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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Drudge vs. Everybody

I was just reading this NY Observer thing and an old thought was resurrected. I've watched a number of conservative commentators rise to national prominence and, literally at the same time, a number of liberal counterparts try to match them, fail, and fade rather quickly into oblivion...or at least back to whence they started. The Conservatives I'm thinking of are Rush and Hannity on the radio, Hannity and O'Reilly on TV and Matt Drudge on the internet. I honestly don't know the Liberal side as well, but there have been a number of would-be Rush competitors (including Rudolph Giuliani) who have not fared well. The common denominator of the successful Conservative commentators is that they rose to prominence by virtue of being selected for their skills as commentators. Those on the Left, in contrast, seem to be selected for such commentator slots based on previous (and almost always unrelated) stardom.

Consider the lineup on Air America. The headliner is Al Franken who first gained notoriety as a writer for Saturday Night Live and then as a comedian (or maybe vice versa, it doesn't matter). Then we've got Janeane Garofalo whose biggest contribution to the political commentary scene prior to getting a gig at AA was via her comedy. There are, of course, previously successful hosts at AA (Randi Rhodes, I believe, and I'm sure others)...but the point stands: Liberals seem to pick their political commentators based on their notoriety in some other field.

Then we've got the lack of originality. Let's see...The O'Franken Factor. Ah yes, very original. And who could forget the titles of Franken's books: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right and Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. Ah yes, way to stand on your own two feet.

Anyway, the reason I'm bringing all this up is that there is a new effort to counteract Matt Drudge by some Hollywood Liberals. Apparently there will soon be some "liberal all-stars who will "group blog" on a Web site to be launched next month by columnist Arianna Huffington." Who are these "all-stars" you ask? Slated to contribute to this so-called "group blog" are: Senator Jon Corzine, David Geffen, Viacom co-chief Tom Freston, Barry Diller, Tina Brown and Gwyneth Paltrow. I'm sure they are all very intelligent people (well, some of them might be) but the question is, Why should I listen to any of them? There is one reason and one reason only...they are being packaged and presented to the public as qualified based on expertise outside the world of political commentary. Certainly they might be successful and I wish them all the luck in the world...though I disagree with every word you say and all that jazz.

The two different 'strategies' really mirror the two opposing philosophies. Liberals want top-down control. They want to engineer everything when it comes to the government, and so when they are acting in the private sector they do exactly the same thing. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to believe in the Market and 'bottom-up' control and so do what they can, as individuals, to be successful. The reason Conservatives have been so successful in radio is simply that there is an audience for them. Couple that to the fact that the medium is very competitive and it’s relatively easy to switch out one host for another if ratings are bad and you have a recipe for Conservative commentator success. Believe me, no radio station is taking a loss to keep Rush on the air because of some ideological bent. If Al Franken could talk 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and draw a bigger audience (and more advertising dollars) he would be on instead of Rush.

In the same vein, Drudge has become astoundingly successful in the purest of the pure free markets: the Internet. Trying to compete with him based on celebrity in other areas of life will certainly attract some traffic. Just don't expect to see The Huffington Report get a million hits on April 6th, 2015.


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