Behar Panel Blames Gender for Air America Failure; Says Liberals Too Sophisticated for Format with 'People Screaming at Them'

Bad content? Bad business model?  No, those reasons aren't why Air America is no longer with us. Air America, a radio network advertised as the next talk radio juggernaut in 2004, was supposed to revolutionize the format and provide a "counterweight" for those left-of-center politically.

But there's another reason according to HLN host and "The View" panelist Joy Behar. In the usual fashion of citing no statistics and making sweeping generalizations, Behar blamed the collapse of liberal talk radio outlet Air America on a gender gap in listeners on her Jan. 25 HLN broadcast.

"Ok, but can I say that men listen to talk radio more than women and men are more conservative, generally speaking," Behar said, proposing a reason for Air America's bankruptcy.

But as a conservative woman and avid talk radio fan, it's easy to disagree. Though it's true that men tend to vote more conservative than women as percentage, The New York Times' own 2008 presidential election exit polling indicated that more men voted for the winner, President Barack Obama (the liberal candidate) than Sen. John McCain (the conservative candidate), which debunks Behar's theory.

Behar's guest panelists that evening included syndicated sex advice columnist Daniel Savage and Time magazine columnist Joe Klein. Both Savage and Klein have a liberal track record, which made the panel even more unbalanced as they delved into political issues.

But, Klein's response to Behar's earlier point about gender playing a role in Air America's failure was even more of an off-base sweeping generalization, categorizing liberals as those too sophisticated for the talk radio format.

"That's part of it. But I think liberals like to read more than they like to listen to people screaming at them," Klein responded. 

Ah yes, as if there has never been a liberal host that has ever screamed and called conservatives names. Aside from the angry ranting of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC on a nightly basis, one might recall that Air America alum Janeane Garafalo, the one-time sidekick to now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., showed her ability to scream about tea party activists, calling them "racist, teabagging rednecks" on MSNBC's April 16, 2009 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann"

As for what Air America gave to the country? According to Behar, the network's legacy will be ever-present with the likes of Franken and Behar's 9 p.m. competitor, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

"We did get from Air America Rachel Maddow and Al Franken," Behar added. "I must say that we got something out of Air America."

Jeff Poor contributed to this post.

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