(Since the original post was getting pretty far down, I thought I'd make a new post.)
I am delighted that Air America is not claiming to be news. That should cut down on the “I didn’t hear it on Air America so it must not be news” problem significantly.
FWIW, I don’t particularly mind “rant” programs existing, though I don’t listen to them myself and don’t completely understand why other people would. (John Stewart’s objections to them as mentioned on his somewhat infamous “Crossfire” appearance pretty much parallel mine.) My big concern is trying to keep news as mainstream as possible.
Someone stuck up a quote:
"In general, the press now sees its role as covering an issue like world hunger and commenting on it editorially, rather than being a participant in trying to alleviate it."
-- Katharine Graham, Personal History
I own that book, I've read it, I liked it. I’ve been a Katherine Graham fan since I was in Junior High School
But I think Katherine Graham is wrong there.
I don't recall that the press EVER did much to solve world hunger with slanted reporting.
However, William Randolph Hearst's newspapers did much to start the Spanish-American War with slanted reporting.
The way to be a good, active, press is to report more facts, not just the ones you like. (After all, who knows what might have happened if Howard Dean's people had listen to what the non-Dean-voters NPR interviewed had to say and retooled their campaign accordingly.)
If the facts when fairly presented show that an action should be taken, people will come to that conclusion themselves. That's Democracy and why an informed press is a crucial peice of who we are. If you think the people are too dumb to look at the hard facts and conclude that something must be done, write an editorial and spell it out there.
Don't write slanted news on purpose and try to take out any slant that gets in there accidentally. It's just that simple.