Thursday, March 24, 2005

Air America and its Listeners

Tonight I spent the time I should have spent reading about Victoria Woodhull, Teddy Roosevelt and others trying to figure out why Air America Radio decided to put Jerry Springer on the air where the show "Unfiltered" has been. I had stopped listening to the show during the election because I just couldn't take the obsessive focus on the Democratic party anymore, but I initially enjoyed it. I hadn't listened to the station at all until I went on a bus trip to DC for the pro-choice march last Spring with Lizz Winstead and Rachel Maddow and the female staff of the station (unfortunately no Janeann Garofalo). I was so impressed by both Lizz and Rachel. They were hilarious and smart, and actually, on the bus, sounded further to the left than they did on the radio. Lizz went on and on about how much she hated Clinton and the DLC, and Rachel Maddow knew a bunch of people who did prison work in California, it all gave me confidence in the station.
During my quest for info, I didn't find out much, but I did read the Unfiltered blog with its long threads of commentary of Maddow/Chuck D. and Winstead fans, AND I visited a right-wing blog dedicated to listening to Air America all day long and trying to find ways to attack it called Air America Listen. Look, I linked to it, but I don't recommend going there. The guy thinks that the democrats are socialists! He thinks taxes are a form of socialism. He opposes minimum wage laws because he says they would "put someone in jail" if they wanted to trade their labor for $5.00 per hour instead of $5.25. Here's a guy who has no understanding of the coercive force of the market, or even how the laws he opposes actually work. Maybe he would think Adam Smith was a socialist. I think he's a twenty-one year old guy with a bowtie, who keeps a copy of The Fountainhead under the bed next to his porno magazines.
I had a student who said things like this. She drove me crazy - not just because I disagreed with her politics, but because she was just objectively wrong: wrong about what socialism is, wrong about what the Democratic party's positions were, wrong about what the actual Republican policies were, wrong about how markets work, wrong, wrong, wrong. She was living in a universe of her making, as are so many of the far right people now. Because they believe in a vast, Soviet style conspiracy, liberal media, etc. that they think is weilding power over them, it is very hard to get them to see how distorted their perceptions of reality actually are without instantly being labled part of the conspiracy. This is the sort of thing that Hofstadter was talking about when he wrote that book, which I generally don't like because of its anti-communism, The Paranoid Style in American Politics This is what 20+ years of Reganomics, Rush Limbaugh and the rest have done...made total stupidity pass as wise, "refreshing" commentary.

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