Letters: Wednesday, May 18, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Tomato Media

To the editor: I was not pleased at first with the direction your article about Air America Radio took and was ready to write it off as a standard conservative reaction. About half-way through, I skipped down to the last couple of lines. Only then did I feel compelled to read the rest. My quarrel is with the article’s assessment of NPR. If the presumption is that NPR is more progressive than AAR, then fine. I disagree with that, but it is a “to-may-to” versus “to-mah-to” level disagreement.
However, if the point is NPR is progressive, well, that’s very different. NPR provides good news magazines and programming that leans to the left. They are not progressive. I would imagine a progressive NPR would have stories and entire “days” devoted to social justice, human rights, and the environment. And while they do discuss all of the above (perhaps more than any other “news” media outlet), they do not hammer the message home. That doesn’t mean that they have to be shrill to be progressive. It means constant content that is sharp in its questioning and clear in its reporting. It means speaking truth to power. They don’t. Maybe they are actually “fair and balanced.” That’s a good thing in a world full of fake news, fake reporters, and commentators-for-hire. And if being fair and balanced is what passes as “progressive,” well, that’s a comment on the lousy state of affairs this country is in rather than the actual content of NPR.
Regarding AAR, I was a supporter from the beginning — listened at work for nine hours a day. However, the day they replaced “Unfiltered” with Jerry Springer was the day I stopped listening.
With the exception of “Unfiltered,” I think your assessment of AAR is accurate (although I have not actually heard Jerry Springer’s show). I’m not saying “Unfiltered” was great, but it did bring some balance to AAR’s programming. They were serious, they didn’t really rant, but they had fun. Their weekly “Ask a Vet” segment was invaluable — just about the only outlet for veterans returning from the Middle East to speak out and talk with callers. The “Party Machine” on Fridays was fun and very cool, if not always well produced. Each host brought something unique.
It’s a real shame. I think AAR provided a great deal of good, useful content. For example, during the election, people kept asking “What does John Kerry stand for?” Well, I felt like I knew the answers, and I shared them. After the election, the programming was still relevant to my needs. I felt connected. I felt informed. I was entertained. Don’t get me wrong. I miss Randy, Katherine Lanpher, and Al. They made me laugh, think, get active and feel like I wasn’t alone. However, because of this change in programming, I really couldn’t be less interested in AAR now.
Donald R. Johnson
Houston



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