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SacBee Laments Right-Wing Talk Radio as a "Threat to Democracy"
May 12, 2008


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BEGIN TRANSCRIPT
RUSH: As you know, ladies and gentlemen, my adopted hometown is Sacramento, California.  I worked out there at KFBK, 50,000 watt blowtorch, 'til this day carries the program, been on the air there since 1984, so 24 years at KFBK Sacramento, number one.  And while there, one of my nemeses was the Sacramento Bee, the local newspaper owned by the McClatchy clan.  It is still owned by the McClatchy clan, and it has still refused to accept what has happened to me, as evidenced by a story that is special to the Bee published yesterday.  Headline:  "Federal Rules Give Corporation-Backed Conservative Radio all the Local Voices."  This is a story, this is a hand-wringing, tear-jerker story of how liberal talk radio couldn't make it out there, and damn it, it's not fair, it's not right, and it's because federal rules give corporation-backed conservative radio all the local voices.  Listen to how this thing starts, by Sue Wilson, who I don't know.  She was probably still in diapers when I was in Sacramento.  

"There's a mournful hush in Sacramento these days, the empty sound of an entire political viewpoint quieted. More than 32,000 weekly listeners who once tuned [to the local lib outlet] to hear partisan Democrats beat up on President George W. Bush, now hear only Christian hip-hop."  Now, if that's not the funniest opening of a news story that I have ever read, I don't know what is.  Thirty-two thousand weekly listeners is nothing!  People don't understand radio ratings.  Thirty-two thousand weekly listeners would add up to about 1,500 every 15 minutes, the average quarter hour would be about 1,500 to 2,000 listeners.  I mean, for crying out loud, it's a 0.1 or 0.2, but it barely shows up as an asterisk in the rating books.  Now, Sue Wilson says, "There's nothing wrong with Christian hip-hop; it's a great outlet for artists breaking out of the gansta rap mold. But there are six other commercial radio stations licensed in the Sacramento area programming the Christian message. In the political realm, three local radio stations program 264 hours of partisan Republican radio talkers beating up on Democrats every week. Now, zero stations program any Democratic view whatsoever: 264-0."  So it's 264 hours of partisan Republican bashing to zero hours of partisan liberal bashing.  

"This follows the national trend revealed in the 2007 Free Press and Center for American Progress study, 'The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.'"  This is a John Podesta group, this is a far left-wing group.  We remember their report came out, and their report was filled with lies and distortions.  The liberal station shared "another characteristic with other liberal radio stations: It had a tiny, 1,000-watt transmitter."  Oooh!  So it was Womper Room.  "Tough for a little station that barely reached Sacramento's suburbs to compete with 50,000 watt giant KFBK, whose signal stretches from Chico to Modesto, from Reno to that little town of San Francisco. Despite KFBK reaching millions more potential listeners, KSAC mustered an audience nearly 20 percent that of KFBK's." (laughing)  At any rate, it wasn't that the lib station didn't have any listeners; it's that it didn't have any advertisers.  I -- (interruption) No, that's what it says here.  Well, not necessarily.  H.R. just said if it had listeners, it would have advertisers.  Not necessarily.  

I would defy anybody outside of a couple of markets that are probably in the top ten, I would defy anybody to find me a liberal network show, nationally syndicated liberal show that registers any significant ratings anywhere.  They don't.  And even those that get some numbers do not have advertisers.  Sue Wilson here swerved into it.  There's a very simple reason why. (interruption) What are you saying?  No, it's very simple.  Mr. Snerdley, it's not that nobody wants to be part of the environment. Well, that's the overall thing, the umbrella, nobody wants to be part of the environment.  But if you are a corporation or a small business, why in the world would you spend any money on a radio station or a show which is demonizing you and the business community as the greatest modern focus of evil in the country outside of the US military?  Why in the world would you do it?  Not to mention advertising on these stations got no results because their audience hears a commercial for corporation, "Screw that corporation, I'm not going there."  If the corporation doesn't do commercials bashing Bush -- I mean this is an insane, lunatic fringe audience these people are trying to reach.  Sacramento voter registration, when I was there, was 72% Democrat.
They've gotta start asking themselves, why does liberal programming not work? But they're wringing their hands, "It's just unfair, because corporations won't put liberal talk radio on powerful stations. That's right, Mr. Limbaugh, it's really not fair. You get the big station, and they get the little Podunk stations. No wonder." I got the big station and earned the right to be there, as has everybody else on KFBK, via content, content, content. This is not hard to understand, but these libs and the Drive-By Media want to portray this as some sign of corporate unfairness. "Why would advertisers steer clear of progressive talk? Chris Jones, managing editor of the blog 'the Hot Points,' writes: 'What respectable business is going to send millions of dollars in ad revenue to people who bash the president, the country and the war on a constant basis? Not only that, but liberals never miss an opportunity to bash corporations as evil and crooked. Why the hell would big business support the enemy?' Well, wait a minute. Plenty of advertisers supported radio shows that bashed then-President Bill Clinton, calling his pursuit of Osama bin Laden 'wagging the dog.' But this misses the real point: Why are corporate dollars the sole arbiter of what information we the people get to hear on publicly owned airwaves?" This is the reporter asking the question, which illustrates glittering ignorance of how the market works.

Let me answer your question, Sue. Corporate dollars are not the sole arbiter of what information you the people get to hear on publicly owned airwaves. Your little lib station, your little lib programming has had a couple of opportunities in Sacramento. Nobody wanted to listen to it. Corporations are not required to lose money in order to present a point of view and in such a way that irritates people just so there is so-called fairness. Besides, you've always got NPR, Sue. There's an NPR outlet out there and assorted other liberal outlets with no ratings and no advertisers because they don't have to. They're paid for by the government! There is not one conservative radio network in the country paid for with government dollars. You got NPR. NPR is paid for with government dollars -- radio and television. So go there. What has been demonstrated here is that for all the talk about a 50-50 country and this, that, and the other thing, the simple fact of the matter is that the liberal point of view as constituted today repulses people. They have chosen and demonstrated they have no desire to listen to it, not even lunatic fringe libs like it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  All right, a couple more little blurbs here.  Sacramento Bee, Sue Wilson: "Considering a 2003 Gallup poll showing that 22 percent of Americans get their information from talk radio, we're not just talking about what is fair play; we are talking about a threat to the democracy we hold dear."  Lib talk radio dying. Lib talk radio "has been taken off the air in Boston; Fresno; San Diego; Madison, Wis.; Eugene, Ore.; Austin, Texas; New Haven, Conn.; Columbus, Ohio and other markets all across the country," because it failed, because it got no listeners.  But yet there's this 2003 Gallup poll showing that "22% of Americans get their information from talk radio.  We're not just talking about what's fair play.  We're talking about a threat to the democracy we hold dear."  If I were these libs, I'd forget it.  They've already got television news.  They have every television network, sans Fox.  Some people might even argue that in certain programming segments, Fox has tilted a little bit less right, or maybe left of center.  They've got NPR, radio and TV.  You know what this really says?  

What this really says is that good talk radio, done well, is far more effective than any of those other media, like cable TV, like the broadcast networks.  It's far more influential; it is far more effective; it's far more popular because audiences are far more tied to it in a direct way, in an active way.  The libs want to control everything.  But if they can't do it on radio, they should take solace in the fact they own everything else.  Here's where we're really headed with Sue Wilson's piece.  "What to do? The FCC (five commissioners, appointed by the president) could bring back the Fairness Doctrine. But Republicans in Congress, such as Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, are fighting tooth and nail to prevent its return. And even groups who favor media reform, like Free Press, believe restoration of the Fairness Doctrine would face First Amendment challenges. But as a producer who actually worked under the Fairness Doctrine, I personally don't see what's wrong with proving to the community that I at least attempted to provide both sides of the story."  This is embarrassingly ignorant of what the Fairness Doctrine is, how it works, and what it would achieve.  Maybe it's not ignorant.  Maybe she knows full well that the Fairness Doctrine would destroy talk radio.  She's an out of work liberal producer writing this piece for the Sacramento Bee, pure and simple.  
END TRANSCRIPT
Read the Background Material...
Sacramento Bee: Federal Rules Give Corporation-Backed
Conservative Radio All the Local Voices - Sue Wilson

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