Air America, Unfortunate Name, But Good Run

Does it seem like Democrats, time and again throwing themselves into a dither at the slightest G.O.P. provocation, are suffering severe post-traumatic stress after eight years of Bush and just need to calm down? Fresh off the Massachusetts upset, they seem distracted from their mission, busy future-tripping that their worst nightmares will come true. To fuel the angst, the G.O.P. postures in Illinois. Then Air America just ups and goes off the air, which of course causes the right-wing talk show cabal to scream a death knell for liberal anything -- media, politics, commentators...

"Air America", Auspicious Name?

Looking at it objectively, "Air America" did quite well given the odds. Consider first that they dared name it "Air America". Look at the history of previous organizations with that name (actually at first they called it Air America Media, then shortened that). Longevity-wise, the network lasted far longer, six years, than "Air America" the charter airline, described as "a short-lived charter airline founded in 1989, but discontinuing service in 1990".

Reputation-wise about the worse I ever heard was from Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitas, who expressed surprise when a reporter told him the network was doomed: Air America is "still really on the air?"

Personally, I never listened to the network, for no particular reason, but whatever Air America did or didn't do (and of course, just like Massachusetts, everyone has an opinion) Air America the network couldn't be more controversial than "Air America" the CIA airline which ran for sixteen years in Southeast Asia conducting logistics and recognizance missions, transporting civilians and refugees, and perhaps smuggling heroin, and opium for Asian despots.

Progressive Media's Place

Air America Media started during the Bush administration, when FOX seemed to have its hand around the throat of the public airwaves. Rachel Maddow got her start at Air America, and Senator Al Franken also played a central role for the network before becoming a senator. The network previously went bankrupt in 2004, before being bought and revived, and filing for bankruptcy again. I'm not sure what really happened, but Air America proved to be a worthy effort, if not a viable business.

Liberal or progressive media is not "dead", as FOX would have it, just because Air America did not succeed as a business. Nor does one business going off the air signal that the country is "moving right", as some commentators would have it.

Democracy Now, for one, is stronger than ever, broadcasting to over 800 stations around the world. Here's Amy Goodman in an interview with KCTS TV talking about media's job to hold politicians accountable, the place of the media as sitting around a huge kitchen table and having an "open discourse", a "lively" discussion, a "robust debate" about the "critical issues of the day"; and the "mainstream media" in general -- "What do I think of the mainstream media? I think it would be a good idea".

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