Radio Lefty Advises On Limbaugh: Go After Program Directors
The words of radio giant Rush Limbaugh regarding contraceptive dilettante Sandra Fluke, and his subsequent apology for calling her a derogatory name, have created an all out frenzy from Leftist-Progressives who call for him to be thrown off the air. Close to 100 advertisers, national and local, have left his program. However, one radio host is advising Leftists to get after the Program Directors, not the advertisers.
Philadelphia based radio host Michael Smerconish penned an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer that tells readers that the advertiser boycott on Limbaugh will not have the effect they desire. They must focus on the program directors. Said another way, they must "pick the target:"
Though the advertising boycott of Rush Limbaugh is significant for its size and scope, it will ultimately prove ineffectual in dislodging him from his commanding perch above the talk-radio world. That kind of movement would require a different type of acquiescence, namely on the part of program directors, not advertisers
Smerconish believes that there is,"...a strong case to be made for such a course correction (removing Limbaugh)" and that, "... it would be healthy for the country should the backlash against Limbaugh take hold." Further, he blames Limbaugh for the current political hostility across America.
He talks about Limbaugh's effect on Congress [emphasis mine]:
The National Journal documented in 2010 that the Senate was more divided than at any point in the three decades since it has been evaluating legislators' key votes.... And, no, the climate has not always been like this. According to the Journal, in the early 1980s, with Ronald Reagan as president, 60 percent of the Senate was somewhere in the middle.
So Congress wasn't always like this, and neither was talk radio. Coincidence? I think not.
The connection supposedly being made here is before Limbaugh was syndicated in 1988, radio was a super-happy-fun place and everyone loved and respected each other:
Philadelphia was the last major market to welcome Limbaugh when he came aboard at WWDB-FM (96.5) in 1992. The station was then home to "Evil" Irv Homer, a libertarian before Ron Paul made it fashionable; Dominick Quinn, a conservative known more for his expansive vocabulary than his ideology; Frank Ford, an acerbic liberal; and Bernie Herman, whose moniker was the now seemingly anachronistic "gentleman of broadcasting." Personality was king, and sustaining a conversation was more important than talking points.
Then, Limbaugh showed up [emphasis mine]:
Limbaugh's success on radio led to polarizing imitations on cable TV. Politicians imitated what they saw and heard, and took the nation down with them.
Yes, Smerconish is pointing to Limbaugh as the reason for the lack of civility. It was Limbaugh that made President Obama say Republicans think the earth is flat. It's Limbaugh that made Ed Schultz call Laura Ingraham a "slut," made Maher call Sarah Palin a "c*nt," made former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) say that Republicans want old people to die, made The Agenda Project create commercials showing a Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) look-alike pushing "grandma" off a cliff. It was Limbaugh that made Obama make fun of the tea party, Limbaugh that made Keith Olbermann and Janeane Garofalo call everyone in the tea party "racists," Limbaugh that made Obama say the Cambridge police acted "stupidly."
Smerconish wasn't done. He also took to task all the big conservative hosts [emphasis mine]:
Still, the hosts identified (referring to Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity) constitute the starting rotation at many talk stations across the country. Their programs, strung together, amount to 15 or more straight hours of daily kicking the crap out of President Obama (whether he deserves it or not). The only diversity they offer is in their voice inflections.
And that is the crux of Smerconish's argument; Radio doesn't offer enough diversity! And since, as an "independent?" radio host, he can't overtly support the Fairness Doctrine, he instead supports the thug mentality of Occupy Wall Street. Get the Programming Directors! Perhaps the Leftists should organize, and protest at the stations? Or, find out where the PD's live, and protest at their houses? Or, perhaps, protest at their houses when they aren't there, scaring the hell out of the children inside!
Smerconish warns that "there are no guarantees those who determine content (PD's) will stray from their current business model." He's right. Why? Stations like to make money. And while you and I may not understand or like a station's line up, if those hosts draw sponsors, then those hosts will be around for a long time. It's called the Free Market; Smerconish, and the Left-Leaning compatriots he is advising are opposed to it. Limbaugh lost sponsors, and many of them have crawled back (some even rejected!) because Limbaugh draws an audience. PD's want to make money for their respective stations, but how important is that compared to getting a "visit" from an unruly mob?
At one moment, Smerconish tries to explain the necessity of the independent host:
Meanwhile, the nation seems poised for something more multidimensional. Jon Stewart nailed it when, at the Rally to Restore Sanity he cohosted with Steven Colbert in 2010, he proclaimed:
"Most Americans don't live their lives just as Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives."
Jon Stewart is not an independent, he is a Liberal, and so is Smerconish. He is advocating for pressuring the bosses to fire Limbaugh, to change the programming on their station (one wonders with furrowed brow who they could get to replace him. Who I say?!) He is promoting Alinsky's Rule #13 (or #12, depending on your source,) and stating that the only effective course for his fellow Leftists is, once again, a "personal" attack.
The person who values free speech recognizes that Evelyn Beatrice Hall was right when she wrote in the biography of Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." As a man building a radio career, I couldn't agree more. Not so for Michael Smerconish. He will defend your right to say it until he can threaten your boss and take your job.