Jewish World Review Jan. 7, 2003/ 4 Shevat, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Why libs will never have a Rush Limbaugh | The New York Times frets. Its first front page for 2003 blared, "Outflanked Democrats Wonder How to Catch Up in Media Wars." The piece recounts the failures of liberals on radio and television: Mario Cuomo, Jim Hightower, Geraldo. Now Mrs. Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue, tanks on MSNBC because the callers are not there.

Worse, bemoans the Times, a massive media juggernaut of conservatives, from Rush Limbaugh to Bill O'Reilly, monopolizes thought. Flummoxed Democrats quoted in the article sound daft. Liberals envision daily staff meetings of media baron Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate in which CEO Rush Limbaugh gives Sean Hannity, Michael Reagan, et al., their talking points for the day. They then toss darts at photos of Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn, and depart in black helicopters. "The vast right-wing conspiracy! It's alive!!!" liberals point and bellow.

John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff, and Stephen Kirsch, Internet entrepreneur and $1.0 million donor in 2002 alone to the DNC, exclaim, "We need our own Rush Limbaugh!" Fools they be. There will never be a liberal Rush Limbaugh. Conservative talk radio, Fox News and conservative personalities succeed because the public chooses them.

Liberals continue attempts at end runs around human nature. Their Title IX litigation that demands parity for female collegiate sports drones on because people don't want to pay to watch broads shooting hoops. Policy wonks jabbering about how bad things are in America is not their cup of tea either. When Americans have a choice, whether in mid-term elections, TV, or radio listening pleasure, they choose conservatives.

Democrats approached Haim Saban, Hollywood mogul and creator of deeply moving entertainment such as "The Power Rangers," to fund a network to counter Fox. For conspiracy theory, left-wing style, check out Saban's political donations. He gave $10.7 million to the DNC in 2002 and tosses about $1,000 donations to Hillary, Jean Carnahan, Feinstein, Kerry, etc. as if they were quarters.

Even Saban told them to pound sand because he understands the bottom line of business, and there will be no ROI from liberals. Heck, even liberals don't listen to themselves. NPR, the taxpayer-funded liberal media machine, has an audience that is 72% conservatives.

Why do conservatives listen to NPR? Well, we don't get near as angry about Daniel Schorr's contortions or Nina Totenberg's hissy fits as liberals do about Jerry Falwell or Charlton Heston. We listen for the hoots. To us, NPR is pure unadulterated fodder for laughing out loud at the bias, feigned concern, and stewing and fretting over SUVs. Herein lies the Podesta blind spot. Liberalism is the entertainment.

But James Carville and John McCain, who called Mr. Limbaugh a "clown," mistakenly believe that the draw is the packaging. This bunch of ragtag media warriors is not exactly Hollywood material. Mr. Limbaugh has no guests on his show. Bill O'Reilly is not a particularly pleasing man to gaze upon, but he tackles what was once unspeakable. Rita Cosby of Fox News has a weekend-anchor-hired-out-of-Pittsburgh-look, but she has a nose for news and will not let interviewees wriggle out of answering.

Liberals can't do witty satire or rapier-sharp response and analysis. Al Franken's book, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot," is about all liberal comedy can offer. Michael Gartner, former head of NBC news when Dateline got caught adding incendiary devices to enhance video of its staged exploding GM gas tanks, said in response to Mr. Limbaugh decrying the unfairness of the report, "He's a showoff, a showman and a jerk."

Media conservatives draw audiences because they are upbeat about life and America. Sean Hannity sounds happy and grateful. Mr. Limbaugh breathes opportunity in America. Mr. O'Reilly smiles with self-deprecation even during his hate mail. Author and JWR columnist Ann Coulter told CSPAN she has a great life, thanks to the American people.

Who on the left could be upbeat? Find me one happy liberal. Imagine Nina Totenberg and Barbra Streisand as joint hosts. The listeners would need Midol. "Now, pulling off the robes and tackling the issues of the day, your host, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!"

Conservatives offer a marketplace of ideas. Listeners and viewers tune in to debate, not grouse. Vouchers got their legs in conservative media and will not die because these outlets keep the data flowing. Welfare reform founds its roots here. These ideas, ultimately embraced by Clinton himself, work! It's substance, not form.

By contrast, Donahue recently had Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins on to discuss the war in Iraq. If you're looking for substance, Sarandon, Robbins and Donahue are dead men walking.

Liberals will never have their Rush Limbaugh. Liberals lack solutions, not media outlets for their tired musings. It ain't the messenger, stupid; it's the message.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


01/02/03: The year that was
12/26/02: Capital offenses, power and Harry Potter
12/20/02: Mundane superlatives cause trouble
12/09/02: Let the sacking begin
12/05/02: Amazing Grace that saved me from my CO2 emissions
11/27/02: Free speech, Harvard, and First Amendment looneys
11/25/02: Eminem culture
11/14/02: Hollywood trash
11/04/02: Patron Kennedy Saints
10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
10/17/02: The window on the liberal mind and war
10/14/02: Leaders don't change; followers do
10/07/02: Do it yourself
09/27/02: Hosers rise again
09/20/02: Girly gridiron
09/13/02: Erudite buffoons
09/11/02: One year later, crass demands, greed, and litigation are back --- but rights are diminished
09/06/02: Public schools: An unqualified success
08/30/02: The Shakespearean tragedy of affirmative action
08/23/02: Hollywood Joe's admission
08/15/02: Cheapskates
08/08/02: Ode to a coal miner
08/02/02: Sarah Brady's gun gift
07/26/02: Don't do it, Tiger
07/18/02: Reality Muppets
07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
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12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
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09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
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10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings