The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

10 July 2008

Ralph Nader Launches Attack Against Rush Limbaugh


With Limbaugh Attack, Nader Seeks Lib Street Cred

*** UPDATED: Radio Shares In Freefall ***

For a desperate, aging leftist whose primary base of political support faded many years ago, what better way to revive one's street credibility than to attack an icon of the right?

That's the obvious thinking behind presidential candidate Ralph Nader's missile launch targeting Rush Limbaugh. Accusing him of accepting "welfare", the presumptive Green Party nominee has demanded El Rushbo pay "rent" for using the public airwaves:

Rush Limbaugh
The Rush Limbaugh Show

2 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10121

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,

The Associated Press reports your new contract with Premiere Radio Networks will enrich you with at least $38 million a year over the next eight years. You are making this money on the public property of the American people for which you pay no rent.

You, Rush Limbaugh, are on welfare.

As you know, the public airwaves belong to the American people. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is supposed to be our trustee in managing this property. The people are the landlords and the radio and TV stations and affiliated companies are the tenants.

The problem is that since the Radio Act of 1927 these corporate tenants have been massively more powerful in Washington, DC than the tens of millions of listeners and viewers. The result has been no payment of rent by the stations for the value of their license to broadcast. You and your company are using the public's valuable property for free. This freeloading on the backs of the American people is called corporate welfare.

It is way past due for the super-rich capitalist--Rush Limbaugh from Cape Girardeau, Missouri--to get himself off big time welfare. It is way past due for Rush Limbaugh as the Kingboy of corporatist radio to set a capitalist example for his peers and pay rent to the American people for the very lucrative use of their property.

You need not wait for the broadcast industry-indentured FCC and Congress to do the right thing. You can lead by paying a voluntary rent--determined by a reputable appraisal organization--for the time you use on the hundreds of stations that carry your words each weekday.

Payment of rent for the use of public airwaves owned by the American people is the conservative position. Real conservatives oppose corporate welfare. Real corporatists feed voraciously from hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare gushing out of Washington, DC yearly.

Whose side are you on? Freeloading? Or paying rent for the public property you have been using free for many years?

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

Let's assume for a moment that Nader actually believes this drivel (which, believe it or not, is an old argument the left used against talk radio in the days just after the Fairness Doctrine was repealed): why would it apply only to Rush?

What about Air America's hosts? Shouldn't they also pay "rent" to use the airwaves?

And what about politicians when they appear on radio programs? Shouldn't they fork over their fair share?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), for example, has done regular broadcasts in the Silver State for many years. In addition, Mayor Bloomberg appears on New York's WOR 710 AM. Should we send them a bill?

Finally, how many times has Nader himself been featured as a guest on radio shows? Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of times? What's the estimated cost of that?

So the real question is this: Ralphy, did you spend more than five seconds thinking this through, or does the letter merely represent the last gasp of a political career long past its sell-by date?

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  • Is it possible that the "Unsafe at any Speed-King" might be loosing it. (Please dear God, let me die gracefully, unlike this fossil, and the fossil, Jesse Jackasson in the story below.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 July, 2008 18:03  

  • I would personally like to be compensated for every time Ralph Nader breaths. The atmosphere is a public resource, regulated by the EPA and he's been using far more than his fair share. I would also accept, rather than compensation, if he stopped using it immediatly.

    By Blogger Neal5x5, at 10 July, 2008 18:03  

  • There's also the little matter of Rush not actually owning any transmitters. He doesn't actually use the "airwaves"; his 600-odd affiliates do.

    By Anonymous Mitch Berg, at 10 July, 2008 18:14  

  • Auction the letter. That will put Nader over the edge LOL!

    By Blogger Intimidator, at 10 July, 2008 19:27  

  • Pathetic. And kind of amusing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 July, 2008 20:21  

  • I think Nader is net good but just barely. The extremes serve a purpose, far right and far left. We just can't let them have too much control

    By Blogger The cup is half full of something I don't like, at 10 July, 2008 21:56  

  • Nader has it backwards -- Limbaugh doesn't use the airwaves, the radio stations that buy and air his programs do. For his argument to have a shred of validity, he would need to argue that the broadcasters themselves do.

    Indeed, his position is akin to arguing that that authors should pay for the privilege of having their books carried by the local public library.

    By Anonymous Rhymes With Right, at 11 July, 2008 00:19  

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