Jonah Goldberg

Franken justifies his relentless personal and ad hominem attacks on conservatives by asserting that his victims are mean-spirited and they deserve it. That may cut it for his fans, but it's not based in anything resembling principle. If it's wrong for Limbaugh and Coulter to do what they do, it's wrong for Franken to do it too. Right?

More to the point, it's lame. I thought liberals were the people with the "positive agenda"? All of this amounts to snarky, "me too" copy-cat liberalism. Air America was founded, we've been told, to be a "liberal version" of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. Am I the only one who hears children talking about how they'll build a bigger, better tree house because the cool kids won't let them play in theirs? In fact, it's for this reason that I'm confident Air America will stagger on for a while: It's simply too important to the self-esteem of liberals.

What the creators of Air America fail to grasp is the fact that conservative talk radio is the alternative media. It became popular because conservatives lost the battle for the political culture, not because they won it.

Conservative views - and conservatives - were, and are, unwelcome at ABC, CBS, NBC, Time, The New York Times as well as Harvard, Yale and academia in general. That's why conservatives created everything from National Review and the Weekly Standard to the American Enterprise Institute and "The Rush Limbaugh Show."

Yes, these institutions have been remarkably successful, but the fact remains that the elite media and certainly academia are still largely closed to conservatives. The posing of liberals as rebels in a conservative media environment is wishful thinking at best and sad, dishonest play-acting at worse.

Yeah, yeah there's that diabolical Fox News, but Franken's paranoia notwithstanding, it's not the only news source in America. Unlike what you hear on Limbaugh's show, there's really no idea listeners can get from Air America that they can't get from the network nightly news, the front page of The New York Times or from their college professors.

Sure, Franken will give you a few more jokes about Rush's drug problems, but as for new ideas - or ideas in general - Franken has no material.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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