The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 June 2006

Al Franken, Air America, Frankenfluff


Of Stuart Smalley, Lefties Are Increasingly Critical

Over the past year, the Radio Equalizer has been tracking the curious phenomenon we've come to call "Frankenfluff", whereby the liberal talk show host is frequently showered with highly favorable mainstream media coverage.

Kicking into high gear upon the release of The Truth- With Jokes, press praise has been virtually non-stop ever since.

No matter where Stuart travels, it seems, local reporters are there to deliver another Frankenfluff dose. For the Air America Radio talker, has it become addictive?

Over the past two weeks, for example, a brief Franken-visit to the Nantucket Film Festival attracted widespread Boston-area media fawning, especially from the Globe (which is owned by the fluff-happy New York Times).

In a real case of irony, however, Franken's non-stop puff party may very well be spoiled by fed-up activists on the left. Simmering for some time, this "progressive" tension is now heading toward a full boil.

The reason is quite simple: it's becoming clear to them that Franken The Activist does not much resemble Franken The Senate Candidate. Taking a page from Hillary Clinton's playbook, Al has been busy "moderating" himself for a very likely 2008 US Senate run in Minnesota.

That has led to this anti-Franken tirade, which began spreading across the left side of the 'Net this week:

Last Friday, June 17, was not a good day for the Al Franken radio show. Al was “down,” sounding like he was on the verge of tears, not such a good disposition for a comic. It seems his listeners had let loose on him when he proclaimed that he “agreed with Bush” on the question of withdrawal from Iraq.

That is, Franken does not support the Murtha proposal to depart posthaste and call it “redeployment”; in fact Franken does not support any timetable for withdrawal at all. The emails and phone calls apparently poured in after this most explicit declaration yet of his long-held position. Here is the email I sent after hearing him say, in the course of declaring himself a disciple of Bush, that his radio program was the site of genuine “debate” about what to do in Iraq:

Dear Al,

Today you did not tell the truth about the War on Iraq. You have never had a real debate on your program about immediate withdrawal, which is the position of over 70% of the Dem Party - although not that of the moneyed Dem Establishment (e.g., Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid) to which you seem to be very much in thrall. (By the way, this shows that the Democratic Party is not democratic (small “d”).)

You were pro-war before the war and now you remain pro-war. Do you know how that strikes the ear when you talk about your children who, like the Bush kids, do not go to fight whereas other less privileged kids, one of them the daughter of friends of mine, do?

Why you take this manifestly absurd position is unclear. You are a smart guy, even though you went to Harvard (joke). So what is up? Is it ambition for public office that leads you to take the Establishment position? Or is it loyalty to Israel? I do not know your position on Israel; but you have never, to my knowledge, discussed the oppression and plight of the Palestinians.

Along those lines you have never had a discussion of the Mearscheimer and Walt paper, and you must be familiar with it.

So by omission you lie. And hence I have to stick with my piece in, from about a year back, “Al Franken is a Big Fat Phony.”

Perhaps some day you will catch up to Randi Rhodes who, after years of hanging up on callers who advocated immediate withdrawal from Iraq, has finally come around. And she is finally talking about Third Parties without the pressure of which the Dems will never change.

The best question to ask left-wing activists is why they were ever fooled by Franken's self-serving, phony act. He's made a lot of money from liberals who have been eager to buy his books and see him in public.

Why did it take them so long to question where he really stands? It's all about Al and always has been.

As for the mainstream media, it may be some time before the impact of growing leftist dissatisfaction is reflected in the notoriously stuffy Boston Globe's coverage, for example.

Still, losing hardcore activist support could hurt Franken's political future much more than he realizes.

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Hello Franken Kitty: Pete at IHillary, NYT - AAR in Bed: David A Lunde


  • The posts say it's been a long-held position, and is agreed with by much of the Democratic Party (which is, of course, split on the issue). So what is the big deal? As for "grwoing lefty dissatisfaction," you're going to have to come up with more than just a few blog posts. Perhaps a scientific survey or appreciable dip in Franken's ratings (if only you had the actual arbitron books, instead of the publicly-available radio and records compilations).

    By Blogger Justin, at 21 June, 2006 18:02  

  • Justin sez:

    "Perhaps a scientific survey or appreciable dip in Franken's ratings (if only you had the actual arbitron books, instead of the publicly-available radio and records compilations). "

    Justin - Are you suggesting that the public Spring 06 ratings for WLIB in New York are lying when they show a drop for Air America to a .9 share?

    Seattle has fallen from from 2.8 to 2.0- is a lie too?

    Madison Wisconson is a bastion of liberalism... why has the Air America station there fallen from 3.8 to 2.2?

    Hey, there's always Spokane - they're reliably Air America fans right? So what's with the fall from 2.0 to 1.3?

    Maybe I understand:

    Franken is really doing just fine, but the rest of the line-up is tanking SO badly that they're dragging the overall ratings down?

    Now that's the ticket!

    New York
    WLIB-AM Inner City Talk 1.0 / 0.9

    KPTK-AM CBS Radio Talk 2.8 / 2.0

    WXXM-FM Clear Channel Talk 3.8 / 2.2

    KPTQ-AM Clear Channel News/Talk 2.0 / 1.3

    By Blogger Lokki, at 21 June, 2006 19:23  

  • I'm shocked!

    You mean Al Franken isn't the kook fringe lefty that the right wing media tried to paint him to be?

    I can't believe they would lie about something like that.

    Al Franken, a middle of the road liberal, say it ain't so.

    By Blogger Ezsuds, at 21 June, 2006 21:09  

  • Right Wing Whiner retorts-

    "silly kool aide drinking Bush hack "

    Clever way to disprove my data, fella. I'm certainly impressed.

    So, the 12+ statistics have no correlation whatsoever to other statistics then?

    Let me see if I have this straight then and correct me where I'm wrong:

    Franken is really doing just fine with the demographics that advertisers care about, but the rest of the demographics are tanking SO badly that they're dragging the overall ratings down?

    Is THAT the ticket?

    Tell me please.

    By the way - it's The KOOL-AID® that I drink.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 23 June, 2006 17:33  

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