The New York Times just published one of its most revealing
articles in memory: "Outflanked Democrats Wonder How to Catch Up in Media
Apparently, the Democratic Party is gravely concerned that its
liberal message is not being heard. And the reason Democrats give is that
conservatives dominate talk radio, Fox News, and the editorial pages of The
Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times.
Because of talk radio, two editorial pages and one cable news
channel, liberals just cannot get their message across to Americans.
Full disclosure demands that I acknowledge a vested interest
here. I have been a radio talk show host for 20 years -- 16 in Los Angeles
and the last four in national syndication (through the Salem Radio Network).
So I read with a big smile how influential my profession is perceived to be.
But all this begs two questions: why is talk radio so powerful, and why is
it dominated by conservatives?
The first question is particularly fascinating. That Democrats
chafe at conservative dominance in talk radio is almost incredible --
because liberals dominate everything else.
Liberals dominate television: Aside from some Fox News shows
(remember the conservative Sean Hannity is paired with the liberal Alan
Colmes), the liberals dominate everything on TV (with the exception of John
Stossel's specials on ABC). They dominate CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC and CNN news
broadcasts, and they dominate all television entertainment.
Liberals dominate the education of our young: The ratio of
Democrats to Republicans among liberal arts professors at universities is
routinely 20 to one. And the deans, the presidents, the curricula, the
speech codes and the campus newspapers are all liberal. Liberals also run
the schools of education, the law schools, the high schools and the
Liberals dominate Hollywood: Are the Democrats unfamiliar with
Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, and
almost every other star who speaks out on political issues? Do Democrats not
attend movies, which with almost no exception are liberal, if not radical,
in their messages? Have you seen any movies recently with a businessman
hero? Any with an affirmation of Judaism or Christianity?
Liberals dominate the public airwaves: National Public Radio has
been dubbed National Palestinian Radio for good reason. And PBS has just
produced and aired what even The New York Times called "an Islamic
infomercial" in its special on Islam. Juxtapose that with its skeptical
inquiries into the beliefs of Christian or Jewish believers.
Liberals dominate the biggest foundations: such as the Ford and
Liberals dominate almost every major newspaper both in news
coverage and editorial page positions: The Wall Street Journal editorial
page is conservative as are and the editorial and news pages of The
Washington Times. But the liberals have the rest, including The Boston
Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The
Miami Herald, and the Chicago Tribune.
Liberals dominate virtually every professional organization: the
American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Library
Association, American Nurses Association, National Education Association,
American Political Science Association, the Trial Lawyers Association, and,
of course, every big labor union.
Liberals dominate much of organized religion: the mainstream
Protestant churches and Reform and Conservative Judaism; while the liberal
social message (with the exception of abortion rights) dominates much of the
Roman Catholic Church.
Liberals dominate activist groups: the feminist, civil rights
and civil liberties organizations as well as black, Hispanic, gay and Jewish
But according to Democrats, this domination of virtually all of
American public life is not enough to get their message to the American
people. Something must be done about the one TV news network, the two
editorial pages and the radio shows they do not control.
Which raises the question -- why is it that liberals cannot
dominate talk radio as they do virtually everything else?
I will answer this at length in a subsequent column, but the
answer can be easily summarized -- liberals dominate where they cannot be
intellectually challenged. It is effortless for a college professor to spout
leftist rhetoric to naive young people who just graduated from high school.
Let them have to defend their radical views in public and they wilt.
That is why many leftist professors refuse to come on my radio
show -- they are unused to intellectual debate. They live with, work among,
and relate to, fellow leftists. They almost never have to engage
conservative ideas. We in talk radio, on the other hand, immerse ourselves
in liberal newspapers, debate liberal guests and take liberal callers.
In short, the reason the liberal message is not being heard,
despite liberal control of almost all public organs of communication, is
that it is incoherent. The message, not a lack of messengers, is the
contemporary liberal problem.