization. But, what a pack of left wing anti-globalization program names I just ran down otherwise.

And they are on every week unlike your one pitiful little Frontline episode. Oh, God, stop the presses, you're right! PBS is the Bizarro Fox News! We need Fair and Balanced, right away!

And Tom and Ray Magliozzi are down on, not with, SUV's and Ray--or is it Tom?--doesn't even own a car! He rides the bus! There's your evil left wing bias! Oh, I feel faint.... we're surrounded by radio and TV commies!
posted by y2karl at 3:58 AM on February 17, 2003


Excuse me, I meant NOW by evil commie Bill Moyers.
You know, I don't know if we even get that on our PBS station here. Well, I'm glad you're on Blogosphere--with Glenn Reynolds... Boy, that's something to be proud about, I guess. And no doubt you're, um, Colmes, in this context?
posted by y2karl at 4:05 AM on February 17, 2003


You know, Oliver, seriously, I never owned an Earth shoe or Birkenstock in my life. I don't think NPR liberals are all that far to the let. That is more a generational thing than a left-right thing. Young people trash NPR for much the same reason we trashed Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra when we were young. It was so old. Your tastes seem to run to the most popular corporate pop idols currently available--or so a cursory glance at your blog would suggest. Your tastes run to, well, in my time, it would have been--well, gee, I think I'll have to wait for jonmc to help me figure out who the equivalent most accessible, middle of the road, popular record company produced female artist of my time is the equivalent. If we had one. You are a very odd duck, a party of one, against the grain in the funniest places. That you find PBS too far to the left is just so weird. To most people, PBS is a fixed kitty, back from the vet decades ago. Lifestyle liberal at best. Antique Roadshow, Nova and Masterpiece Theater, Deepak Chopra and Bradshaw, the new age and self help Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell--that is so left wing.

You think I, and the so called left slant here on MetaFilter are so far to the left. I don't think this is so. We just live in a time where what was center-right in the 60s is now the left by default. For a fact, I'm much farther than to the right than you care to admit because you are much farther to the right than you care to admit. You get told this over and over by so many people here and your ears disappear at the utterance of it, you can't bear to hear this.

You say you are liberal, slant left in a responsible corporate friendly way but, if there's a tilt there, well, it's not to the left. I mean, if you look at the policies he proposed at the time when when he was President, on domestic social policies, Richard Nixon was way to your left. (Foreign policy is a different story, of course) So, next you time come up with this Birkenstock and Berkeley crap, remember that--Richard Nixon is on your left.

You aren't a Republican, I'll take that on faith. But Richard Nixon is on your left. That epitomizes to me just what is so screwy about these postmodern days...
posted by y2karl at 6:06 AM on February 17, 2003


No need for an anti-limbaugh (anymore). GWB is going down in flames as we speak and he's gonna take the conservative movement down with him. (You heard it here first)
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:22 AM on February 17, 2003


How can anyone take a conservative like hama7 seriously when he spouts such hateful bullshit like "Katie Couric is a freakish, multicultural leftist psychopath" based on one comment she made?
posted by MegoSteve at 6:36 AM on February 17, 2003




"Katie Couric is a freakish, multicultural leftist psychopath"

Eh, replace a few words, starting with "Coulter"...
posted by Shane at 6:38 AM on February 17, 2003


Hama7: The problem is that most of what passes for "liberalism" nowadays is actually leftism, and is is not about any of the above. Leftism is stifling, totalitarian, and anti-American, and quite frankly exists in abundant plenitude in our universities, news drainpipes and radio already, and that's quite enough, thanks very much.
I'll go along with that, sure. But will you go along with the same charge, substituting 'conservatism' and 'right-ism'? I don't want to just repeat what Slithy_Tove said, but I agree with him/her: it's about the 'gotcha' and the partisanship. Each side excuses its own idiots, and (this is the big one) confuses counter-blame for contradiction. For example: "Katie Couric is a big fat doodoohead!" "Oh yeah? Ann Coulter is a bigger, fatter doodoohead!" Indeed so. There is no contradiction whatsoever in this exchange. The two assertions are independent.

Can you even intimate with a straight face that Franken's book title "debates ideas on their merits"? Flagrant nonsense.
Hell no, I wouldn't intimate that. Who would?

Kennedy was a "liberal", Katie Couric is a freakish "multicultural" leftist psychopath. See the mainstream difference?
Yep, why wouldn't I? :)

Hama7, could you please satisfy my curiosity if you don't mind and do this test: www.politicalcompass.org. Actually it would be interesting to know how all of us who regularly engage in these debates are rated on this compass, so if anyone else is interested, please let us know your results. (I'm Economic Left/Right: -6.12; Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.95) At the least, we get to see MetaFilter's political demographics.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:52 AM on February 17, 2003


Economic Left/Right: 4.38
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.90

No current British politician is in my quadrant! And damn few American ones. Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but Slithy_Tove has no place to lay his head, politically speaking.

I've been a fan of Political Compass, and I think it would be more useful and interesting to add your Political Compass readings to the user profile than age, income, or other demographics.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:31 AM on February 17, 2003


You know, I wish owillis would get his own radio show. One that played in the wee hours of the morning. That way, if I had to drive somewhere, I could listen to his bombastic rantings and know that I wouldn't fall asleep. I would be screaming and yelling back at the radio about what moronic ideas he had. A win-win situation. :-)
posted by Plunge at 9:10 AM on February 17, 2003


Your tastes seem to run to the most popular corporate pop idols currently available--or so a cursory glance at your blog would suggest.

Er, right, Britney Spears is the corporate globalization harbinger of doom. Corporate rock will eat your soul, we must get down to the indie mofos or we'll all die!

You think I, and the so called left slant here on MetaFilter are so far to the left.

Well, maybe if some of you got out into the real world some time.

I don't think this is so. We just live in a time where what was center-right in the 60s is now the left by default.

Peep the calendar. It's 2003.

I find it highly amusing you get so upset when someone doesn't meet the y2karl definition of a liberal and label anyone to the right of you as a Republican. Sometimes I wonder if they should just call progressives "regressive", since the 60s just aren't over yet.
posted by owillis at 9:26 AM on February 17, 2003


tee-hee!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:19 AM on February 17, 2003


Leftism is stifling, totalitarian, and anti-American, and quite frankly exists in abundant plenitude in our universities, news drainpipes and radio already, and that's quite enough, thanks very much.

hama7. let me guess - you never graduated from a Univeristy.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:30 AM on February 17, 2003


NPR boring and pedantic? The pedantic part I can see, and I suppose there's a negative connotation to that word.... but I think "boring" is highly subjective. Yeah, I know people who are disappointed their boss tunes the radio to NPR for the whole day, when they could be listening to classic rock or what have you, but it's very rare that I find NPR content obtuse or uninteresting, and it's far more informative than anything else I've managed to locate on the airwaves. I suppose the former observation ("is not boring!") is a value judgement, but the later one ("informative") I think of as more objective. Other than online resources and some of the better newspapers/magazines, NPR has most media resources beat for breadth and depth.

And I'd agree with the assertion that's what "liberals" would rather have than Limbaugh-esque antics, but more importantly, the whole nation would be better off if no one ever adopted that rhetorical stance/style again, no matter what their position on a political spectrum may be.
posted by namespan at 11:36 AM on February 17, 2003


I'm surprised (but maybe I shouldn't be) to see all the virulent debates centered on whether or not "liberal" radio can theoretically work, without any discussion of the real-world example given in the FPP, Harry Shearer's Le Show. Do you folks all just live in cities that don't carry it?

Granted, it's an hour show that only has about a half-hour of actual commentary (something that pissed me off the first few times I heard it, but I've matured since), but I think it's a great example of what so-called liberals can do using only a little finely honed sardonic wit and, well, facts.
posted by soyjoy at 1:32 PM on February 17, 2003


you never graduated from a Univeristy.

Nope, you got me there. I never graduated from a Univeristy.

aeschenkarnos: My point about that leftist sideshow is that it passes for "mainstream" commentary, which it isn't. The left scarcely needs yet another outlet from which to blast more nonsense, it's all over the place already. Have you ever really listened to Dan Rather, or any score of others? It's just nauseating.

Test: Economic right 7.88
Authoritarian 1.18

Thanks for the test link. Interesting. I thought it was going to be one of those libertarian things where no matter what you answer, you come out libertarian, (surprise!)
posted by hama7 at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2003


Randi Rhodes gets better ratings than Rush Limbaugh at her station in Palm Beach County (her station, WJNO, carries both programs). She probably would outdraw Rush in many markets if she had the opportunity to take her show nationwide. But Limbaugh threatened to pull his show off other stations that would dare syndicate Rhodes. I don't blame him. Rhodes really would pound Limbaugh into the dirt in a lot of markets. It's unfortunate that Limbaugh doesn't truly believe in the marketplace -- of ideas or otherwise. You would think that he wouldn't be so scared of competition -- even competition against a girl. He's a pussy.
posted by Holden at 5:21 PM on February 17, 2003


aeschenkarnos: Thanks for the link. Now, when someone asks where I land politically I can say I'm West of Stalin and South of Gandhi.
posted by ?! at 5:51 PM on February 17, 2003


Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -7.90

That puts me right around Ghandi and Ken Livingstone. I think I can live with that. Thanks aeschen! I'll be putting that in my mefi profile.
posted by condour75 at 6:25 PM on February 17, 2003


You're dealin' with a serious hoo-ha here.

Economic Left/Right: -9.50
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -8.92
posted by crasspastor at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2003


Economic Left/Right: -3.12
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.64
posted by owillis at 7:18 PM on February 17, 2003


MetaFilter: Gandhi Would Call us Filthy Hippies.
posted by condour75 at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2003


You're welcome, all. Pass it on, it's the most objective and useful test of its kind I've ever seen. Back on the topic, I nominate namespan for Best Thing Said So Far Prize, for but more importantly, the whole nation would be better off if no one ever adopted that rhetorical stance/style again, no matter what their position on a political spectrum may be. Amen to that.

However, it won't happen, because the thing about "that rhetorical style" is that it's a lot of fun to listen to if the topic at hand doesn't personally concern you, and even more fun if it does and the speaker's asserted views are similar to your own. It's human nature, and very tempting, to criticize {disliked radio host of your choice} for verballing people, while you also wish that you could listen to that radio host get verballed him/herself. There's something inherent in us as humans that draws us to watch other humans argue and fight, in preference to reasonable discussion. It's why people troll arguments like this one. It's why documentaries are much less popular than action movies. It's why reading the textbook isn't as much fun as reading a novel. We crave excitement.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:42 PM on February 17, 2003


Is that even possible, crasspastor? I await Karl's counterpoint.

Economic: 2.10
Social: -4.18
posted by dgaicun at 11:06 PM on February 17, 2003


I'm no crasspastor, but apparently I must fairly reek of patchouli... (-6.25, --8.31)
posted by hincandenza at 1:02 AM on February 18, 2003


Don't worry. I'm well aware I'm an unrealistic idealist destined for a life of futility.

The cool thing is too, the further left I go, the more I believe that everyone has a right to be heard no matter where they fall on the graph. What a connundrum for true believers.
posted by crasspastor at 1:57 AM on February 18, 2003


Economic Left/Right: -8.25
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -5.59

I'm hoping the Lefty Talk Radio people will recruit Stephanie Miller and save her from doing lame game shows on minor-league cable channels.
posted by wendell at 2:52 AM on February 18, 2003


I thought I'd give the political compass a MeTa
posted by dgaicun at 6:57 AM on February 18, 2003


Fox News preps talk radio with Alan Colmes. Isn't it ironic that Fox beat the DNC to the punch.
posted by gyc at 8:05 PM on February 19, 2003


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