Lars and the Liberal Voice

By Deborah Barnes in Milwaukie, Oregon. Deborah is a former Oregon broadcast reporter turned high school media teacher. Currently, she's member of the Milwaukie City Council.

LarslarsonLars Larson used to be a man who cared enough about the truth that he was indeed a "newsman".

Today, as he spills his half-truths and anger, he continues to call himself a reporter when most of us know he is just a shill for the Republicans.

Lars really is a genuine guy. Unfortunately, he is no longer an unbiased reporter but he has thousands believing his "truths" are absolute. There is not a consistent voice to debate his reasoning and too many people take his word as gospel. I congratulate him for his marketing abilities. I worked beside him and thought he was a great broadcaster. He still is one of the best.

It is imperative the voice of reason be given a real opportunity to distinguish between the propoganda of Lars' show with that of the other side. At one time Portland radio made sure there was a least one voice of democracy on the local airwaves.

Oregon, and in particular the tri-county area, understands the liberal voice. When will we have the opportunity to hear the other side of the story on local radio? We need to push for that voice to be heard on a regular basis.

Lars has a right to his opinions. The liberal voice of Oregon, the voice that supports reasoning, also needs to be championed by an intelligent, thought-provoking commentator.

It is time for management and owners of Portland radio to let that voice be heard. It is the responsibility of those of us who believe Lars has had enough air time without being questioned to find that voice and support it. It makes no difference if no one supports the voice of reason.

Call the local stations. Demand that a liberal be put on the air and will be supported with listeners, advertisers, and the public. It is time to hear all sides of the argument. And, if we do make it on to the airwaves, remember that the mute button at the station doesn't need to be pushed as often as it is currently being done elsewhere.

  • Kismet (unverified)

    Have you heard AM 620 KOPJ? Sounds like right up your alley. Especially Randi Rhodes.

  • brett (unverified)

    Or OPB.

    Call the local stations. Demand that a liberal be put on the air and will be supported with listeners, advertisers, and the public.

    Yeah, that will work. Demand that people listen. Demand that a business ignore its customers and satisfy you instead.

    They have a saying about abortion: Don't like it? Don't have one. I don't understand why the same doesn't apply here. Don't like Lars Larson? Don't listen to him. Don't like Fox News? Don't watch it. Why do you feel the need to prevent other people from watching or listening to things that you don't like?

    I'm sensing a pattern here: Larson, Fox, even keeping Nader off the ballot. Kerry called for an end to political advertisements that he doesn't like. Why is the left so obsessed with silencing voices? Seems to me that I've heard a lot of whining about 'silencing of dissent' from the left since 9/11; how is this different? Why are you afraid of people being exposed to views that are different from yours?

  • (Show?)

    Why do you feel the need to prevent other people from watching or listening to things that you don't like?

    You're usually smarter than to completely misrepresent what's being said. No one said Lars should be taken off the air or people prevented from listening to him. All that was said here was:

    "Lars has a right to his opinions. The liberal voice of Oregon, the voice that supports reasoning, also needs to be championed by an intelligent, thought-provoking commentator."

    In other words: Urge local broadcasters to add a voice to the local airwaves. No one said anything about "prevent[ing] other people from watching or listening to things."

    Try again.

  • Pedro (unverified)

    Actually calling the radio stations directly is the least effective way to demand change.

    CALL THE SPONSORS of the rightwing filth and make sure they know that you won't spend money with them as long as they advertise on a station that promotes hate like KXL.

    REWARD the sponsors that advertise on AM 620 with your business.

  • Justin (unverified)

    Actually, you do have a liberal voice on the radio. His name his Howard Stern. But of course you won't listen to him, because he offends your delicate sensibilities.

  • robin (unverified)

    Justin, you missed the point of the commentary. Deborah is asking for a liberal voice of Oregon -- someone local to speak about local as well as national issues from a liberal perspective.

    Besides, how do you know none of us listen to Stern?

  • JS (unverified)

    We, the people, own the airwaves. It's just as much mine as it is Lars', so why give voice to only his perspective? Why allow a business to make money off the public airwaves when they're only representing one set of beliefs?

    Broadcasters argue that if government just gets out of the way, the commercial marketplace will produce a marketplace of ideas. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened in Portland (or elsewhere). The marketplace does not create a broad spectrum of opinion. Instead, it endlessly replicates the same narrow, dumbed-down, shock-jock programs that guarantee eyeballs and eardrums to advertisers.

    Arguably, this is a First Amendment issue where citizens have a RIGHT to access a broad spectrum of opinion and information. Obviously, the station owner has a right to free speech, but as long as he uses the public airwaves he's also obligated to ensure the rights of the citizenry are protected.

  • brett (unverified)

    b!x, what's troubling is the idea that anyone has the right to force a radio station or a cable operator to change their programming because there are people that disagree with it. If you don't like it, don't fing listen to it and don't fing watch it. Better, start your own damn cable channel or radio show and present the alternative viewpoint. That's the American way.

  • (Show?)

    There's something un-American about contacting radio stations to urge them to add a particular sort of programming?

  • Justin (unverified)

    Robin: You're right, I missed her point. But still, if you want liberal radio, listen to Stern.

  • (Show?)

    We used to have a mix of perspectives on American and Oregonian airwaves: It was called the FCC Fairness Doctrine, and it required editorial programs to give equal time to opposing viewpoints. Broadcast news and talk radio fell into coverage by this rule.

    Reagan got rid of it during his first term, for exactly the same reason that you're now only seeing a mix of the perspectives of radio station owners, not listeners: he knew, as broadcast mega-corporations do now, that as the rich tend to be conservative, pandering to the right wing would predominate our airwaves.

    The Howard Stern argument is a canard, even apart from the local v. national argument: Stern is Libertarian, and supported George Pataki (R) during the last election for Governor of New York.

    Stern, like many metro New Yorkers, is angry for the lack of response from the Bush administration after 9/11; that hardly makes him a liberal, Justin. If you'd listened to him yourself, or listened long enough, you'd know that.

    Air America is available in Portland on 620 AM KPOJ; the fact that Clear Channel (who owns KPOJ) tape delays almost all of the shows notwithstanding, that doesn't make up for the lack of a local liberal voice. Metro Portland's predominantly liberal, even if the suburbs are not, and last I checked, more people still live here than in any one suburb. Since it is mainstream, it deserves a mainstream channel.

    And it's not about wanting to silence radical Republican voices, Brett (except possibly in our own homes): it's about adding ours to the mix. It's about getting someone to champion the perspective of a good half of the voting public, who participates in this economy, works to sustain it, and has long deserved it every bit as much as Lars' people from the suburbs.

    But it would take a lot more than some Reed grad with a good radio voice. Especially on television, it's less the host and more the people behind them, shouting into their earpiece.

  • JS (unverified)

    I think that's the great thing about the internet, and specifically, blogs. It offers the free exchange of ideas. Anyone can start up their own internet media outlet at a minimal cost.

    It's a way more democratic medium than radio. I can't exactly go out and start my own radio station. Only if I won the lottery, or sold part of my soul to advertisers who want to appeal to the most base parts of people.

    Sidenote-has anybody heard the commercials on talk radio? Admittedly, I've only heard them once or twice when I've tuned into Savage or Hannity to hear their breathless rant of the day. It seemed like 50% of their on-air time was taken up by commercials for diet pills and get-rich-quick schemes. Must know their audience. Their market research must be fascinating.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    It ain't the content, it's the tone: Community traitor.

    One action is to bell the pussy. Hang a ringer on the skunk -- in this case dub him "Liars Larson" -- and then every pimp dime spent on name marketing his moneyhole, rings the local loser bell: LIARS.

    Engrave the leash with the owner's name -- Paul Allen -- so everywhere the skunk stinks, the people know whose pet it is and the antisocial home he came from.

    Calling sponsors to their shame works if you get them on the line, but they're busy, too, so sometimes writing it down -- "Our customers proudly support rightwing hate talk Liars" -- and taping it to their door can get the message to them.

    Usually they sell mattresses on false promises, and it figures people with Liars ideas in their head have trouble sleeping.

    Have a good day -- avoid shopping where the other customers are raged out listeners gickxed on radio hate talk.

  • pdxkona (unverified)

    KPOJ is thinking about bringing more local content to their airwaves. They have a couple local shows they are percolating right now; consistent with the left-leaning theme. What say you Kari? Wanna co-host a local radio show?

  • Deborah Barnes (unverified)

    Good news. I have been having an email conversation with Mike Dirxx, Operations Manager for KPOJ Radio. When I asked if the station would be interested in a local voice here was his response...

    "I really need someone who can combine radio talk skills with the knowledge necessary to be informative".

    So....we need to recruit someone asap while the fire is hot.

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