The stories about the bankruptcy of Air America, the liberal radio network, usually tried to compare its success, or lack thereof, to the ability of conservatives to get on hundreds of radio stations. Air America has 89 affiliates, compared to Limbaugh being on 550 stations and Hannity on 515. But the left-leaning National Public Radio has 800 affiliates and claims an audience of 26 million. It, of course, is federally-financed.
Nevertheless, NPR was invited to Radio Day, an event held at the White House that featured mostly conservative radio hosts.
At the event, NPR’s Robert Siegel questioned White House political adviser Karl Rove about what might happen on election day. Siegel accused Rove of being unduly optimistic. “Not that you would be exhibiting a bias or anything like that. You’re just making a comment,” Rove shot back.
A USA Today story by Michael Jackson about Radio Day quoted Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade magazine Talkers, as saying the event was designed to solidify the conservative base. “Harrison said the difference this year is that some conservatives, such as economist Bruce Bartlett and blogger Andrew Sullivan, have been critical of Bush policies on the war in Iraq and federal spending as elections loom Nov. 7,” Jackson reported.
Sullivan, of course, is not a conservative. An open homosexual who was exposed by fellow gays for soliciting dangerous “bareback” sex on the Internet, Sullivan has flip-flopped on the Iraq war and is an ardent advocate of homosexual marriage. Gay activist Michael Signorile labeled him “Bareback Andy.”
If Sullivan is a conservative, then the term has lost its meaning.
On the other hand, there are those who maintain that NPR is not liberal. Karl Rove knows better.
Radio Day is a welcome, if belated, effort to organize conservatives on the radio into a network that can not only compete with but counter National Public Radio.
The question is whether NPR would survive on its own, without federal dollars. The Congress should have provided the opportunity to find out. But the Republican Congress didn’t have the courage to cut funding for public radio or TV.