A Philosopher's Blog

Air America Radio Falls Silent

Posted in Politics, Reasoning/Logic, Technology by Michael LaBossiere on January 25, 2010
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Today marks the final day of the liberal Air America Radio. This network was created with the intent of providing a liberal alternative to the rather successful conservative talk radio programs.

Air America Radio’s death comes as no real surprise-after all, it had been dying slowly (and not so slowly) since its inception. Not surprisingly, some conservative folks are taking this as a sign of the decline of liberalism in America.

On one hand, this does have some plausibility. After all, Air America Radio targeted a liberal audience and its failure might indicate that audience has shrunk to the point where it can no longer sustain the company.

On the other hand, such an inference might be flawed. First, its failure might have nothing to do with the number of liberals and might rather be due to its failure to operate effectively as a business. That is, perhaps the company was not well run, did not provide content that appealed to its target audience and so on. It would be rather hasty to make an inference from the failure of this one company to the conclusion that liberalism is on the decline. I really cannot comment on its quality directly-I never listened to it.

Second, there might be factors about liberals and the talk radio format that results in liberals being less interested in talk radio than conservatives. As such, the failure of the company would reveal interesting data about liberals and talk radio that has nothing to do with the alleged decline of liberalism.

One other matter well worth considering is the nature of the inference itself. The logic used by the conservatives seems to be this:

Premise 1: The liberal Air America Radio is going out of business.
Conclusion: Liberalism is in decline.

This seems to require the assumption that how well a media company is doing is an indication of the political state of America, so the argument could be presented as:

Premise 1: The liberal Air America Radio is going out of business.
Premise 2: How well a politically leaning media company is doing (or not doing) is a reliable indicator of the political views of Americans.
Conclusion: Liberalism is in decline.

Assuming that this argument is reasonable, then the fall of Air America Radio would seem to be a happy moment for conservative folks. However, consider a cherished and common conservative claim: the mainstream media has a liberal bias. Interestingly, most media companies are doing fairly well these days. While newspapers are an obvious exception, their problems cut across the political spectrum and seem to arise from factors such as the rise of the web.

So, if the conservative claim about how the liberals dominate the media is taken seriously, then the following argument can be built:

Premise 1: Liberally biased mainstream media is doing well.
Premise 2: How well a politically leaning media company is doing (or not doing) is a reliable indicator of the political views of Americans.
Conclusion: Liberalism is doing well.

This is a rather ironic conclusion for the conservative folks.  Of course, they can reply to this line of reasoning-but I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

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8 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on January 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    There is only one possible response to this post:

    • kernunos said, on January 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm

      good response

  2. magus71 said, on January 26, 2010 at 2:45 am

    America is a center-right country. But liberals tend to be much louder–and much more famous. Just look at Alec Baldwin giving his Film Actor’s Guild speech. Ooops, I mean Screen Actor’s Guild.

    Liberals do dominate the media. But conservatives like the news.Liberals like the Emmys. Most conservatives work, as opposed to hanging out at concerts and being late for sociology class on Mondays or talking about what outfit J-Lo was wearing at the Emmys.

    And as far as the success of conservative radio over liberal radio, I submit that some of it has to do with the fact that people can listen to radio at work most of the time, but can’t watch TV. Conservatives work and take pride in it. Liberals like to talk about how to make workers’ lives better, which usually involves castigating the comapanies that conservatives work for. Can’t be critical of ACORN though. That’s a good lib company that produces almost nothing, just a socialist leech that attached itself to the capitalist host-body, sucking its life-essense while being critical of the body that allows it to exist and thrive–until the leech started committing obvious crimes.

    • A.K.A.Alias said, on January 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Let me get this straight. Conservatives work and take pride in it implies what? That Liberals don’t work? No workers supported Obama or Clinton. What are unions? Not real workers because they’re organized?Let’s eliminate unions and go back to pre-union days. Low wages dangerous working conditions. The glory days for some. Like non Republicans are not real Americans. Simplistic.

      • kernunos said, on January 27, 2010 at 12:12 am

        I find that many union workers are fairly Conservative but vote Democrat to keep the benefits coming. Very good leverage tool for votes. I am no talking about the education field though. You know, the fields that do physical labor?

      • A.K.A.Alias said, on January 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

        There are benefits to being a union member? I thought real real authentic Americans in pre-union days enjoyed lousy working conditions and pay. And teachers couldn’t wait to be fired because the board needed space for an niece or a nephew. Or because the teacher wasn’t of the correct political persuasion. We need to return to those halcyon days post haste. Yep. That’ll improve the workplace. And increase profits to boot. And education scores will go through the roof once we roll back all those gains unions have achieved. :)

  3. magus71 said, on January 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    And the two guys in the photo you posted look like they need testosterone injections. Do you thibnk there’s a link between low testosterone and liberalism? No seriously. Most women are very liberal and they have about 1/10th the testosterone levels of men. And those dudes look positively flaming. The guy in the background with the mustache probably wrote the metrosexual manifesto. And he’s a vegan. And thinks polar bears are a dying species.

    • A.K.A.Alias said, on January 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      So you’ve written off the majority of women as candidates for the real American conservative party. That’s workers and women.And vegans or basically anyone who disagrees with your view. You can certainly get more specific about groups and races you’d like ta exclude. Just make a list. Your manifesto. Call for their extermination. Create a paradise for wingnuts.


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