by Taylor Marsh
When someone calling herself a "Democratic strategist" slams Air America Radio while praising Rush Limbaugh, you've really got to ask yourself what really is going on.
Sheldon Drobny posted yesterday about Air America, showing the pictures of the two men who chose to put it into bankruptcy. They appear almost like mug shots. The message was clear.
The other day I spotlighted Ed Schultz, whose appearance on Larry King was so embarrassing that I felt I actually had to apologize for him myself, which certainly isn't my job. However, his statements were so appalling someone had to because the man is obviously clueless. Conflating gays with pedophiles is as bad as it gets, but then he went after Patty Wetterling, too. That a Democrat was doing it made it even worse. Mr. Ed is obviously successful and Air America radio could certainly learn from his business model, but that doesn't negate the fact that the man is an ass.
Today I want to introduce you to DC Democratic strategist and the latest talking head twit from third way central Laura Schwartz.
It's also time to ask a question: do DC Democratic insiders prefer that Air America fail?
I've been involved in radio for a very long time. I've done interviews across this country for over a decade. I have been in innumerable talks with my co-executive producer, both together and separately, in the hope we could land my own show in a decent market. Close, but never a good contract. When I moved to Las Vegas to launch my show I did every Democrat meeting and luncheon I could find. I also talked with the local Dem office and p.r. machine. Response? Back in 2002, before AAR was born, the Democratic Party response to progressive radio was that they couldn't get intimately involved. I couldn't even get guests on my show back then.
Enter Air America Radio. Their biggest star, Randi Rhodes, has never gotten the help she deserves from the Democratic Party. As for Al Franken, he doesn't do great radio, but what he offers off the air more than makes up for it. His ambassadorship of the Dem radio brand has been nothing short of incredible. And if we can get Al in the Senate, I'd say we've accomplished something the wingnuts never could. As the cliche goes, stay tuned.
But after Ms. Schwartz's vile hiss last night on "Hannity & Colmes," I really have to wonder how many DC insiders and quote, MODERATES, really want Air America to succeed. It's almost as if AAR is being treated like the progressive blogs. It's just a little too honest and untamed for the DC Democratic insiders to take.
Political talk radio isn't for sissies. It's also rarely on message. There may be the rub.
Take a look at Ms. Schwartz again. This is the new breed of consultants the current crop wants to force down our throats. She's all the rage on Fox "News," though you can see her on other conservative shows as well.
Radio is a passion. To succeed you need heart and a commitment to causes bigger than self or your own bank account.
Laura Schwartz cares about only one thing: lining her own pockets and padding her resume with another guest spot on Fox. She doesn't care or have a clue how hard the people in radio, at AAR and beyond, work. Evidently, she also wants to sabotage our efforts as well.
Ed Schultz is no friend of AAR and neither is Laura Schwartz. The duet they spewed this week couldn't have been more nakedly opportunistic and self-serving.
I'm beginning to think that DC Democratic Party insiders are as afraid of progressive radio as they are of progressive blogs. If so, I'm in one hell of a mess and so are a lot of my friends, not to mention the Democratic Party itself.
UPDATE & Comment Response: Thanks rustle. Good to know, pravin, re: MyDD. Remember that bankruptcy will help AAR to reorganize and keep it going. Next, the Foley scandal is not a gay issue and I don't need to read Frank Rich or anyone else to come to that conclusion. It's about a sexual predator, which can be perpetrated by heterosexuals or gays, period. Secondly, I have no doubt Ed is changing minds and is successful, but his comments on Larry King were insulting. Thirdly, Al Franken deserves a lot of credit for what he's done for the Dem radio brand. That I find Al too wonky and dry at times is no big deal. I listen and enjoy regardless, because he also has great guests. Different hosts for different folks. Seder, the Young Turks, all of them deserve credit, even Mr. Ed and Stephanie Miller, beyond AAR. But the real broadcaster of AAR is Randi Rhodes, who doesn't get half the credit she deserves. She and I have different views on many subjects, but the woman sure burns up the air waves and was beating Rush long before she landed on AAR. Too bad the Democratic Party doesn't support her or any other of our progressive hosts, especially those on AAR who push back hard. It's good to know you all do. It's the first real sign I've seen that progressive radio has a real chance. Thanks for your comments, even those who disagree with me.