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Friday, January 22, 2010

Did Air America Die Because America is Turning to the Right?
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The left-leaning Air America Media radio network announced it was ceasing operations immediately today. It had been struggling for many years and appeared headed under many times before before being bailed out by various people. No doubt, many conservatives will rush to claim that the death of Air America is a sign that the political right is resurgent in America and that progressive viewpoints no longer have an audience. But I would beg to differ.

Don't get me wrong, I was no fan of Air America. But the reality is that over-the-air terrestrial radio is an aging media platform that generally appeals to a more conservative-leaning and religious-oriented audience. That's the primary reason conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are so dominant on the dial. Meanwhile, however, progressive voices have flocked to cyberspace and established a strong foothold here with an amazing array of blogs and websites dedicated to advancing their vision. Although conservatives have made some amazing strides online in recent years, they are still struggling to catch up with the likes of The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and so on.

So, while many on the Right will be licking their chops today giddy with delight about the demise of Air America, the real question is: will they be able to catch up to the Left in cyberspace? Because Rush, Sean and talk radio ain't gunna be around forever.

Of course, as a libertarian who has never once voted for a Democrat or Republican in my life, I really don't give a damn who wins. We fans of real freedom -- across-the-board economic and personal freedom, that is -- have no media platform to call our own.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 8:30 AM | Mass Media , Media Regulation

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Conservatives on talk radio have *always* claimed at every point in Air America's history that it will not succeed because heavily left-leaning political commentary can already be heard on the radio through taxpayer-funded National Public Radio. Even assuming there is sizable market demand for left-leaning commentary on the radio, it is met by NPR, and thus government intrusion into the marketplace has once again destroyed private initiative - in this case Air America. Fiscal conservatives would much rather see more Air America and less NPR. Unfortunately, leftist politics doesn't work that way.

Posted by: Benjamin McLean at January 22, 2010 2:58 PM

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