This latest effort by liberals to find a radio talk dynamo to nullify my brother Rush and other conservative talk show hosts is nothing short of remarkable. What's that about imitation and flattery?
The Left was so used to its media monopoly before Rush came along they apparently forgot what it was like to compete in the marketplace of ideas. The truth is, they can't handle competition too well in any field.
It wasn't just the major media they controlled. They've dominated American universities for over a generation, and you ought to see some of the utter silliness that passes for scholarship at these institutions -- if you haven't already.
That's what a monopoly climate does to quality. These eggheads are so busy patting themselves on the back for their pseudo-intellectual sophistry, they've long ago subordinated educational excellence to their higher priority of social engineering.
The same is true of our K-12 public schools. The education establishment is using its money and influence -- not to mention coerced union dues -- to insulate itself from the competition that school choice initiatives would deliver. Their protected monopoly breeds the insane, anti-educational psychobabble that pervades our schools, from outcome-based education and multiculturalism to sexual orientation lunacy.
Rush literally pulled himself up by his own bootstraps and took by surprise the dominant media culture -- a culture spoiled and corrupted by its monopoly. When they finally realized what hit them, these self-proclaimed "choice" advocates tried to use the power of government, via the misnamed "Fairness Doctrine," to shut him down.
They've tried various other methods, such as repeated slander and distortions, but none of them have worked. Now, the genie of conservative talk is out of the bottle and into the mainstream, never to be recaptured and suppressed.
At their wit's end, the liberal establishment is pulling out all the stops to find an answer to Rush. Since their coercive schemes failed, they're going to try buying their way into the market with some grandiose $10,000,000 scheme reportedly featuring the politically humorless Al Franken. It's hardly surprising they are delusional enough to believe they can solve this problem, too, simply by throwing money at it.
We don't have to wait for the answer to whether their experiment will work because it has already been tried -- again and again -- and failed. If there were a market for liberal talk radio, at least one of the hundreds of liberal hosts that have tried it would have succeeded. The question we don't know the answer to is what excuse they'll serve up next when this effort bombs.
One liberal writer may have provided a clue as to what they'll say. Jon Margolis, in the Chicago Tribune, offered a theory as to why conservative talk radio is so popular. There's no reason his bizarre little theory won't work for them in the future as well. Margolis said the reason conservative radio is so successful is that there's a ready-made audience of disgruntled right-wingers out there, and conservative talkers merely cater to their "social resentments."
"The niche," said Margolis, "is disappointed people, mostly men. Andrew Kohut, the highly regarded pollster for Times-Mirror, has described the 'typical Limbaugh listener' as a 'white male, suburbanite, conservative (with a) better-than-average job but not really a great job. Frustrated with the system, with the way the world of Washington works. Frustrated by cultural change. Maybe threatened by women.' Somebody, in short, who is not as rich, powerful or famous as he thinks he should be, and who wants to blame outside forces. The talk-show hosts help. They blame cultural (but rarely economic) elites and the government for the world's ills and regularly reinforce the listener's sense of being scorned and ridiculed."
I hate to disappoint Mr. Margolis, but it is not selfish ambition, economic discontentment or social frustration that motivates conservatives. What they
are passionate about is their belief in freedom and the foundational values underlying it. Their outrage is reserved for those who are doing everything they can to strip America of the very things that have made it great. It is not their love of self that drives their interest in politics, but their love of country.
Mr. Margolis's utter arrogance and cluelessness about conservatives is representative of the obliviousness that guarantees the continued failure of liberal talk radio. If he and his fellow travelers want liberal talk to work, they should try shedding their elitism and superiority -- but to do that would require them to shed their liberalism. If they do so, they'll succeed -- in conservative talk radio.