Left Adopts New Anti-Talk Radio Strategy
The Smear Machine Switches Gears
It was inevitable: after wasting years in a futile effort to yank successful conservative talkers off the air, our "progressive" friends were left with no choice but to adopt a different strategy.
Luckily, they've found one: a new claim that right-leaning talk radio is 'dying'!
Until now, talkers were destroying America, but at the flick of a switch, they've suddenly become irrelevant! Or, they're still a menace, but nobody's listening, or something like that.
We'll let you know when they've straightened this out.
Leading the dubious new charge is little-known CNN contributor John Avlon (image, on the left), who happily rails against "wingnuts" while "progressives" salivate. Avlon's relatively unsuccessful books haven't put an end to his crusade against conservatives and (especially) talkers.
Earlier this week, Avlon was at it again, using The Daily Beast to claim looming troubles for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and others.
The evidence? Thin, to say the least: a narrow, year-over-year ratings comparison (singling out a single month) in one city, plus a couple of lineup changes elsewhere that affected Hannity and Beck. Those in the radio industry have been hearing "conservative talk is doomed" predictions (by liberal "industry experts") at every convention panel since Rush began in syndication.
With a self-serving plug for a slow-moving, low-rated NPR-like talk show where he often appears as a guest, Avlon takes the silliness a step further. And especially dishonest is his ongoing self-characterization as a "no-labels" moderate, despite using rhetoric identical to that of libtalkers and smear left sites:
JOHN AVLON: ...That's his game- and again, you can argue that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. The problem is, he's also a political leader. He's a political leader without real responsibilities, and we're living in a time where politics is following the talk radio model- conflict, tension, fear and resentment- and politicians are acting like talk radio hosts, in which there is no such thing as too extreme. So that's part of the cycle we're in right now- the cycle of incitement.
And sure enough, lefty sites and libtalkers are eating it up. From Thursday's show, here's Randi Rhodes citing Avlon's "evidence":
RANDI RHODES (07:55): And the only thing that makes me happy is that I think right-wing talk radio is over! Glenn Beck’s ratings are down fifty percent, which means Americans are only half as dumb as we thought, or half as dumb as Glenn Beck hoped?
RHODES (08:50): The powers that be would like to get rid of Mark Levin on their radio stations, but they can't, because Sean Hannity says things like, you know, if you take away Levin's show I'll pull mine too. And now they're saying that program directors across the country are going, you know we're not really sure that we care if he pulls his show, not really sure!
It is true that the radio industry has neglected to build a long-term bench of talent in-waiting. A half-dozen or so syndicated hosts and a smattering of local guys are about all the medium now has to offer. And managerial attempts at (almost always non-conservative) "fresh new voices" result in dubious moves (is Salt Lake City really in need of a radio hypnotist?)
The isolated developments cited by the left are hardly enough to be considered a trend, however. When Rush, Hannity, Levin and others have lost 100, 200 or 300 stations, we can talk. Until then, this is ridiculous.