New York Times Finally Covers Scandal
NYT 'Coverage' Has Conservatives Shaking Heads
For two weeks, the Radio Equalizer's MSM clock (supplied by BoreAmerica) has been logging the mainstream media's non-coverage of Air America's scandal, where it appears to have received $875,000 in taxpayer funds, intended for a Bronx-based community center.
More recently, we've been discussing what the first New York Times story might include. Perhaps both sides, rather than merely covering for Al Franken? Would they acknowledge the blogosphere, for picking up their slack?
Now, we finally have their version of the story, 16 days later. Is it time to remove the MSM clock?
Certainly, we don't expect fairness or balance from the Times. We knew ahead of time to expect slanted, one-sided coverage and that's what we got.
But would it be too much to ask, to have Al Franken accurately quoted? After all, we do have both the audio and transcript of his comments from Monday's show.
New York Times:
Mr. Franken took up the issue on the air on Monday afternoon, telling his listeners that Mr. Cohen was "a crook" who had borrowed money from Gloria Wise.
"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.
FRANKEN: Ok, it turns out he was on the board, or worked for, this Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx or something.
And he uh, borrowed (laughter) $875,000 from, 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 (softer, especially fast), which I imagine it was. I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul.
And about three weeks into the life of Air America, I became an involuntary investor. I stopped being paid.
So now, we started to make arrangements, and I didn't know anything about this until late last week, and I'm sorry, Rick, that you have to be here for this.
So, not only did Air America get a free pass, in a story that focused on the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club end of the scandal, but Franken's comments were conveniently "cleansed" of unpleasant near-admissions.
It's interesting, the Times used a transcript it says came from the Department Of Investigation. Did the reporter properly reference it, or did the DOI make the error?
What a break for Franken, where he really put his foot in his mouth, the words are excluded from coverage.
Michelle Malkin delivered this verdict:
The article is a rehash of everything blogs and a sprinkling of MSM outlets have already reported. Underwhelming. Entirely expected. And wholly inadequate given the paper's massive previous coverage of Air America.
Send your thoughts on the NYTimes' slothful reporting to ombudsman Byron Calame (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Yes, it's one thing to argue about bias, which we can fight over until the cows come home, but a misquote is a misquote. That's something Calame can't ignore.
Captain Ed, at Captain's Quarters, also nails it:
The New York Times has ended its hermitage in tomorrow's edition by finally reporting on the financial scandal in its own back yard. Alan Feuer reports on the ongoing Air America funding scandal, and manages to make it more boring than a blotter report for a weekly suburban freebie.
Lance at RedStateRant saw a different version from what's now there:
Nonetheless, word of the investigations ignited a firestorm of criticism on the Internet, especially among conservative-leaning blogs that have essentially accused the network of robbing from the poor to pay its bills. "Air America: Stealing From Poor Kids?" asked the headline of a recent posting by Michelle Malkin, a conservative commentator.
Here's what I'm seeing this morning at the Times site:
Nonetheless, word of the investigations ignited a firestorm of criticism on the Internet, especially among conservative-leaning blogs that have essentially accused the network of robbing from the poor to pay its bills.
Wonder why the comment about Malkin is now absent?
More disturbing, the Times version cleanses the controversy over repayment of the funds.
Where the New York Post and other publications have correctly included the agreement dispute, Air America's constantly conflicting statements and silly games that have greatly frustrated the DOI, are not found in the Times story.
Take a look at Thursday's Post (emphasis mine):
"We're not commenting on anything right now because of the delicate nature of negotiations to get the money back" from Air America, said spokesman Jim Grossman.
The left-wing radio network, which showcases Al Franken, last Friday made a $50,000 repayment on the loan to an escrow account controlled by the station's lawyer.
"The [city] Department of Investigation advised Air America to repay $875,000 into an escrow account from which no money can be disbursed without our approval," said DOI spokeswoman Emily Gest.
"Air America has not followed that recommendation."
But an Air America official told The Post yesterday that both sides had agreed to a payment plan months ago and that they were on schedule with their payments.
That was news to the Boys & Girls Club. "Air America has agreed in principle to give the money, but nothing has been finalized yet," Grossman said yesterday.
"They haven't agreed how and when to do it."
Now, compare to the Times version:
Jim Grossman, a spokesman for Gloria Wise, said the club had given Air America about $875,000, though he added that he did not know exactly how, or in what form, it had been given. He also said the club and the network had reached an agreement under which the money had been placed in escrow and would eventually be repaid to the club.
The Times left out key elements of an important piece of the story, didn't it?
Worst of all, there's no exploration of whether air personalities were fraudulently paid with taxpayer funds, even after Franken himself made the suggestion.
To remove Franken's words and ignore key elements of this story, shows the New York Times has learned very little from its recent credibility scandals.
We kept our expectations low for good reasons, it turns out.
The Times did one thing, however: forcing liberals to come up with new excuses to cover for Air America.
No longer can they say it's a "made-up story", now that their newspaper has finally covered it, weeks after they should have.
Big welcome to Powerline, Instapundit, Captain's Quarters (where there is significant new information, thanks again, Ed), Orbusmax, Michelle Malkin, LaShawn Barber (who has a fresh round-up on a number of interesting stories), Larsonian and many others.
Update: Much more on the way shortly, click here for main page and new posts.
AAR Scandal by Darleen Click, City Kid$ by George Adair, MSM Silence by Suzy Rice.
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