The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 August 2005

AP Finally Covers Air America Scandal

Now There's No Excuse!

AP Correctly Quotes Franken, Unlike NYT


Less than a day after the New York Times botched its Air America scandal coverage with an inaccurate Al Franken quote, along comes the AP, to do it correctly.

Wow, there's a way to kick your weekend off on the right foot!

Apparently, AP felt the need to wait until almost 17 days since the Radio Equalizer's first piece, but hey, better late than never.

Also, releasing the story on a Friday evening, going into a summer weekend does not exactly ensure a lot of coverage.

We'll take it, however, especially since they've embarrassed the New York Times with an actual living example of accurate reporting. Who knew the MSM could do it?

Now, there's no excuse for local newspapers in North Carolina, or anywhere else, since they can lazily rip it off the AP wire at their leisure. What's easier than that?

If your hometown paper doesn't now run it, ask them why and let me know the result.

This, from AP reporter David Caruso's version (emphasis mine):

The network's star, comedian and talk show host Al Franken, addressed the issue briefly on his show Monday. He called Cohen "a crook" and said the network's current managers had discovered the loans through forensic accounting.

"I don't know why they did it and I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations, which I imagine it was," Franken said. "I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul."

He added that he believed the station has a moral obligation to repay the money.

A spokeswoman for Gloria Wise said the center is in "continuing discussions" with Air America on a repayment schedule for the loans.

Now, let's take a trip down memory lane, to Friday's New York Times version:

"I don't know why he did it," Mr. Franken said, according to a transcript of the broadcast made by the Department of Investigation. "I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations. I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."

Mr. Franken also said that the network's new owners "don't legally have to pay it back" - referring to the loans - "because we're a different company or something."

"But morally we do," he said.

So, the AP confirms the Radio Equalizer's transcript version, published here yesterday.

Because some readers suggested to Michelle Malkin the New York Times might have actually had the correct version, Malkin asked for volunteers to review Franken's audio archives, covering the last four days.

The point: the Times omits what may be Franken's most potentially incriminating statement, that diverted taxpayer funds likely went to fund Air America, possibly even his own salary.

That's key, because for over two weeks, company officials and Air America's supporters have taken care to avoid the suggestion that the $875,000 in question reached their account.

We were frequently cautioned in our reporting to be careful about making this suggestion.

The reason: to leave wide open, the possibility former head Evan Cohen might have kept it for himself.

With the AP's correct quote, the issue is taken off the table and the Times needs to correct it.

There's still no explanation as to why a mention of Michelle Malkin's scandal coverage was sliced from later Times versions of the story.

So, what to do about the Times? Malkin's earlier recommendation:

Send your thoughts on the NYTimes' slothful reporting to ombudsman Byron Calame (public@nytimes.com).

Other angles in Caruso's Emmy-deserving story:

NEW YORK -- State and city officials are investigating how $875,000 from a community center in the Bronx wound up in the coffers of Air America, the liberal radio network.

A spokesman for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said his office has opened a probe into the financial dealings of the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, which runs programs for poor children and senior citizens and was funded largely by government grants and contracts.


Note this version is clear the money went to Air America, not Cohen himself. That's key to destroying the liberal's "blame it all on a crooked Republican from Guam" angle.

Also, look at this:

A spokeswoman for Gloria Wise said the center is in "continuing discussions" with Air America on a repayment schedule for the loans.

Attempts to locate Evan Cohen were not immediately successful.


Yes, every report seems to have a different version of whether an agreement has been reached, but this is what appears to be closest to the truth.

Time to find Cohen and get his side of the story.

Is there hope for the mainstream media, after all?

There will be many updates here this weekend, we're still researching many new angles.


Update:
Malkin doesn't share my enthusiasm about the AP story, see her latest here.

Also, she uncovers what could be another major error in the NYT story: the city Department of Investigation (DOI) says they did not supply a transcript to the paper, nor do they have one. So where did the reporter get it? It didn't match our version, so could it have come from Air America, or did someone else supply it?

Malkin's found something huge here, combined with the misquotes, we have a serious bone to pick with the Times.

Welcome, Powerline readers! Scott alerts me to a new Minneapolis Star-Tribune story, set to run Saturday. We'll be watching for that, as well as another from the Philly Inquirer. The new issue of National Review will have a Byron York piece on Air America, as well.

Keep checking back here, to Michelle Malkin's site, Captain's Quarters, Powerline, LGF, Hugh Hewitt, LaShawn Barber, Instapundit, Wizbang, RedStateRant, AceOfSpades and the many others covering this story.

Franken scandal graphic by Darleen Click, City Kid$ by George Adair, others from Free Republic.

Thanks for your continued Amazon support! Your orders help with costs for my upcoming site upgrade.


18 Comments:

  • From what I recall, one of the other MSM papers said they hadn't run anything on AirScam yet because the AP hadn't run anything. And they also claimed to have requested a story on the issue from the AP. Might have been the SLTB. The quote from the newspaper from what I remember was a quote posted in someone's blog.

    So now think about this...I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that New York Times already had a story written on the issue and was holding it. Once they received notice that AP was running a story on AirScam, they obtained a copy hot off the wire, compared it to their own, and ran their own instead of the AP's since their own would be more favorable to their pals over at AirScam.

    Just a theory, but seeing how the NYT has been operating over the last decade, it makes a lot of sense that this is what they did. And if you look at the timing of the two stories from AP and NYT...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 August, 2005 22:47  

  • Great job, Brian, it is good to see the continuing coverage here, at it is fun to watch the Hot Air America apologists sad little objections to this story be discredited one after the other.

    I think that there is a lot more beneath the surface here that Scare America and their minions don't want the public to know about. You GO, guy!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 August, 2005 22:52  

  • Chuck the clock, Mission Accomplished.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 August, 2005 23:27  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 August, 2005 23:52  

  • As this particular controversy heats up to a furious simmer, notice how AAR has become the 24/7 Cindy Sheehan Network. Lots of people and most in the media are getting left in the dust on that media story.

    By Blogger WHT, at 13 August, 2005 00:40  

  • "Note this version is clear the money went to Air America, not Cohen himself. That's key to destroying the liberal's "blame it all on a crooked Republican from Guam" angle."

    Huh? You have no idea what aspects of Gloria Wise they're investigating. For all you know, the loan to Air America could have been legitimate. For all you know, Spitzer could be investigating kickbacks to Bloomberg.

    For all you know, the only thing now happening is that the DOI asked Air America to put the money in escrow until the investigation is complete.

    Why are you intent on misleading your readers with rank speculation? What an asshat.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 August, 2005 01:12  

  • Please give Brian your chump change by ordering my books through his Amazon links. His squealing like a stuck pig is really helping our ratings.

    By Anonymous Al Franken, at 13 August, 2005 01:24  

  • NYT correction

    http://www.nytimes.com/ref/pageoneplus/corrections.html

    "An article yesterday about state and city investigations of a loan made by a Bronx social service agency to the liberal radio network Air America quoted incorrectly from comments made on the air by Al Franken, the host of an Air America program. Referring to Evan M. Cohen, a former official of the network whom Mr. Franken accused of having engineered the loan, from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, Mr. Franken said: "I don't know why they did it, and I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations, which I imagine it was. I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul." (He did not say: "I don't know why he did it. I don't know where the money went. I don't know if it was used for operations. I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.")"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 August, 2005 01:39  

  • >>His squealing like a stuck pig is really helping our ratings.

    So you're going from a 0.0 to a 0.1?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 August, 2005 03:46  

  • Nah, I have to post a correction. It's me who's the stuck pig. Me, Al Franken. This Scam America story is starting to stick in my craw! I thought my crew over at the Times could make it all go away. I was wrong. You bloggers were right all along. You got me. I'm a stuck pig.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 August, 2005 06:50  

  • Wow, this story has certainly come a long way from "How to fake a story" haha!

    Not sure what the liberal anon is missing:
    Huh? You have no idea what aspects of Gloria Wise they're investigating.

    Well, accept for the fact that is says so right in the article.
    as in:
    "State and city officials are investigating how $875,000 from a community center in the Bronx wound up in the coffers of Air America, the liberal radio network"

    -Are you really that willfully ignorant?

    Franken said "Robbed Peter to pay Paul" what does that mean exactly?
    I mean in this case, Franken is Paul...

    By Blogger Ace, at 13 August, 2005 09:27  

  • Hey Folks. Franken didn’t take a paycheck from AA during approx the same time the "loan" was given from Gloria Wise. Plus Franken said that when they found out about it they started the process of paying the loan back even though they did not have to. Do you think Halliburton will pay some of that 9 billion missing dollars before or after they get investigated?

    The difference between the AP article and the NY Times article is ridiculously trivial. The two versions are substantively the same. Please explain how the differences tell completely different version of events as you allege

    My guess is that all this will be traced back Republican scum bag Evan Cohen and he will probably join the growing list of Republicans scum bags getting indicted. Jack
    Abramoff is the tip of the iceberg.

    By Anonymous Brian Maloney = sock puppet, at 13 August, 2005 10:03  

  • Plus Franken said that when they found out about it they started the process of paying the loan back even though they did not have to.

    Except that was blatantly false.
    They "found out" about, and agreed to pay back, the "loan" months ago and have yet to do so.
    Franken's assertions on the matter probably shouldn't be taken to be true since he's already lied once about it.

    I didn't know that "Republican scum bags" worked for liberal radio stations.
    makes sense.

    By Blogger Ace, at 13 August, 2005 10:38  

  • Air America is the station of choice for bitter, white, spoiled, elitist liberals who hate America, our military, and work to undermine our war effort.

    Their awful ratings reflect the harsh reality that they are a degenerate minority.

    Let them swim in money stolen from babes as they try to cash in another election with the fool's gold of fake polls.

    Arbitron Ratings and election results are real. Polls taken by a liberal media that oversample Democrats, undersample Republicans, and poll 'national adults'(55% of whom will not vote in 2006) instead of 'likely voters', are about as real as Kerry's chances of ever being President.

    Enjoy reality, you liberal losers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 August, 2005 14:14  

  • The difference between the AP article and the NY Times article is ridiculously trivial.
    For slow readers, then, here it is again.

    AP version: "I don't know if it was used for operations, which I imagine it was." NYT fictional version: "I don't know if it was used for operations." Note the absence of an ellipsis. (Look it up. I'll wait.) Failure to indicate omission of words from a quotation is at best an error, at worst (as here, with the omission of some particularly damning information) a deliberate attempt to deceive.

    And again:
    The two versions are substantively the same.
    AP version: "I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul." NYT fictional version: "I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul." So... robbery and borrowing "are substantively the same," eh? Thanks for again exemplifying the moral bankruptcy of liberalism.

    By Anonymous Metro Man, at 13 August, 2005 14:23  

  • Amen Ace. Sock puppet: Your argument is either fantasy or deliberately dishonest. Which is it?

    First: AAR's earlier claim that "the DOI is blocking payment" - parroted by folks like you - was refuted by the DOI itself. What does that say about AAR's honesty?

    Second: AAR (and you) claimed their "process of paying back the loan" started several months ago, but so far haven't identified what the first step of that "payment process" was. What could it have been? Please enlighten us.

    Third: The DOI has exposed AAR's (and your) claim that "they didn't have to [reimburse anyone]" as a sham. Or has the DOI got it wrong?

    The difference between the AP article and the NY Times article is ridiculously trivial. The two versiona are substantively the same.

    Substantively the same? Changing the "who" and the "what" - which is what the New York Times did - is NOT trivial. By doing the following:
    . changing "they" (AAR) to "he" (Cohen)
    . changing "robbing" to "borrowing from"
    . striking "...I imagine it [the money] was [used for operations]" from Franken's quote

    they changed the perp from AAR to Cohen, the crime from theft to loan, and the likely beneficiary from AAR operations to someone else.

    Thus the NYT obfuscated the perpetrator, the crime, the beneficiary, and even Al Franken's own opinion. This is responsible journalism?

    By Blogger RD, at 13 August, 2005 19:51  

  • [Anonymous] Huh? You have no idea what aspects of Gloria Wise they're investigating.

    [Ace] Well, except for the fact that it says so right in the article. as in:

    NEW YORK -- State and city officials are investigating how $875,000 from a community center in the Bronx wound up in the coffers of Air America, the liberal radio network.

    Wow, Anonymous - Ace has got you dead-to-rights here. What do you have to say for yourself?

    [Anonymous] For all you know, the loan to Air America could have been legitimate.

    So one minute Cohen's a crook for procuring the money, the next minute the "loan" could have been legitimate?

    Accusing others of ignorance ("for all you know...") is one thing, accusing them of amnesia is quite another. Do you expect us to just dismiss the last two weeks of news coverage out of hand?

    That's what your snotty "for all you know" comments seem to suggest: For all you know, Al Franken really did say what the New York Times printed. For all you know, someone digitally edited Franken's audio recording after the fact to smear AAR. For all you know, everyone but Air America is lying or deluding you. For all you know, Cohen's a space alien.

    When does the absurdity end?

    By Blogger RD, at 13 August, 2005 20:34  

  • [I said] Thus the NYT obfuscated the perpetrator, the crime, the beneficiary, and even Al Franken's own opinion. This is responsible journalism?

    Or defensible journalism?

    By Blogger RD, at 13 August, 2005 20:36  

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