March 30, 2004


Doug Payton previews humankind’s salvation:

Today is the first day for the official liberal talk radio network, "Air America". The anchor for this network is Al Franken's "The O'Franken Factor". I guess that there wasn't any real good way to spoof the title of "The Rush Limbaugh Show", so he went with O'Reilly's. And that sounds to me like he's already set the tone for his show; comedy, parody, attack, and, oh yeah, issues (maybe). As I said over a year ago, this should tell you all you need to know about how this crew is going to go about their business; they'll attack ideas with comedy, where complex ideas are oversimplified and you'll be too busy laughing to notice the errors. Franken himself said, "I think the audience isn't there for a liberal Rush, because I think liberals don't want to hear that kind of demagoguery." This from a guy who wrote a book titled, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot".

Doug’s prediction: “Franken's show is gone in 2 years.”

Posted by Tim Blair at March 30, 2004 02:40 AM

I'll take the under.

Posted by: charles austin at March 30, 2004 at 03:01 AM

Franken has said that if Kerry gets elected, he will stop the show (I guess because his work will be done). I think it's a nice setup to not be embarrased if he gets cancelled.

Posted by: Karol at March 30, 2004 at 03:18 AM

I want the under too. Air America isn't even available in San Diego, which is a top 10 population center.

Posted by: Kevin at March 30, 2004 at 03:36 AM

Four months tops. The sponsors have to sell product. Unless there's a sugar daddy.

Posted by: chuck at March 30, 2004 at 03:37 AM

Franken has no experience at all in carrying off a full live show of this kind, does he? Even if he had something to say, his success would be "iffy".

It would be nice to find out that Liberals can actually think, though. Right now it's kind of frightening. Franken wrote "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" when Limbaugh wasn't fat anymore, an achievement Liberals would usually praise. Then he followed it up with "Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them", seeing no contradiction. Maybe I'm too picky?

Posted by: Joe Peden at March 30, 2004 at 03:41 AM

Two years and two days. Doesn't start until the 31st.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at March 30, 2004 at 03:53 AM

I'm with chuck. Four months tops, and never show a profit.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 30, 2004 at 03:54 AM

Give Franken credit for experience with live shows, having written for SNL when it was good. To the extent 'writing is rewriting,' a good live show depends on preparation. As to how he'll do with callers and interviewees, assuming no one is aroung to body slam, it remains to be seen. And Al, you and many of our fellow Democrats have been a little too, er, liberal with the "rewriting" of late.

Posted by: Bob71 at March 30, 2004 at 04:11 AM

I doubt Franken will last too long. Live radio is very different from live TV - there is a lot different requirements for TV broadcasts, even more so for performance broadcasts. The fact that there has not been a single national commercial-radio success among the various leftists over the years in the US is quite telling.

BTW, Pixy Misa...You did not happen to watch Magical Girl Pretty Sammy once upon a time, did you?


Posted by: C.T. at March 30, 2004 at 04:17 AM

2 years? It is off by the end of the year.

Posted by: Brian at March 30, 2004 at 04:41 AM

Two years is one year and six months too long for this whole network. Until these guys figure out exactly what it takes to really become a success in this medium, they won't have a chance in hell of making it.

Posted by: Big Dog at March 30, 2004 at 04:46 AM

C.T. - Someone who knows Magical Girl Pretty Sammy! At last!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 30, 2004 at 04:57 AM

I give it until Dennis Miller starts mocking them on MSNBC. Franken, mean-spirited as he can be in dishing it out, is notoriously thin-skinned when it comes to taking it. He'll have some sort of on-air conniption and be yanked off the air.

Posted by: BH at March 30, 2004 at 04:58 AM

"Give Franken credit for experience with live shows, having written for SNL when it was good."

Having watched SNL when Franken was writing for it -- and having watched Franken doing his own material on SNL -- I'm willing to give him points for experience only, not for talent.

Posted by: F451 at March 30, 2004 at 05:15 AM

It's a strange bird. They are appearing only in super-"blue" zones of population so they might do alright with advertising , ratings etc. What they might have trouble with is recruiting "newer" voters.

Posted by: Ryan at March 30, 2004 at 05:18 AM

All that money that could have been spent on the poor.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 30, 2004 at 05:24 AM

of course they'll go with comedy, that's franken staple. yes, complex ideas will be simplified. just as limbaugh, o'reilly et al simplify complex ideas. 'cept franken will do it with humour, and the rest do it with indignation.

Posted by: mal at March 30, 2004 at 05:30 AM

Four months tops. The sponsors have to sell product. Unless there's a sugar daddy.

George Soros is bankrolling part of this, so I'll say this effort will be DOA by Christmas when it becomes apparent that 1) Bush stole, er, won another election and 2) Soros finally realizes that not only is there no return on his investment, there's no return of his investment.

Posted by: Roger Bournival at March 30, 2004 at 05:31 AM

I give it about 2 months until Franken realizes there is actual work involved, and most of the major talent draws drop out. It may take another 4-6 months before the station finally bites the dust. Of course, this will happen because of right-wing oppression of freedom of speech, not because no one who doesn't already agree with these morons wants to hear them blather everyday.
Seriously, how many times can you say "Bush lied, people died" before people start to tune you out?

Posted by: david at March 30, 2004 at 05:40 AM

I dunno, mal, I think Limbaugh is pretty funny sometimes. O'Reilly less so, unless you count unintentional funny. And most of Franken's political "humor" seems pretty screechy.

I'd like to listen to some of this station, mainly their morning show, I've always been a big fan of Marc Maron. It'd be interesting to see if he's joined the moonbat left. Of course, the show is called Morning Sedition, which doesn't sound promising. Do they think that NPR is part of the great right-wing AM radio conspiracy?

Alas, they haven't announced a Boulder, CO affliate yet.

Posted by: Matt Moore at March 30, 2004 at 05:40 AM

“Franken's show is gone in 2 years.”

Safe bet considering Franken signed a 1 year contract. He's already stated that his main motivation was to unseat Bush.

Posted by: Ap0c at March 30, 2004 at 05:50 AM

4 months, maybe.

Posted by: Chris Muir at March 30, 2004 at 06:35 AM

Anyone listen to Mike Carlton or Phillip Adams on air? That's what you're in for.

Posted by: Quentin George at March 30, 2004 at 06:40 AM

If a liberal talks and no one is listening, does he make a sound?
The stuff Franken wrote for SNL was particularly unfunny, compared to the rest of the show back then.

Posted by: Latino at March 30, 2004 at 08:00 AM

I'm not comfortable making any really specific predictions on just how long Franken will last. But I agree that it's only a matter of time before his snaps on the air and says something really stupid. He'll probably do so more than once, perhaps more than once in the first week.

Jonah Goldberg's take on this situation is probably the best I've read. He points out that while lots of liberals are funny, none of them is funny AS a liberal. All humor is politically incorrect, and any liberal talk show host will have to spend most of his time repenting his sins for whomever he last offended. Limiting one's criticism to while male Christians from the south just doesn't leave you with enough material day in and day out to keep even the most sympathetic listener interested.

Also, even if this enterprise is a wild success, it will force leftists away from attack mode. As paradoxical as this sounds, it's because their true rhetorical strength lies in being so hair-trigger sensitive to any tiny slight, rooting around constantly for any kind of concievable offense, that they can hold themselves up as the guardians of Tolerance. Deprived of the protective barrier of these impenetrably complex and esoteric conventions of speech, they'll be deprived of their most cherished method of attack.

Lastly, nobody can be funny from a partisan standpoint constantly, for hours a day every day, Franken perhaps even less so than most (being an unbelievable nasty and disagreeable little troll to start with). Therefore, he'll have to spend an appreciable amount of time actually explaining why taxes are a child's best friend, and why it is that arms (which are specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights) are by no means Constitutionally protected while abortion (which appears nowhere even by implication) is the most important Constitutional liberty the Founding Fathers forgot to talk about. In short, he will descend from satire to inanity to viciousness. It's the natural order of things when one's ideas are untenable, supported only by a posture of self-righteousness.

Posted by: Sage at March 30, 2004 at 08:02 AM

Democrats are supposed to stand for good jobs at good wages, right?

This must be what they mean:

Posted by: NYer at March 30, 2004 at 08:04 AM

Good news: Franken et al. will fail within 2 years. Probably one year.

Bad news: Liberals will then try to use the government to shut down talk radio. Re-introduce the "Fairness Doctrine", apply CFR/McCain-Feingold to talk radio, shop for liberal judges to rule in their favor, et cetera.

Should be interesting.


Posted by: SteveMG at March 30, 2004 at 08:07 AM

Will there be a call in feature?
If you didn't witness the dismantling of Nome Chompsky's blog Turning the Tide last week, you certainly missed a treat.
Unbridled freedom and socialist values do not mix well.
The first few days will be the best with Stewart Smallies' show. Then the call-in screener will kick in. Then it will turn into a liberal stroke session, ala Democratic Underground.

Posted by: Papertiger at March 30, 2004 at 08:34 AM

Franken's Hanukkah present will be the cancellation of this radio answer to "Supertrain." (This year is the 25th anniversary of what is arguably NBC's biggest debacle in US television; an expensive "Love Boat"-type show about a really fast train).

He's not good enough, he's not smart enough, and, doggone it, no one likes him

Posted by: Attmay at March 30, 2004 at 08:48 AM

Aiee! Supertrain! Run away!!

(Supertrain's parody was much better than the original: google "The Big Bus")

Posted by: mojo at March 30, 2004 at 08:51 AM

I can't wait to hear Janeane Garafullofit to whine about nobody wanting to hear her whine.

Maybe she can do a play-by-play of the Rightwing Dissent-Crush Army raiding during a broadcast to stifle her freedom of speech.

Hey, as long as she's on the air she won't be making any shitty movies, right?

Posted by: david at March 30, 2004 at 09:33 AM

Harry Shearer has been doing a weekly radio show and posting it on the net for years. He's much more creative, more talented, funnier and much less tendentious. But he's on an NPR affiliate. If there were such a huge market for this stuff, why didn't Shearer's show take off?

Posted by: AST at March 30, 2004 at 10:24 AM

Wasn't Air America the name of the CIA air service operated during the the Viet Nam era? LOL, now that's funny!

Posted by: torchy at March 30, 2004 at 10:25 AM

Like Rush says, liberals are really funny when they're out of power because they go nuts.

Posted by: MonkeyPants at March 30, 2004 at 10:44 AM

"Comedy, parody"? The O'Franken Factor -- how lame's that?
Won't they just swipe listeners from NPR, giving taxpayers a break? And even us RWDBs prefer entertainment from the wireless, rather than preaching.

Posted by: slatts at March 30, 2004 at 11:09 AM


I was just thinking the same thing. If people want liberal talk radio they can listen to NPR which is much better than this thing promises to be. They might listen in for a while, but they'll go right back, because NPR indoctrinates its listeners with the idea that commercials are eeevil.

Posted by: AST at March 30, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Ooh! Can I join the sweepstake? I'll take 11 months.

Posted by: Andjam at March 30, 2004 at 11:37 AM

I think a better bet would be: How much time will elapse between the point at which a neutral listener would agree they're dead in the water and the point at which the plug is actually pulled? I'd say around 3 months for the disaster to become apparent and another 4 months before the towel is thrown in.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 30, 2004 at 12:01 PM

"Like Rush says, liberals are really funny when they're out of power because they go nuts."

Another primo Rush quote: "Pills. More pills."

Posted by: Angus Jung at March 30, 2004 at 01:56 PM

Oh my god, I can't believe anyone remembers "Supertrain."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 30, 2004 at 02:40 PM

Pixy Misa - The world is filled with surprises, isn't it? Even Tim's little corner of the web is not immune from the influences of Sasami.

P.S. It occurs to me that this will be outside the frame of reference of over 90% of the people reading this...


Posted by: C.T. at March 30, 2004 at 02:52 PM


Yep, "Air America" was a covert CIA supply operation in Laos/Vietnam. There was a movie of the same name.

I can't help but think Franken is sending some sort of message here. But I don't think he realizes what that message really is -- the movie was pretty bad.

Posted by: JeffS at March 30, 2004 at 03:40 PM

i enjoyed Supertrain - I was twelve so sue me.

Posted by: Papertiger at March 30, 2004 at 03:49 PM

I would say 13 months. Franken is only funny to people who like this political message. To the rest of us he comes across as a lame idiot akin to Huff&Puffington.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at March 30, 2004 at 11:08 PM

Hmmm - if he has stated he's specifically on the air just to unseat Bush in the next election - not to simply push the liberal agenda. Doesn't that make his show one big Kerry ad campaign? Does this violate the newest campaign finance reform law? Just curious because I can't figure out that new law. Is Soros financing this thing?

Posted by: Teresa at March 31, 2004 at 01:05 AM

Oops - that'll teach me to read more carefully - yep I see from the above comments that Soros is funding this - not surprising. Wonder if he thinks it will really work or if he's just trying everything because he has the money.

Posted by: Teresa at March 31, 2004 at 01:52 AM

Another primo Rush quote: "Pills. More pills."

Cite source please.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at March 31, 2004 at 03:37 AM