February 2009

Several Republican governors announced over the weekend that they plan to turn down some of the federal government’s stimulus money rather than face the prospect of having to raise taxes in the future when the money runs out.

The governors from Idaho, Alaska, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana are concerned that money targeted towards expanding unemployment benefits will only last for two years leaving the states to either raise taxes or reduce benefits back to the pre-stimulus level neither of which would be politically popular.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) told the Associated Press that he was insulted that the four southern governors in the “proverbial black belt” were refusing the money and intoned by doing so would hurt blacks.  He didn’t use the R word but it was obvious what he meant.

Contrast that with liberal Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell who said on “Fox News Sunday” that “I’m not sure that we can, over the long run, cope with the high unemployment compensation standard that this mandates for states” but that he didn’t care because his people are suffering and they need the extra money now. 

In reality Rendell doesn’t care because he will be out of office when the bill comes due from the effect of the federal mandate.

Not all Republican governors are as principled as those I mentioned previously.  In fact California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who has mastered the art of financial chicanery along with a Democratically controlled state legislature said that he would gladly take any money other states refused.  Schwarzenegger like Rendell will not be in office when the federal money runs out and won’t have to struggle with the hard decisions that will result.

The Republican governors decision may hurt their political future and will in some areas prove to be unpopular, but taxpayers should thank them for taking a principled stand now and saving them from a future of higher taxes and budget deficits.

Liberal talk show host and commentator Bill Press is taking the removal of his show and other “progressives” off the airwaves in Washington, D.C. very hard as evidenced by his commentary in the Washington Post on Sunday.

On February 2nd the Washington Post reported that Red Zebra Broadcasting which is owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder had decided to switch formats and was dumping the liberal talk radio format that had been billed as OBAMA 1260.

According to the Post program director Greg Tantum told the paper that the station’s ratings collapsed after the election while its conservative counterpart surged.

For Press the ratings and the financial reasons don’t matter.  What matters is that conservative radio dominates the airwaves in D.C. and with the exception of Ed Schultz there won’t be any liberal or progressive talkers starting this week.

Press who just last week interviewed Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow on bringing back the Fairness Doctrine which created a firestorm in the conservative blogosphere wants the public airwaves to reflect the diversity of the local community.

In an effort to make his case Press cites a study by the liberal Center for American Progress that showed there were three hours of conservative talk for every hour of liberal talk. He then cites station owner complaints that the liberal talk format doesn’t make any money and disputes that with examples of successful stations in Minnesota, Madison, Wis., and Portland, Ore. 

But let’s take a look at his examples. First there is Minnesota with 40% Democratic and 24% Independent voter registration backing Obama with 54% of the vote and may be on the verge of electing liberal comedian Al Franken as a U.S. Senator.   And then there is Madison, Wis., which went for Obama with 56% of the vote and where Democrats hold both U.S. Senate seats, five of eight House seats and the governor’s mansion.  Finally we have Portland, Ore., where Obama won 57% of the vote and their newly elected openly gay mayor recently admitted that he had a sexual affair with a teenager in 2005  after denying the allegations for the past year.

These are some of the most liberal cities and states in the country.  If liberal talk radio can’t succeed there they won’t succeed anywhere.

Press continues his rant by accusing the station owners of attempting to block liberal talk radio in their markets or relegating them to low power outlets and that they aren’t operating in the public interest by offering only conservative talk. 

The problem with Press (besides being a liberal) is that he is using selective examples to make his case.  Liberal talk radio has tried and failed many times.  Anyone remember former N.Y. Gov. Mario Cuomo’s talk show?  What about Jesse Jackson?  Was the failure of his show due to racial bias?  No, both shows failed because they weren’t very interesting or entertaining.  And as a result they didn’t make any money.

The failure of liberal talk radio in Washington and elsewhere isn’t the fault of what Press calls a conservative media conspiracy but the talk show hosts themselves who haven’t learned to educate and entertain at the same time and never attracted an audience that advertisers wanted to reach.

If Press would look in the mirror he would see the real reason for his failure.

Last week it was announced that liberal talk radio was losing its outlet in Washington, D.C. with the closing of the radio station known as Obama 1260.

Yesterday, liberal talk show host Bill Press brought up the closing with Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and asked her whether or not it was time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

Stabenow responded by telling Press that she thought it is absolutely time to pass a standard and bring accountability to the airwaves.

Press then asked Stabenow if she would push for hearings in the Senate this year and Stabenow responded that she has already held discussions with her colleagues and that she felt they were going to happen.

Stabenow’s statements will surely unleash a new round of discussion on conservative talk radio and the blogosphere, but what continues to be ignored is that fact that the Democrats don’t have to use their legislative stick to pass a new version of the Fairness Doctrine.

The true power lies at the FCC which is now controlled by the Democrats and with a simple majority vote they could implement the type of control the liberals have been hankering for.

This is just another attempt by liberals to stick a fork in the heart of the free market system.

Liberal talk radio has had ample opportunity and money to try and compete with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, but have continually failed.

So what the free market can’t accomplish the liberals will try and legislate.

Finally Stabenow besides being a liberal Democrat isn’t exactly impartial on the issue of fairness or equality on talk radio. She is married to Tom Athans who is a liberal talk radio executive.

Fairness in this case is in the eye of the beholder.