The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006
 

Air America - tedious as ever, apparently


As the most cursory glance round here will attest, I think American politics are fascinating. Easily as gripping as, say, baseball. (The only American sport that I have the slightest knowledge of.)

But, in order to enjoy baseball, you have to have a knowledge of the basis rules. And Jon and Joe (or whoever) will assume the audience know them. New addicts have some homework to do before it starts to make sense.

The same with politics. Absorbing Riddick's from cover to cover isn't necessary. But familiarity with the basic functioning of the political world is.

AAR, broadcasting to a relatively small band of self-selecting lefty enthusiasts as its core audience [1], is, generally, a Groundhog Day of slogans, plus the gaudiest of the day's GOP gotchas.

Tuning in to Garofalo's show last night for the first time in three months, it was as if I'd never been away. Absolutely nothing of substance in the first 40-odd minutes - that old crock, the military-industrial-newstainment complex, reported for duty, as expected! - and that did it.

Rachel Maddow's show - an extra hour, and a more civilised start time - was chock full of filler. Hideously unconvincing banter with her guests to eke out the time; still only three sleeper stories noted, despite the doubling of running time; the unfunny Kent Jones, though, getting way more time.

Love the sense of priorities!

Restricted to an hour, the content was sufficiently rich to warrant downloading the MP3 (30 mins) and listening with a finger on the fast-forward button (another 30 mins). Now, the good bits are swimming in a soup of boring chat.

Example of what might replace the chat with something nutritious: the Houston Chronicle runs through some 06 races worth looking at. Starting, natch, with the Number One Blackhat, Tom DeLay, down there in TX-20.

And it tells me something I didn't know: the GOP is two short of a 2/3 majority in the Texas Senate; District 18 is heavily GOP, but the outgoing incumbent, Ken Armbrister, is a Democrat. (The pattern for a lot of seats in the US Congress in the South, in the decades following the Dems decision to dump the South back in 1963/4. They've almost all shifted GOP - as previously discussed here. A lot.)

Now is an exciting time for Dems, surely, with the prospect [2] of 30-40 competitive seats in the US House, and a plausible chance of gaining control of at least one house of Congress. Not to mention ensuring that the Governator will not be back!

But I get no sense that AAR wishes to engage with the detail.

I'm biased; as you can see, I'm all about the detail. A balance is needed for broadcasting, obviously. But, as of now, it's the thinnest of gruel.

  1. My supposition. Even basic Arbitrons are held more closely than state secrets, let alone that depth of demo analysis!
  2. Try the Crystal Ball for sketches and forecasts.



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