RFK Jr: Air America 'was beating out right wing radio,' but evil corporate advertisers boycotted it
Conspiracy theorist Robert Kennedy, Jr is one of those leftists living in an alternate universe, a man who feels entitled not just to his own opinions, but to his own facts. Utilizing the taxpayer-subsidized airwaves of PBS, he told Tavis Smiley that Air America's failure was due to a boycott of evil corporate advertisers, not to a failure to attract listeners.
"Air America failed not because it wasn't popular In every jurisdiction where it was operating, it was beating out right wing radio.... the problem was that it couldn't get advertising. The corporations - tyhe oil companies, the biggest advertisers.. the pharmaceutical companies... the automobile companies... these companies, they all boycotted it."
This is crazy on multiple counts. As anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh or any of the other talk radio greats can easily attest, pharmaceutical companies, automobile companies, and other blue ribbon corporate advertisers are far from the top advertisers. Right now, it is gold companies, and entrepreneurial firms. Rush Limbaugh's current top advertiser is his own new iced tea company, an example of do-it-yourself entrepreneurship -- precisely 180 degrees opposite the corporate sponsorship model crazy RFK posits.
Second, Air America had lousy ratings. The far-from-conservative Christian Science Monitor noted in 2005:
...look at Air America's ratings: They're pitifully weak, even in places where you would think they'd be strong. WLIB, its flagship in New York City, has sunk to 24th in the metro area Arbitron ratings - worse than the all-Caribbean format it replaced, notes the blog "radioequalizer." In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still.
Left Wing Vanity Fair (which RFK praises later in the interview!) wrote:
...despite abundant publicity and an impressive roster of on-air talent, Air America's ratings never came anywhere near those of right-wing titans such as Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, or even those of heartland progressive Ed Schultz.
Part of the reason Air America did so poorly is related to the public airwaves, on which RFK Jr. ranted. NPR is taxpayer subsidized, and already reaches the liberal audience. In addition, RFK neglects to mention the financial scandal in which the owner "borrowed" a million dollars from the Boys and Girls Clubs of New York. That just doesn't fit with the anti-corporate narrative, I guess.
Watch it yourself:
It has been hard to take RFK Jr seriously ever since the night he appeared on Sean Hannity's FNC show to tell America that we have to cut down our carbon emissions drastically, and then when Sean asked him, admitted that yes, he was about to fly off on a private jet after the show.
Hat tip: Story Balloon