Are overtly liberal media ventures like Air America or Al Gore's Current TV doomed to failure? Yes, according to NBC Universal president Bob Wright.
The media exec ventured this opinion during an interview with his MSNBC employee Tucker Carlson at a media symposium. Broadcasting & Cable gives this account:
Carlson made a suggestion: Why not start a channel that overtly caters to liberals? "There's tons of liberals out there," Carlson said.
Going after a lefty audience would be futile, Wright said. "For some strange, probably genetic, reasons"—we're pretty sure that was a joke—"they don't listen to a lot of radio and they don't watch a lot of television."
Another disincentive: Despite all the media attention given to cable-news programming—from Bill O'Reilly's histrionics on Fox to Anderson Cooper's exhibitionistic empathy at CNN—American viewers are not all that interested. Wright pointed out that the cable-news networks combined draw fewer unique viewers all night long than a single half-hour of NBC Nightly News.
"You'd think it would be 25 million people. It's smaller than that, it's 5 million-6 million," Wright said. "It's not a very large group."
Unsaid by Wright was that programs hosted by outspoken and overtly liberal talking heads are going after a market that's already saturated with shows hosted by people who won't admit they're liberal.