Sunday, September 25, 2005


When I participated in a symposium at Grinnell College recently, FT columnist Jurek Martin asked what I thought about the recent decline in right wing radio ratings. I responded something to the effect that while I'd like to imagine it represented a major shift in the prevailing political winds and a general rejection of their product, I more just chalked it up to the fact that their basic story is getting rather old. It isn't just the Bush administration that was jumpstarted on September 11 -- it was also the entire conservative press who, after a decade of being all Clinton all the time, needed a new plot and a new cast of characters. Sure, the story never really changes much, but it at least requires a bit of scenery change and a recast now and then. Frankly, they're getting boring.

It occurs to me now, however, that this isn't just an issue with right wing radio. It's also rather true of the commentariat generally. While the talking head class has skewed seriously right for years, it's only fairly recently that the left has been almost entirely marginalized. Aside from whatever impact this has on the range of viewpoints available to the general viewing public, it also becomes incredibly boring.