EDITOR’S NOTE: This Mark Steyn column appears in the June 14, 2004, issue of National Review.
Remember Air America? The brilliant pre-publicity campaign marred only by an ill-advised decision to actually launch the product? The hype was coast to coast, but the station was only in a handful of markets, and a couple of those dumped the station after a bounced check, and most of the senior executives departed after a couple of weeks, which, according to whom you believe, was either part of the original business plan or extremely necessary because one of them was a “former Republican activist from Guam” and thus likely a double agent for the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Many decades ago, Richard Mellon Scaife planted scores of deep sleepers in Guam on the off chance it might get statehood in the next century.
So I was amazed to discover the other week that Air America is still out there. I divide my time, as the book jackets like to say, between New Hampshire and Quebec, and motoring ‘tween the two on the northern side of the border I’ve taken to listening to the Big 1070 WTWK Plattsburgh, serving not just the burgeoning twin-state market of remote northeastern New York and remote northwestern Vermont but also much of southern Quebec. I’m proud to be an Air America listener, even if I have to go to Canada to do it. You may not be able to listen to Al and Janeane in Chicago or Los Angeles, but once you leave the country they come booming in loud and clear, in the same way that Michael Moore always looms larger in Cannes, in every sense.
What’s wrong with Air America? Well, the trick for Democrats is to be like WTWK’s reception in Vermont–distorted and fuzzy. Distorted and fuzzy are the twin pillars of effective lefty strategy. Remember that favorite statistic of Bill Clinton–that twelve “kids” a day are killed by guns. When you examine the data, it turns out five-sixths of those 11.569 grade-school moppets are young adults between 15 and 19, many of whom are engaged in convenience-store holdups, drug deals, and other activities that, though potentially lucrative, have a tendency to go awry. But fuzziness (the inevitable invocation of “the children”) makes the distortion difficult to question. And that’s how the Left advances its agenda–muffling ruthless partisanship in fluffy talk.
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