Danny Goldberg, former CEO of Air America, writes about the demise of the network, and how this contrasts with conservative talk radio. Excerpt,
“Conservatives believe in doing whatever it takes to promote their ideas. … In 1976 Rupert Murdoch bought the New York Post and it has lost money every year since–the total loss estimated to be more than half a billion dollars.In 1983, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon created the Washington Times, which has also lost money every year. Widely published reports place Moon’s losses at over $1 billion on the Times and other political media including a purchase of the venerable wire service UPI. These money-losing properties have put dozens of conservatively slanted stories onto the national radar screen, altered the framing of every important political issue and nurtured virtually every right-wing pundit who now thrives as a TV talking head.More recently, Phillip Anschutz bought the money-losing Weekly Standard from Murdoch and announced plans to invest in more conservative media. Meanwhile his fellow billionaire and former Republican Treasury Secretary Pete Petersen started a digital news service called the Fiscal Times.”
He goes on to talk about the influence of talk radio,
“One-hundred-thirty-eight million people commute to and from work in automobiles, where they have no access to computer or TV screens. For around a third of them, or 48 million, AM talk radio is their entertainment of choice. Of the top 10 AM talk radio shows, nine are hosted by extreme conservatives, giving the right wing a captive audience of around 40 million listeners a week–at least seven times greater than the combined audiences of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.”
Also about how this helps boost the “Tea Party Movement”
“It was not preordained that all of the millions of people who identify with the Tea Party movement would believe the conservative narrative that the economic ills afflicting the middle class are the result of liberalism. But given that tens of millions of them had no alternative explanations or solutions, it is not surprising that conservative ideas and candidates are ascendant.”
And finally the key point,
“Instead, most of today’s progressives spent the last year talking to themselves while conservatives convinced millions of people that global warming is a hoax, that torture is required to keep America safe, that non-millionaires in Canada and Europe have worse health care than their American counterparts. The right wing could never have convinced 45 percent of Americans that the Democrats wanted “death panels” if their outreach was limited to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page and the three million people a night who watch Fox’s highest-rated shows.”
Until we persuade our legislative leaders that we’ve got their backs, they’re going to continue doing things–like capitulating to suspending the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other important state environmental laws that protect the public health and the beauty of natural resources. There will be lots more capitulation this year as well, unfortunately, and from the top down. We’re already seeing it in the President’s sharp veering to the right after the Massachusetts election and we sense the same fear and uncertainty swelling in Sacramento.
Unless we put some resources into building a competitive messaging machine and create a megaphone that reaches out beyond our own ears, the state of California will continue to veer to the destructive “right” and we’ll all be blaming “left” politics for it.