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Couldn't happen to a nicer...

By Mike Flugennock on Thursday January 21, 2010 09:56 PM

...worthless, brown-nosing, excuse-making, water-carrying, Donkeycratic mouthpiece:


Air America: 2004-2010

Air America Media, the liberal radio network... has filed for Chapter 7 and will cease broadcasting this evening. All employees have been let go....

The news came a surprise to, well, everyone....

Not to us, Gawker. Not to us. Break out the champagne.

Comments (21)


It should have died heretofore -- before it dug up Al Franken from his shallow grave, and catapulted Rachel Maddow into a media archbishopric.

Somebody drive a stake through it's transmitter. You can never be too sure about these things.


Sometimes it's better just to let shit die on its own than rent a flamethrower.


Yeah, I'll be a stone-cold radical along with the chorus here and say that Air America was a grand and noble attempt by some very unscrupulous people that was represented some fine liberal virtues and its blue failings as well.
Were you folks in the same America I was back then? No satellite radio, only AM for any kind of talk, which meant only Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, local nazis? Do you understand the static hell that commuting was for so many people, which Air America, alone, tried to penetrate? Sure, if you think all liberals are equally worthless, you join the Bill O'Reilly chorus in denigrating liberal talk, but Al Franken and co. were superior broadcasters, and they challenged the reigning knuckle-dragging culture far more than your precious Ralph Nader fireside sermons ever did.


mjosef -- You've just made a really good case for my theory that driving, on a mass scale, is a fantastically effective instrument of social control -- and you square its effectiveness when you combine it with broadcasting, another fantastically effective instrument of social control in its own right. Or maybe it's the product of the squares, even.


Glad to have provided such grist for your theoretical mill, but I'm at a loss to figure out how I did so.
In driving to and from work, the adult mind is in a highly impressionable state, yet the body is fully captive. Now, the Rwandan genocide was immediately preceded by the rousing imprecations on their radios, but not too many of them were in SUVs at the time. Social control does not work through discrete means, but through a supersystem, with that lab-rat 45 minutes augmented by the evening news, the sullen family dinner, the corrupt higher education system, the military fly-overs at NHL games, and you get the nihilistic overview.

Back here in the US, the commuters had the fine experience of being bombarded by 90's Clear Channel Goebbels, which they enjoy to this day. Air America provided the only counterweight to this AM onslaught of far-right propaganda. The satellite air suddenly became alive with talented Democrats, and even some wack-attack renegades like Richard Belzer. The Rovian clock moved back.
Yet what do I imagine SMBIVA listening to, since it, by acclamation here, was not this once-sylvan outpost of Maron and Seder and Maddow and Garafolo and Rhodes and Hartmann? Troubled stars these all were, but for SMBIVA it must have been a hunched-over drive, re-popping in worn tapes of the New Ascetics, listening to the Princetonian dirges of perennial fireflies like Nader, Cockburn, Kucinich - oh wait, no tapes, no show, just faithful Don Quixote updates from these autistic masters.
I was happy to pay a few bucks for the XM "Left" of Air America. Now, I drive in a bettered state, connecting a quarter-sized Sansa so that Jimmy Dore and Doug Henwood take me away from where I'm going and where I've been.
Is that the social control you're talking about?

Al Schumann:

The right wing talk radio is better suited to cultivating paranoia and road rage. Hence the enormous market share. It sets the mood for the corporate workplace. A little smug hatred, a lot of tailgating, cutting people off, futile acceleration and irritable braking... perfect stuff, from an advertiser's point of view. Reinforcing it is highly profitable. Right wingers are endlessly responsive to the stimuli. Talk radio provides the voice over. So, more profit.

All liberal talk radio is good for is getting liberals ready for their daily grind, which will be spent in half-assed, smirky, passive aggressive provocation of wrathful, status-panicked right wingers who take too many diet pills and tailgate liberals on their way to work. Good so far, from a commercial point of view. But it's redundant. Advertisers are aware of that. Liberals are already dedicated to priming right wing consumers. It's embedded in their "philosophy". They're self-starters, highly disciplined. They provide their own voice over. Why pay for something you can get for free?

...and they challenged the reigning knuckle-dragging culture far more than your precious Ralph Nader fireside sermons ever did.

I still remember Rhoades glorious debut, in which she yelled at Nader when he called up to congratulate her and the station for being on the air. That was pretty much the end of any interest I had in Air America. Though my husband insisted on having that shit on in the car, and I did once hear her shout down a woman who was trying to explain that Boston had a racist school system. Sure, Randi. There's no history of racism at all in Boston when Democrats are in charge, and you'd surely know more about that than your caller. Charming. Just charming.

A "challenge" against loud-mouthed, self-absorbed, isolated blowhards who delicately cherry-pick to create a false "outer limit" of acceptable discourse on the political spectrum by an equally obnoxious group of assholes who cherry-pick just a wee bit in the other direction is not a "challenge" to anything at all.

It's ironic that mjosef (who I could've sworn liked Nader at one time, but I guess my memory banks have been bailed out one time too many) mentions "fireside chats" by Nader. I can't remember any of the Prog high-rollers ever considering letting Nader air even a three minute one-a-week sermon on their precious AA. I don't remember them ever giving him anything but a complete blackout lovingly interspersed with intervals of abuse. Fuck 'em.

I find the defense of Air America amusing. So it was "necessary" or "welcome" because of right wing dipshittery?

Nice illogic there. That's like saying we all should go rob banks because the banks are robbing the US Treasury. Yep, the best way to fix a problem is to amplify it. Definitely.

Well done, mjosef.

The smug assholes of Air America, who collectively know as much as one of my feces, should be sent to Guantanamo Bay where they can be tortured by Shin Bet and MOSSAD goons under Eric Holder's command. Viva Obama!


1)Al, I'm not sure what "priming right-wing consumers" refers to, and if I am guilty of said charge.
It seems like folks here think that all the bluster and propaganda and vile contumely is no problem, no effect, no worry. Going back a decade, multiply shithead radio times the courts and George W. times the churches and times the military, and one little corporate liberal voice in some way against this, and who gets the frothing attack here? Why it's the pipsqueakers, and the have a disadvantage of just having died.
Ms. Xeno turns off the radio when Randi Rhodes, who in a documentary from Air America's early days can be seen to be about one step above bagwoman, is a jerk to St. Ralph. Back to Michael Savage for you? Beethoven? If AA had a beef with Ralph over the stupid Green run, I care for neither side, but this absurd "abuse of St. Ralph" wailing is the redundancy - I'm sure the dynamic, hip St. Ralph would have gotten the youngsters fired up with some trenchant calls for revolution from his littered redoubt.
CFox, yes, AA was "necessary and welcome because of right-wing dipshittery." The analogy you postulate is, what, some sort of SLA holdover? Do you work for a bank? What's the deal? AA, being dead, and being about a fraction of nazi radio's share, was not the equivalent, is not the equivalent, and will never be, as Al Schumann intimates. Nazi radio is huge, tiny liberal radio can help out some of us who drive to work, so why the FoxNews-allied violent imagery against the little guys? Where's your show? What made AA, and not you, the "smug asshole'?

Actually, em-jay, what Rhoades' treatment of Nader did was state, right out of the gate, just where the fences would be on Air America's "progressive" compound. That's why it was so instructive. "Sainthood" really doesn't enter into it. The words "indicator" and "Saint" have very different meanings, as I'm sure you know.

Plenty of room on the AA Ranch for Ed Schultz, the "gun-toting, meat-eating liberal" (who eventually managed to shove three thousand pounds of hagiography up his "liberal" listeners' noses when Reagan passed away). Plenty of room for the unrelenting smarm of Al Franken, who wasn't even funny before he went political. Plenty or room for Rhoades and her tactics that were virtually undiscernable from those of any Right-wing radio host, anywhere.

No room on the ranch for Nader, for any Indy, for any Green, any Socialist, any Marxist, any Anarchist, anyone advocating a serious structural overhaul of electoral policies, no room for anything not pre-chewed, pre-digested, and pre-ordained for the commuting masses. The outer limits of this "progressive" discourse "progressed" to nothing that you couldn't already see in the goddamn Utne Reader, with some of the more leisurely touchy-feely elements streamlined away.

AA was not an alternative to FOX. It was a blatant attempt to mirror FOX. As such, its boundaries were well-defined from the get-go, and woe to anyone who wasn't there to be "reframed."

If you can't live without it, Mister, look into podcasting. All the kids are raving about that nowadays. You too can then continue to enjoy the thrill that comes only from routinely confusing political movements with pro-wrestling.


The problem with much of "progressive" radio and media is that it is there to serve the same elitist interests as the right-wing mouth guerrillas, but it must do so in a radically different way.

Let's start with a truism: Rush Limbaugh isn't very convincing to most progressives. They can listen to him all day and not change their opinions an iota. To convince progressives, you need something a little more sophisticated, and particularly something that self-identifies as "liberal" or "progressive." Enter Air America and NPR. Sprinkle lots of self-absorbed, pseudo-liberal blather with generous doses of Nader-bashing, redneck-baiting and Limbaugh ratings boosting and you can sell progressives the same bridge Limbaugh is offering, and more convincingly too.

Mass media is the fine art of convincing people that the truth that is staring them in the face isn't real, only the parallel universe created by spinmeisters. Thus we have progressives buying into a thoroughgoing and obvious charlatan like Obama based on nothing but a cheap slogan or two, while sneering at genuine liberal fighters like Sheehan or Nader who are considered traitors for failing to climb on board the media-generated Fantasy Express progressives are riding on.

Can't you just see the smug dripping from emjays oh-so-pwogwessive sneering little comments? Before I got sick of listening to the bile spewing dnc shills , I began listing to AA on-line - you know, back in dinosaur days before there was A Pacifica or Radical Radio or A-infos or anything.

Oh, wait, there were all those sources and many many more besides. Gosh, emjay must be just another willfully ignorant pwoggie bloggie demotard dumbass. How fucking surprising.



There is no evidence that Air America's 24/7 apologetics for the Democratic Party in any way tempered the hysteria of the right-wing lunatics on the other stations or their fans. In the meantime, it fortified the illusion that right-wing lunatics and Democratic party propagandists together represent the whole of American political discourse in much the same way that the two-party duopoly does.

It is hard to choose the most cringe-worthy, nausea-inducing moments on that station, but the one that used to get me the most was when preening self-satisfied conformists like Franken and Maddow would refer to themselves and the Democrats they pimped for as 'the left.' I, quite honestly, would prefer that ignorant Americans speculate on what the left is, rather than become convinced that it is made up of the likes of Air America.

By constantly fighting for market share and remaining on the skids, they also fortified the illusion that a 'left' viewpoint is forever marginal, uninteresting, weak and out of step with what real Americans believe. In fact, what is inherently marginal and uninteresting is a political discussion that has to stay within terms set by the Democratic Party.

I don't agree with Al here, that right-wing radio is just better-suited to driving. I sincerely believe that Americans would tune in on a regular basis to hear Nader, Chomsky, Cockburn along with younger compelling left voices like Jeremy Scahill and Matt Taibbi. The dweebs at Air America certainly know this, hence their vigilance in keeping folks like Nader and Chomsky or kindred spirits off the air.


The comments on the Gawker post Mike F has linked to are depressing. Clearly, those kids buy the Right/Left dichotomy of Limbaugh/Air America lock, stock and barrel.

It is a really sad state of affairs.

Where's your show? What made AA, and not you, the "smug asshole'?

I don't follow your drift here. Maybe that's because your sense of humor is whacked. I was assuming you're serious in this thread.

What made AA smug assholes? Lying, with cocky authority, to their listeners.

Why am I not a smug asshole? Because I don't lie to people, not for money, not for personal gain, and not for "expanding my listener base."

See, I kinda like the truth. On the other hand, you seem to think the best way to counter lies of your Hated Evil Rethuglican Enemies, is to lie in the opposite direction.

I'd definitely be cocky and superior if I were you. I might even be that "smug asshole" -- why not? Why not just lie, as a "corrective" to other lies? Sounds great to me.


Yeah, this is sure gripping. Welcome aboard, Alansmithee! You OK? It is always fun when that gold-plated term "smug" emanates from the older folks - anyone getting uppity on them, especially if they are of the paleo-con variety, gets the smug across their lower- order cheeks.
Yes, those are fine sources you mentioned, and yes, that is a good and finally affordable way to listen to something besides ads while on the road. Not all folks are as podcasting-savvy as the great Smithee, and so they listen to some talk radio. For those of us in the tight circle of Pacifica, we know that it is imbroiled in a revanchist comic opera, and if you want to listen to CDs of Chomsky and Zinn and all the sonorous gurus - hold on to that wheel tight in the dusk, or you'll risk drifting into slumberland.
Cfox, you're not getting the point here. You accuse AA across the board with "lying with cocky authority" - Have you spun the dial lately? Ever heard of Beck, Limbaugh, Ingraham? They are not of your concern? AA were upstart nobodies, and they entertained and gave it the old college try, and now they're, you should remember, dead - and that will not be good enough for the ministers of blithering aggravation on SMBIVA - oh yeah, the serious ones, like this geek Smithee. What version of ideology drowns in obstreperousness like these splenetic equasionists? One mention of the minor relative worth of a cultural moemnt, and now I'm, to quote - oh forget it, what a loon.

"...Ever heard of Beck, Limbaugh, Ingraham? They are not of your concern?..."

Who gives a fuck about those self-important, calculating jesters? Their primary concern is giant spectacle thinly masquerading as "journalism" and getting the big bucks from it. Their job is nothing more than a race to make the most money from the cheapest, shiniest spectacle in the shortest amount of time.

If they could make more money doing it as Democrats, they'd be Democrats.

As for the supposed "dead" on your own team, they are much the same. Except that they'd be Republicans if the market for Republican pundits and shills wasn't already oversaturated.

Two fists and two arms attached to one torso: with a common goal of making sure that most people are too scared of/disgusted with their neighbors to dream of joining with them to fight for something real.


"if you want to listen to CDs of Chomsky and Zinn and all the sonorous gurus - hold on to that wheel tight in the dusk, or you'll risk drifting into slumberland."

And speaking of slumberland. . .mjoseph, I think I hear Kos calling your name. Better run inside.

One of the great canards that the mjosefs of the world like to throw around is that guys like Chomsky are boring to anyone but aging pinkos. Admittedly, his speaking style lacks the zip and zing of Franken's sonorous nasality and his viewpoint is sooo much less original and compelling than DNC talking points. Despite this, according to folks who work in media -- on the rare occasions when Chomsky makes an appearance in the mainstream, the public response is overwhelmingly favorable. Bill Maher said he gets more mail requesting interviews with Chomsky than he gets about any other potential guest. People who cut through bullshit are always interesting, to just about everyone. That's why the public is scrupulously protected from them.

As for Zinn, who cuts through the bullshit of American history -- and is therefore also interesting and disruptive -- his book 'A People's History of the United States' is at this very moment ranked 126 on Amazon. Not bad for a book that was first published in 1980. Al Franken's last book, 'The Truth, with Jokes' comes in at #153,312. 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them' is ranked 118,579 and his most popular book, 'Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot' comes in at 63,300. All of Chomsky's books rank higher than Franken's also, though less impressively than Zinn's.


In the land of the extremely false equivalencies, heroes still rule the land.

I am delighted to have confounded the libertarian reactionary element here.

It may be crushing to know that I do not venerate the popes of the New Ascetic movement.

Chomsky, Zinn, Nader, et al, derive their living and thinking from the elite higher academic fraud system. However great their reading capacities are, and we should all give them that, they are utterly indebted, in style and form, to that archaic system of titular authority. Whenever they have mounted a podium, the liberal bathos rises with these New Ascetics: be the change, another world is possible, speak truth to power - but where does this self-glorifying then go? Back into the daylight of the working corporate supersystem, where MIT's military research and corporate endowment generates the cash for Chomsky's position; where Nader's perorations have done nothing to halt Halliburton and Coca-Cola; back to the labor "movement" that has brought us low wages, no benefits, no pensions. Is that the Lincoln Brigade that you joined - utterly futile, without ideology, a bubble at the top?
To see this charade does not mean that the DLC and Kos or whatever becomes the default position. That seems to be what galls the curdled libertarian "radical": no one is allowed to be to their left, dammit.
Unlike your curt dismissal of the fascist right, Ms. Zeno, my view is that they are actually powerful, committed, and all over the American mind. To see them as actually only motivated by money, and secret liberals at heart - join Cockburn in that fantasy.
In the "fight for what's real," how's that going?

[snerk] Oh, glory be. Now I'm apparently a libertarian. I should swipe some ugly-ass jacket from the bins where I work and get that put on the back in glitter paint. Gold would be the most appropriate color, I suppose. Maybe on a royal purple fabric, but I digress.

C'mon, mj. You're smarter than that. What's with the naif act? The pundits you're so obsessed with are no more the true face of a "fascist Right" than Peter Sellers was the true face of a French policeman.

There may be a true "fascist Right" in the U.S., but the pundits are nothing more than their hired clowns. Their primary job is to instill fear while enriching themselves and their overlords. Just as their liberal counterparts do. Keep the masses penned, either by fear or apathy or some fusion of both. It's working out great for all of them, I admit.

It has nothing to do with some "secret desire" of right-winders to be liberals. The only supreme philosophy at work here is the desire for a fast buck.

Look at any large institution or movement, and you'll find most of the "true believers" concentrated down in the lower echelons. "True believers" tend to stay there because they'll "work for nothing," out of love. I don't dismiss that the listening audience might be "true believers" in Right-wing ideology. However, their numbers and the threat they pose is greatly exaggerated by liberals for their own purposes. Sure, Obama's not perfect, but-- ZOMFG! Palin's so... Ewwww! Shut up about alternatives, you filthy Greens! Teh Huns are at teh gates!! Shut up!!

As for your last question? Again: why play games? We both know the fight isn't going well at all. AA didn't invent this shtick, but they wanted to milk it. However, they lacked the competence for long-term success. Maybe that's some tiny bit of poetic justice. Even as copycats, they were of little enduring use because they offered nothing beyond the most superficial type of "newness."

Pundits work for institutions who are hostile to anything but a closed electoral shop. Elections make the powerful a great deal of money through several avenues. The AA crew was happy to help keep business going as usual: Trained seals so people like Obama would get the gold mine, and the faithful on all sides would get the shaft. Same as ever.

Again: fuck 'em.

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