Liberal Women Struggle to Find Broad Appeal

Posted: Aug 30, 2007 12:01 AM
Liberal Women Struggle to Find Broad Appeal

It was no surprise last week when GreenStone Media announced the end of its all women, all whining, all the time radio network.  In the year since its inception, GreenStone only had 11 stations that carried its programming.  The mainstream media was positively orgasmic when GreenStone launched in late 2006.  The network was backed by investors like Gloria Steinem, Rosie O’Donnell, Billie Jean King and Jane Fonda who all ponied up $3.1 million.  Carrie Lukas of Independent Women’s Forum wrote, “To thunderous acclaim from the liberal intelligentsia, a team of feminist icons -- including Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda -- last year launched a women-run radio network.  The mainstream media dutifully parroted press releases describing the launch as a ‘breakthrough’ for women in the male-dominated world of talk radio.”

The media insisted that GreenStone was finally giving women a voice and the content they’ve been craving.  Women already control content on TV, magazines and books, so I suppose it’s only natural that they try to fit talk radio in their overstuffed handbag.  The notion that women don’t have a voice in today’s media is totally bizarre.  I can’t even watch a NFL game without seeing a feature story about a linebacker that reads Goodnight, Moon to preschoolers in his spare time.  Yet, the media went on and on about GreenStone breaking the barrier of talk radio and bringing a new concept to talk radio. 

Todd Fisher, who helped launch a small women’s station in Minneapolis, told The Houston Chronicle, “Going in, we knew the girlfriend approach, the communicating in a very real and honest way, was how we were going to gain traction.”  Like many women, I’m not looking for a bosom buddy, I’m looking for entertainment to pass the time during a commute.  Fisher smartly cautioned GreenStone that they should focus on content, not on advocating an agenda that would fragment their listeners.  And they say men are bad listeners.  GreenStone quickly fell into the predictable pattern of celebrity over substance, turning to men like Ralph Nader and Alec Baldwin to rescue them.  As Air America did before them, GreenStone quickly fell into a caricature of itself.

Meanwhile, achievements by conservative women in talk radio were completely ignored in the hype over GreenStone.  It’s disingenuous to say that women haven’t succeeded in this “men’s market.”  In addition to their radio programs, hosts including Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Monica Crowley, Laura Ingraham, Melanie Morgan, Martha Zoller and Tammy Bruce have also found success as authors and TV pundits.  Yet, GreenStone CEO and former Federal Communications Commissioner Susan Hess insisted that there was “a huge hole in the market.”  After GreenStone sunk, the question isn’t why do women fail in talk radio, but why do liberals continue to fail in talk radio?

The Left and their cohorts in the media are obsessed with identity entertainment and identity politics.  They assumed women would flock to their W-PMS experiment the same way they expect women to flock to the polls for Hillary Clinton.  To the contrary, recent polling shows that Hillary isn’t gaining the expected support from women, particularly those most like her – white, college educated and upper middle class.  Polling shows that it’s mostly blue-collar, “women with needs” that will vote for Clinton in 2008.  In other words, women who believe her promises of free health care, free daycare and free tours of the Lincoln Bedroom.  Actually, that last one is Bill’s campaign promise. 

In a recent poll commissioned by the Susan B. Anthony List and the polling company ™ only 40% of women said they could conceivably vote for Hillary Clinton.  Lest the media characterize the remainder as victims of the patriarchy, an additional 46% said they would vote for a woman (just not that woman) in 2008 or in a future presidential election.  Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, said, “Considering how miserably Clinton does among male voters, she should be concerned that the ‘sisterhood’ is not rallying to her side either.”

At least the Clinton campaign did receive some good news this week – they’ve got the Cuban dictator voted locked!

Absent of substance and an agenda that appeals to all kinds of Americans, the Left consistently appeals to one’s race or gender for cheap and easy votes and listeners.  It didn’t work for GreenStone Media and it’s not working for Hillary Clinton.  As Myrna Blyth wrote in Spin Sisters, “Remember, more women listen to [Dr. Laura] each night than have seen all of the performances of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues everywhere in the world.”  Now that’s broad appeal.