Al Franken has an oped over at The Daily News called Rush Limbaugh’s Real Legacy. It’s basically a complaint that Rush Limbaugh was successful in his career while Franken wasn’t.
I’m so old, I remember when the Left had a significant, often dominant, share of talk radio. That began to change during the Regan era, and Rush Limbaugh’s arrival in national syndication more or less coincident with the Clinton’s arrival in national politics was part of decisively tipping the balance on the AM band toward the Right. Rush was funny, and he was effective.
Part of the Left’s response to Rush was an outfit called Air America which included Al Franken, then a minor-league comedy writer and occasional SNL player, as one of its featured hosts. Air America failed, but Franken used his time in talk radio to increase his clout on the Left. He was able to get to the Senate through what many see as a rigged election, but he failed there too. Meanwhile, Rush consistently held on to tens of millions of listeners to the end of his career.
I’m seeing some folks wonder who can replace Rush. Beats me, but I’m reasonably certain that someone else will come along who is funny and effective and who the Left will love to hate.
Rush Limbaugh made a significant impact on American culture. During his 30+ years on nationally-syndicated radio, he influenced, deeply at times, our national political debate. He did it by cleverly and often humorously framing the the debate in ways that were difficult for his opponents to easily answer, and his effectiveness caused him to be one of the admitted and most hated men in the country.
Sometimes he could frame the debate with a single word or phrase.
Consider the word feminazi.
The word Rush coined is now so charged, so verboten, that I had to fight with autocorrupt to be able to type it. Yet, it is a excellent summary description of one segment of the left, that group of generally upper-class radical feminists who wish to deal with their personal failures in life by imposing their control on society, at least with respect to the issues they care about, through totalitarian means. It would be a useful term simply for that terse summary. However, it has the extra utility of pointing out that the marxist kooks to which it refers are more like National Socialists (Fascisti and Nazis) than any of the Republican they call nazis.
I admired Rush Limbaugh.
Dan Riehl has a post up looking at the nonsense being floated by some on the left forecasting the demise of right wing talk radio. One reason cited by those hopeful lefties is that Rush Limbaugh might change syndicators. They note that Cumulus, the company that syndicates his show, is losing money, and their spin is that the Rush v. Sandra Fluke tiff spooked too many advertisers. The possibility that Cumulus might have management problems is ignored.
So while drinking my second cup of coffee this morning, I pondered this thought—if it’s only right wing media that’s seeing a slow down in ad revenue during a funky economy, why did the New York Times see its ad sales drop 11 percent and earning fall over 90 percent during the first quarter this year?
Roger Kimball has a piece over at PJ Media about the possibility of a leftist attack on conservative talk radio that would consist of buying small stations and shutting down their conservative talk programming.
How might that work out?
The failure of Air America in the marketplace suggests that replacing conservative talk radio with leftist jabber would be a financial disaster. Shifting to music formats might or might not be successful for the new owners. Those buyouts, if they happened, would leave conservative talk radio “stuck” on 50 kW clear-channel stations and other major market outlets which wouldn’t be such a bad place to be. Those stations are for-profit operations whose programming is driven by ratings. They will stick with the likes of Rush Limbaugh as long as the stations’ ratings support good advertising revenue.
The marketplace of ideas is not exempt from the law of supply and demand.
Rush Limbaugh is a thorn in the side of the Left. They’ve tried various unsuccessful ways to shut him down. Andrew Kavan offers them a simple plan.
In order to understand how the plan would work, you need to understand what makes Rush Limbaugh successful. He makes his living by poking fun at the obvious disconnects between what left-wing pols and the main stream media say on the one hand and what is going on in the real world on the other. If there were no such disconnects, Rush would run out of ammunition in a hurry.
So the way to knock Rush off his perch is to simply tell the truth. Of course, that may have other disadvantages, but …
UPDATE—Illegal robocalls are probably not a good strategy.
There’s a bit of a buzz on the Interwebs about how Carbonite’s stock price has tanked after they dropped sponsorship on Rush Limbaugh’s talk show. Some folks are wondering if the there might be connection.
I think so, but I believe that it is indirect. Any poor managed company will see its market value drop. Carbonite is no exception. The stock price has dropped more than 50 percent since it peaked at around 21 bucks following the IPO. Instapundit takes note that the company lists Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, and Randi Rhodes as “trusted spokespersons” in it’s SEC filings. I leave it to the Gentle Reader to asess what this says about the company management’s judgement.
UPDATE–Jeffrey Lord at American Spectator advocates that Mr. Limbaugh’s fans should punch back twice as hard and offers some suggestions on where, in addition to Carbonite, to land the blows.