The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

04 August 2005

Thursday Air America Scandal News

Still Heating Up


--- Air America hosts are still pretending on-air as though nothing is happening, continuing attacks against the Bush "crime family". Apparently they believe the mainstream media will continue helping AAR avoid negative publicity.

If the New York Times finally covers this, they're finished. Maybe that's what worries Times staffers most, they don't want to kill off allies.

--- Common email question: where's Drudge? He's known to not care for bloggers, but could you send him a note to ask him if he might yet cover it? Is it fair to let Matt off the hook, as we pound away at the Times? No and he should know better.

--- Michelle Malkin today:

Number of NY Times articles mentioning Air America since March 2004: 59

Number of NY Times articles mentioning the Air Enron scandal: 0
(Via Nexis)

She brings us all up to date with a list of links in an excellent new post. You can pre-order her new book in the Amazon link to the right. Can't wait to see it!

--- Listen for me at 6:35am PDT/ 9:35 EDT on 560 KSFO/ San Francisco, for an interview with KSFO's Melanie Morgan and Lee Rodgers. Audio streaming is available. (update: we had a great time, welcome KSFO listeners!)

--- Then, at 1:30pm EDT, I'll be heard on Insights from Washington with Paul Rodriguez, on Rightalk Radio Network.

--- Also scheduled for NRA News with Cam Edwards at 5:20pm EDT, heard on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (SIRIUS Patriot Channel 141).

--- A Powerline reader finally hears back from the New York Times, after bombarding them with emails as to why they aren't covering the Air America scandal.

Imagine his shock in receiving this:

Well, in fact, we will reply. We are closely watching this story and how it is handled by the paper.

That said, this office has no control over the content of the paper, outside of what Mr. Calame writes about in his column.


Sincerely,
Joe Plambeck
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times


Great to know they're watching it, but it's been eight days and counting since we first covered it, what gives? Why did they allow themselves to be scooped by blogs and the New York Sun and Post?

Even if they don't like us, it's still the news, shouldn't they be reporting it?

--- Hugh Hewitt's new Weekly Standard column is up and the Radio Equalizer is again mentioned. Hewitt does a fantastic job bringing the reader up to date on Air America scandal events. Also check out his brand new post here.

--- LaShawn Barber has her own roundup today, here. Also at the Larsonian.

--- More salsa from
Macho Nachos here, which has become a legal reference point on the subject. Leon consults with lawyers on each new development.

--- Ace Of Spades hasn't let up, either. Thanks!

--- Be sure to check Captain's Quarters, Powerline and Orbusmax for the latest updates. Captain Ed breaks down the Investor's Business Daily editorial here. Thanks to all for holding their feet to the fire.

--- More updates coming soon, watch here.

Graphic by Martin Archer. City Kid$ by George Adair.

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65 Comments:

  • Surely this is Pulitzer quality stuff.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 09:39  

  • that's the putzier prize.

    does Jeff Gannon charge Lien Baloney or bareback him gratis?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 09:55  

  • Keep it up Brian - If nothing else, you've really managed to piss off the five people in the world who actually listen to Air America.

    By Blogger Brian, at 04 August, 2005 10:00  

  • Does Lien Baloney guckert his gannon?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 10:06  

  • Wow...they've stooped to a new low (your detractors).

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 04 August, 2005 10:21  

  • Speaking of holding people accountable, how about Blowhard O'Reailly last night claiming that AA was almost out of money and about to fold. Considering that AA is a private company, there is absolutely NO WAY he could know its financial situation. He could presume it, but instead irresponsibly presented it as fact. What a jackass.

    By Anonymous Lou, at 04 August, 2005 12:33  

  • Why the surprise at Drudge not moving on this?

    a) He's conflicted like a patient of Freud's when it comes to blogs breaking stories where he didn't lead;
    b) He's probably got stuff written into his radio contracts about talking smack against his broadcast competition;
    c) Name me ONE time he jumped on a blogswarm he didn't lead until it hit the MSM stream.

    By Blogger TC, at 04 August, 2005 12:47  

  • BTW: "lou"? They have in their possession, or through contractual negotiations, access to publicly regulated airspace. And as far as what O'Reilly may or may have known, you're walking down the same road many of the defenders of Air Idiot have taken.

    Broadcast Radio is a small guild, with an almost incestuous underpinning.

    In other words, everybody in the game knows exactly what is going on.

    By Blogger TC, at 04 August, 2005 12:53  

  • lets try something here..

    go to drudge's website and on the bottom right and you'll see a small box for text with a submit button for tips. I sent them a link to the weekly standard colum by Ed Morrisey. somebody send the ny sun story and so on.

    SEND NEWS TIPS TO DRUDGE
    [ANONYMITY GUARANTEED]


    I've heard Drudge say that, "I don't ride waves on the internet, I make them" well, with all due respect to other bloggers, it's simply silly to not realize he is still the biggest out there. If he were to just link a story he would be credited with breaking the story.

    He gets credit for "breaking" stories all the time.
    just last week, the helen thomas debacle incited by drudge was simply drudge linking to the article wrtten by a journalist from the hill.

    so let's tell 'em....

    By Blogger Nerdwallet, at 04 August, 2005 12:58  

  • this is what it will say..

    MESSAGE RECEIVED... WILL CONSIDER AND INVESTIGATE... RETURN TO DRUDGE REPORT...

    Drudge needs to get over his fear of blogs

    By Blogger Nerdwallet, at 04 August, 2005 13:02  

  • Well, I guess the NYTimes is too busy following the hot stories like investigating Judge Roberts children

    I guess the koskiddies "Jack could be gay" meme caught the attention of the editors

    By Anonymous Darleen, at 04 August, 2005 13:09  

  • Don't give 'em "plausible deniablity", dude! You're a "big dog"!

    By Blogger Josef, at 04 August, 2005 13:42  

  • While I wonder what kind of scum would consider a judicial nominee's children fair game - or come close to that - HERE is the Google News wire on Air America - http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d&q=%22Air+America%22.

    By Blogger Josef, at 04 August, 2005 13:52  

  • here's a NY times email..

    public@nytimes.com

    heres what I wrote

    Doesn't seem Fair that you haven't reported on it yet? if you're trying to appear 'objective' it's NOT working...

    By Blogger Nerdwallet, at 04 August, 2005 14:03  

  • You really shouldn't be surprised that the Times is following the story, or that they're not printing anything yet. Unlike blogs, traditional media, if they have the time and luxury, prefer to flesh out a story first, then report it. That way they don't have to keep making amendments and revisions as they figure out what the full picture is. Could you imagine if every story was reported as tentatively and as subject to revision as breaking news about disasters is reported?

    That said, the Times could, in the interim, write a short blurb saying there's an investigation into GW that involves Evan Cohen, but Air America's involvement is unclear.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 14:04  

  • does Jeff Gannon charge Lien Baloney or bareback him gratis?

    I thought Liberals had a love affair with Gays. It sounds to me like you're doing a bit of trashing here. Could it be your integrity (or lack thereof).

    By Blogger Scott, at 04 August, 2005 14:29  

  • TC,
    Access to publicly-regulated airwaves does not mean that the public has access to a private company's financial records. In fact, it's one of the competitive things that private companies hold very close to the vest.

    To say "everyone in the game knows exactly what's going on" is absurd. If it were true, O'Reilly or Limbaugh would have been the one to break this Gloria Wise/camp story. Idiot -- know thyself.

    By Anonymous lou, at 04 August, 2005 14:52  

  • The NEW YORK TIMES is looking into the adoption records of the children of Supreme Court Nominee John G. Roberts, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

    Drudge has learned it so it muuuuuust be true!

    What a useless brain fart that linked that piece of trash story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 14:55  

  • If the New York Times finally covers this, they're finished. Maybe that's what worries Times staffers most, they don't want to kill off allies.

    Are you in high school? Do you write this stuff seriously? Come on. Do you think there was some strategy meeting at the Times where they agreed they better sit on this cause if AAR goes down we're not far behind. LOL!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 15:05  

  • Number of NY Times articles mentioning Air America since March 2004: 59

    59 articles that MENTION AAR! in the past 17 months!!!!

    That's just over three mentions a month.

    Clearly the NY Times is a shill for AAR. Unbelievable. She claimed the Times had "spilled tons of adulatory ink" about AAR. 59 articles mentioning AAR in the entire paper hardly seems like tons. I wonder how many times they mention Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity?

    Number of NY Times articles mentioning the Air Enron scandal: 0

    Huh? Air Enron? So there are no stories about something Michelle Malkin made up in her head and that is supposed to say what? Or is she claiming that the Times hasn't written about Enron since March of 2004? And if that's so how does that paint the NY Times as a liberal mouthpiece?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 15:16  

  • RE: NY Times

    Do none of you remember how the NYT was a major bush ally in the runup to the Iraq War (Judith Miller's dozens of phony stories about all the WMD Saddam had)? When will you wake up and realize that while the NYT has a conservative editorial board, there remains a Chinse Wall between the opinion and news pages.

    Conservatives control both houses of congress and the executive (and the federal judiciary, in terms of GOP vs. Dem appointments), so it's a constant pity-us screed against the so-called liberal media. Why don't you do something useful with your power (remember social security?), instead of spending every waking moment bitching about the fourth estate? It's pathetic.

    By Anonymous lou, at 04 August, 2005 15:38  

  • I obviously meant to write "liberal" editorial board.

    By Anonymous lou, at 04 August, 2005 15:39  

  • Anonymous said
    Huh? Air Enron? So there are no stories about something Michelle Malkin made up in her head


    So this story isn't true, or is totally fabricated? Are these people "made up"?:
    "We're waiting for directions from the investigators on how to proceed," Air America spokeswoman Jamie Horn said this week.

    and:
    "DOI has done nothing and given no instruction preventing payment of money owed to Gloria Wise [Boys & Girls Club]. Any statements to the contrary are inaccurate," said DOI spokesman Keith Schwam.

    --You really ought to come up with a better defense then "made up", then again, you're an ignorant liberal...

    By Blogger Ace, at 04 August, 2005 15:56  

  • The Ace,

    What the fuck are you talking about?

    What does the DOI statement have to do with "Air Enron"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 16:00  

  • Oh for Christ sake. Air Enron Scandal = Air America Scandal.

    How coy!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 16:03  

  • Stick a fork in Air America, they're done. They have lost all credibility, advertises (what few they have) will be leaving in droves.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 16:06  

  • anon, yes. I'm not big on these coy little names, so I (mistakenly) were assuming you didn't think the story was true.
    apologies.

    By Blogger Ace, at 04 August, 2005 16:07  

  • So Brian, hopefully tomorrow I will figure out how to create a new email addy so I can email you, so keep your eyes open tomorrow.

    --FYI

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 16:09  

  • anon, yes. I'm not big on these coy little names, so I (mistakenly) were assuming you didn't think the story was true.
    apologies.


    No prob. The Air Enron thing went completely over my head. I suppose the "ignorant liberal" quip fit that time? I still don't think 59 articles that mention AAR over the course of the last 17 months is significant of anything. I mean it was the period of time that covered it's launch as a network and regardless of what you think of him Al Franken is a celebrity. The fact that it's been a week and the Times hasn't covered this still emerging story is not too surprising. The "facts" seem to change everyday.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 16:15  

  • FYI, I'll use my compass.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 04 August, 2005 16:28  

  • I posted some background information on AAR's financing and related problems this morning, which I haven't seen discussed anywhere else in the context of AAR's apparent liabilities with respect to the Gloria Wise situation.

    There's also some background into the relationships between some of AAR's principal backers and the connections of how they came to invest in AAR, which I added for good measure.

    By Blogger Ironman, at 04 August, 2005 16:28  

  • Well, I have to say 59 article is a heck of a lot. Esp. when the station has little to no impact (based on its ratings) on anything.
    I mean, how much would that cost in ad space in the NYT.
    I'm in DC and I don't get the Times print and refuse to read anything online you have to register for, so I have no clue what the times articles about Air America said, but I would guess they were hardly critical.
    How many articles profiling Rush does the NYT run? He's on 600 STATIONS, AA is on less than 70.
    What possibly could all the articles be saying, and what is the point of them? It seems like MASSIVE over-kill for something that it so insignificant. Given the volume of articles, you'd expect they would be one of the first on this...

    By Blogger Ace, at 04 August, 2005 16:41  

  • The Ace,

    But the nexis search finds any article that mentions Air America Radio. The thing could be about Al Franken and mention that he is involved in AAR and that would come up in the search. Anything that said "AAR went on the air today, last week etc. etc. etc. would be in there. If she had given comprable nexis hits for Rush or Savage or O'Reilly then I think she might have something. You can't assume that every mention of AAR is going to be some puff piece. 59 mentions in 500 some odd days? How about mentions in the NY Post? Another interesting comparison. But no.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 16:52  

  • I went to the link Ironman provided and read the account of how the investors of AAR took over the company from the Cohen and Sorensen, the original owners.

    Clearly the new owners were in the dark as to the shenanigans of those two crooks.

    Totally blows away this lie that Al Frankin, and the current owners of AAR are criminals. More like victims if you ask me.

    That'll be the story NYTimes prints when they research this story.

    ---------------

    The Kellys became involved in Air America in late 2003, as a result of a conversation with acquaintances at the Oakcrest tavern in Middleton. Turns out that one of the organizers of Air America was David Goodfriend, the son of Dr. Theodore Goodfriend, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In December 2003, the younger Goodfriend and Air America's then-CEO Mark Walsh visited Madison to present a pitch to the Kellys.

    The couple decided to invest "a substantial amount of money" in the venture, Terry Kelly says. Based on press accounts on Air America, the Kellys believed they were joining such celebrity investors as television producer Norman Lear and Laurie David, the wife of comedian Larry David. However, the identity of the other investors was kept secret.

    By the time Air America held a lavish kickoff party March 31, 2004, in New York City, Terry Kelly realized "something was clearly amiss" with the organization because then-chairman Evan Cohen said he "forgot the check" to pay the $85,000 bill. Cohen paid it with his American Express card, Kelly recalls.

    Within one month, Kelly received a panicked call from David Goodkind, who had become Air America's general counsel, stating the company had no money and couldn't make payroll. The network lost its affiliates in Chicago and Los Angeles because it hadn't paid for the leases.

    Kelly demanded a list of Air America investors -- Lear and David were not among them -- and the group met for the first time in New York. While Cohen and his partner, Rex Sorensen, had said they invested $12 million toward $30 million they had raised for the network, in truth, Air America had $7 million in initial investments, with little or none from Cohen and Sorensen. The investors learned that their $7 million "was gone" and the network owed another $2.5 million to creditors.

    "It was a full day of shock and anger," Kelly says.

    The vast majority of businesses would have filed for bankruptcy, but the Air America investors focused on whether it was conceivable the network could survive its quick crash, Kelly says. They agreed to make payroll and tax payments and keep the network running.

    The investors dispatched an attorney to compel Cohen and Sorensen to resign immediately and sign over their stock to the investors. The entire startup crisis was captured on an HBO documentary appearing this spring called "Left of the Dial."

    Behind the scenes Kelly does not appear in the HBO documentary but was instrumental in Air America's reorganization. He was assigned in May 2004 to lead the effort to rework Air America's finances, help raise more funds and rewrite the business plan. In June 2004, he was named chairman of the board, a post he held until late 2004.

    Kelly and the other investors started a new company, Piquant L.L.C., agreed to pay off debts, downsized the staff, settled with Cohen and Sorensen, and raised another $19.2 million in private equity. The largest investor and now chairman is Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks Inc., Seattle.

    The new business plan calls for Air America to suspend its strategy of buying radio stations and focus on selling its programs, with hosts like comedian Al Franken and comedienne Janeane Garafalo, to radio stations. Kelly led the search committee for new top executives, recruiting recording industry executive Danny Goldberg as CEO and radio syndication executive Gary Krantz as president

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 17:17  

  • The Ace,

    A search of the Times archive for the period in question finds these amongst the results.

    A June 5, 2004 correction to a business piece about a contract dispute.

    An April 5, 2005 correction to a business story that gave the wrong owners.

    A restaurant review for a Brooklyn Restaurant called The Islands whose owners it happens to mention are ardent AAR listeners.

    A book review by Thomas Frank of multiple books that happens to mention talk radio and mentions AAR.

    A May 31, 2004 business piece about AAR's shaky start and it's financing problems.

    An April 28 business piece about 2 executives leaving the company.

    That's six mentions of AAR. Those are just the ones that I could determine the nature of the reference because they were either free or the context was clear from the abstract that the archive search presents.

    That's ten percent of the 59 nexis hits that Malkin got right there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 17:28  

  • Anyone who buys a company without doing the proper due diligence and and NOT recognizing $800k in liability is not just amazingly stupid, they are also corrupt. They are corrupt, in that they received the debt and did NOTHING to repay it....until the public found out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 17:36  

  • Anyone who buys a company without doing the proper due diligence and and NOT recognizing $800k in liability is not just amazingly stupid, they are also corrupt. They are corrupt, in that they received the debt and did NOTHING to repay it....until the public found out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 17:36  

  • They are corrupt, in that they received the debt and did NOTHING to repay it....until the public found out.

    Um. The public found out, what, last week?

    AAR worked out an agreement to begin paying back the money, um, months ago.

    There's a bit of a problem with your theory.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 17:42  

  • NY TIMES NUMBERS (mentions since 3/04, according to Factiva, a Dow jones-owned competitor of Lexis-Nexis):

    Fox News: 483
    Bill O'Reilly: 109
    Rush Limbaugh: 107
    Air America: 63




    Yeah, some real liberal bias over at the Times...

    By Anonymous lou, at 04 August, 2005 17:55  

  • Fox News: 483
    Bill O'Reilly: 109
    Rush Limbaugh: 107
    Air America: 63


    Comparing the number of times particular subjects are mentioned is not an indicator of bias. You must also compare how the subjects are presented. Every NYT article I've read about Air America was nothing short of glowing. That's why the NYT's silence on the scandal is so deafening. I don't ever recall reading NYT articles on Fox News, O'Reilly, or Limbaugh that were covered positively. I would be stunned if any of the non-AA articles were positive.

    By Anonymous SheriJo, at 04 August, 2005 18:37  

  • SheriJo,

    Most of them are neither positive nor negative (although "Office Politics Give Liberal Radio a Rocky Start" is certainly negative). They are just quotes from an AA personality, or an overall radio industry story or, in one case, a wedding announcement.

    This is why Brian Maloney's citation of all those AA "stories" in the NTT is a red herring.

    By Anonymous lou, at 04 August, 2005 18:44  

  • anonymous,

    A couple of quick points that you may have missed in reading the excerpt from the article I posted:

    1) The initial pool of outside investors had to have been familiar with the full extent of AAR's liabilities when they organized the LLC to take over AAR's operations in May 2004, including the "loan" from Gloria Wise.

    2) Since the amount of the Gloria Wise liability ($900,000 at latest count) is substantial (almost 13% of the initial $7,000,000 pool of investment capital, it would be almost impossible for competent, successful business people to not be aware of it. The question for the AAR investors is "why was this obligation deferred?"

    Here we are in August 2005, and it's still not clear when AAR will begin making payments reimbursing the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club. What we know of the repayment schedule has the money being paid back over a two year period.

    To me, that's a clear sign that AAR doesn't have the cash in the bank to
    pay off it's debt in this matter, which would be the price of making the scandal go away quickly. Instead, it's an indication that AAR is weaker financially than I had previously suspected.

    You can also see this weakness when you consider that the money they'll be using to pay back the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls club is money they cannot use for other business purposes. As such, this shortage of capital will limit the options available to their management team for strengthening the business. Short of a new infusion of investment capital, I think they're in for some rough times ahead.

    By Blogger Ironman, at 04 August, 2005 18:51  

  • What a crackup. Maloney's actually begging--BEGGING--Drudge to say something about this.

    Hi-lar-ious.

    Maybe this will get to the point where Maloney and Malkin will threaten to go on a hunger strike if the NYT doesn't say something about the "scandal" RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT! That would be worth a few laughs.

    By Anonymous malrex, at 04 August, 2005 20:38  

  • Ironhead,

    Maybe I missed those two points because they aren't in the article.

    Point 1) The article says that the new owners knew about 2.5 million in debt owed by AAR, but you have no way of knowing if Gloria Wise's money was included in that total.

    In fact, recent disclosures support the opposite idea - that Piquant didn't know about this matter until much later.

    It has been reported Cohen took most of this money using a rubber stamp as authorization. In other words he stole the money. Couple that with the report that AAR needed a FORENSIC AUDIT to discover the missing money tells me that Cohen might have been a little less than forthright while doing his company's books.

    Point 2) Again, not in the article, just your conjecture.

    The Washington Times reported that the Gloria Wise's executive committee approved TWO $35,000 "loans" to Mr. Cohen plus another $167,000 for Air America. The rest of the money according to them was stolen by Cohen using his infamous rubber stamp.

    We don't know at this point how much of that total even made it to AAR. Seems like Cohen, if the break down of the three ligit loans is any indication, was ear marking a third of the money for himself. Remember, he had huge fake medical bills at the time. LOL

    It could very well be that the actual money AAR is agreeing to pay back is a much smaller figure than the figures being bandied about by Brian and other right wing biased reporters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 20:56  

  • What strange dynamics must have gone through that Republican Evan Cohen's mind when he lines up two adversaries, Microsoft and Real Networks (Rob Glaser's company), against each other and then proceeds to rip both of them off of huge sums of money.

    By Blogger WHT, at 04 August, 2005 21:14  

  • Interesting that Terry Kelly runs a weather forecasting company, got ripped off by one Republican, Evan Cohen, and then is trying to get fleeced by another Republican, Rick Santorum, who sponsored a bill to support his buddies at Kelly's competitor AccuWeather.

    By Blogger WHT, at 04 August, 2005 21:21  

  • Comparing the number of times particular subjects are mentioned is not an indicator of bias. You must also compare how the subjects are presented.

    Something, of course, Michelle Malkin neglected to do. In fact she neglected to compare the AAR citations to anything other than other AAR citations. Did you comment about that at her site? Oh, right, you can't leave comments at her site.

    Every NYT article I've read about Air America was nothing short of glowing.

    Care to cite any examples. Cause I read the Times a lot and I can't recall reading any. I'd be glad to see some if you could identify some. I guess you missed the one about how it was off to a shaky start and practically bankrupt just weeks after going on the air.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 22:02  

  • anonymous,

    I'm surprised that you have such a low opinion of the business sense of the investors behind the Piquant LLC!

    By Blogger Ironman, at 04 August, 2005 22:26  

  • Air America, the station and the few listerens, know they're in deep doo doo. Once the DOI report comes out it will be hard to ignore. This farce of a radio network, and it's black helicopter chasing hosts, are running out of money and Soros isn't going to bail out this sorry bunch of losers again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 August, 2005 22:56  

  • "WHT said...
    What strange dynamics must have gone through that Republican Evan Cohen's mind when he lines up two adversaries, Microsoft and Real Networks (Rob Glaser's company), against each other and then proceeds to rip both of them off of huge sums of money. "

    Is this the same Evan Cohen that gave maximum donations to the Kerry Campaign?

    Wasn't Kerry a Democrat?

    Aren't Bill Gates & Paul Glazer big time Dem supporters?

    By Anonymous Purple Raider, at 04 August, 2005 23:24  

  • Awesome link & post, Ironman.

    To pick up on the 59-article dispute: those I've heard from who read the NYT coverage describe the AAR coverage as not way-over-the-top, but think it's definitely a chronicle; they say every significant milestone faced by Air America over its history, positive and negative, has been chronicled. That leads me to two questions:

    1. Why not similar treatment for the rest of talk radio? What makes AAR the sole beneficiary of this treatment? (Thx Ace :)

    2. Why no mention of this new problem in the "chronicle"? (Or is it "too soon" to report anything?) The Post, Sun and WashTimes - who boast error/correction rates no worse than the NYT - nor any Jayson Blairs to the best of our knowledge - seem to be doing just fine reporting the story.

    A defender said the following: You really shouldn't be surprised that the Times is following the story, or that they're not printing anything yet.

    Indeed. Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Could you imagine if every story was reported as tentatively and as subject to revision as breaking news about disasters is reported?

    Used to feel the same way, until archives like Malkin's and Kohn's shed the light of day on the colossal number of the Times's inaccuracies over the years, and their failure to correct far too many of them. Nor is the Times shy about reporting a breaking "disaster" they really want to cover; can you imagine if they had waited on Abu Ghraib, Halliburton, or the Bush National Guard memo story until "all of the facts" were in?

    By Blogger RD, at 04 August, 2005 23:34  

  • Malrex, you're glorifying the double standard in the mainstream media with your comments. If there wasn't such a double standard - and if you weren't relying on it for humor - I might be laughing with you.

    A question you're dismissing in your enthusiasm is, why has the Times reported on charities embezzling money from poor children and old people in the past as soon as those stories came to light, but not now?

    By Blogger RD, at 04 August, 2005 23:38  

  • Couple that with the report that AAR needed a FORENSIC AUDIT

    Why Piquant, LLC didn't order such an audit BEFORE they "bought the company" - when Cohen's bounced check(s) and other missing money gave the financial officers involved more than enough evidence that massive financial fraud was involved - is a question they still need to answer for.

    By Blogger RD, at 04 August, 2005 23:41  

  • Another thing on the 59 stories: I had to laugh at the free plug AA got in the restaurant review (revealed by the Nexis search posted above). Not that it wasn't authentic or heartfelt...

    How long has it been since a similar "soft-news" review in the Times has casually mentioned a club owner's Rush, Hannity or Boortz habit as if it was no big deal? To pick up on what SheriJo said:

    The Times doesn't have to sing the praises of Air America in order create a positive storyline. If they are chronicling the network's ups & downs - thus conflating it with REAL personal-interest news - they can ascribe positive motives, intentions, behaviors, etc. by default. (I allege that's a form of positive coverage.) When was the last time they did that for a Rush or Hannity talk show?

    They get credit for mentioning the reorg/bailout, but nothing sleazy, guilty or conspiratorial was reported that affected anyone outside of Air America or their investors (like innocent children or Alzheimer's patients for instance).

    That this story is the first that really puts their bias to the test - and that, at last count, the NYT is flunking in stellar and predictable fashion - hints that the the accusation is valid: like Sherlock Holmes' dog that doesn't bark (when the culprit walks by), the NYT won't bark - and *refuses* to bark - even though the culprit is standing on its tail and crushing it.

    By Blogger RD, at 05 August, 2005 00:17  

  • Would someone just call Art Bell... He'll get to the bottom of this cover up.

    By Anonymous Stu Padasso, at 05 August, 2005 00:39  

  • RD said "Why Piquant, LLC didn't order such an audit BEFORE they "bought the company" - when Cohen's bounced check(s) and other missing money gave the financial officers involved more than enough evidence that massive financial fraud was involved - is a question they still need to answer for."

    -----------

    A forensic audit is an investigation that takes weeks if not months to complete.

    My brother, who works Pricewaterhouse Coopers, says Forensic accountants are not only accountants but they're detectives and a forensic audit isn't anything like a normal audit.

    Actually, it's pretty interesting what these detective CPAs do - make a good TV show.

    Anyway ...

    The investors had a choice the day they learned they were lied to. Take over the Company immediately or let Air America die.

    This isn't a business like a hardware store that could have potentially closed shop while an orderly takeover was conducted. They had to take this thing over on the fly.

    Under those circumstances the investors didn't have time to know all the underlying problems when they took over.

    ------------

    Also, on an earlier post you mentioned Sarbanes-Oxley making the new company officers responcible regardless of whether they were directly responcible for the crime.

    First - Sarbanes-Oxley applies to publicly traded companies only. Piquant is a privately held company.

    Also, it's clear from reading Ironhead's linked article that the people who took over the company had no officer statis before the takeover - they were investors.

    We also learn from the article that almost immediately new officers for the company were recruited -

    "Kelly led the search committee for new top executives, recruiting recording industry executive Danny Goldberg as CEO and radio syndication executive Gary Krantz as president."

    So even if Sarbanes-Oxley was in play no one would be in trouble because the new management did everything that would be expected of them - order a lengthy and expensive forensic audit, then after a problem was discovered made an agreement with Gloria Wise to repay the money.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 August, 2005 08:32  

  • RD,

    Your comments about the Times coverage of AAR would hold some water if Malkin had bothered to list the MENTIONS of Rush Limbaugh or Hannity. She did not. Her entire point was that 59 nexis hits over 17 months represents an inordinate amount of coverage. Yet she could just as easily have done a search for those other personalities but didn't. No one has any idea what kind of stories were written about Rush or Hannity or any other conservatives because no one bothered to check. Due diligence for sure. Do you think there was a paper wide conspiracy to get mention of AAR in a restaurant review? Good God. Take off the tinfoil hat friend. Why con't you just admit Malkin took a cheap shot at the Times and that's all it was?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 August, 2005 09:12  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Ironman, at 05 August, 2005 09:29  

  • anonymous is correct with respect to Sarbanes-Oxley - it doesn't apply to privately held companies.

    anonymous is partially correct with regards to the role of the investors in managing the company. While out-of-the-loop while Cohen and Sorenson were running AAR, they still qualify as owners and would have some liability risks associated with AAR's mismanagement in that period. After ousting Cohen and Sorenson, they assumed direct control and management of the company (Progress and later Piquant), and would therefore have full liability for decisions made at both companies.

    The question really is one of what did they know, and when did they know it? They would have initiated the forensic audit activity beginning in April 2004, since they would need the information from it to structure the Piquant LLC (particularly with regard to AAR's liabilities.) Given the size of the Gloria Wise liability relative to the total debt of AAR at the time, it's hard to believe that competent accountants couldn't have found it in short order.

    Regardless, the question of why they waited until yesterday to make any payments, even more than a year after taking direct control of AAR and having discovered the liability (months ago according the reports), is a question that still needs to be answered.

    By Blogger Ironman, at 05 August, 2005 09:38  

  • kudos to all of you for the background on this, impressive.
    My lingering thought is this:
    Why would a not for profit organization make a loan to a private business? I have worked in the non-profit field before, having extra cash on hands for 'loans' really wasn't ever discussed that I'm aware. Further, this organization was getting funds from the city, and almost had to close (although I will admit the reason for that isn't clear to me at this time), so why are they giving out loans to a radio station (I'm not talking about what Cohen stole, the 167K loan to AA)? Doesn't that in itself seem odd? Not to mention that the improper use of government grants is likely...

    By Blogger Ace, at 05 August, 2005 09:43  

  • Slight correction to what I last posted - Piquant still hasn't made any payments back to Gloria Wise, they're only now making arrangements to make payments....

    By Blogger Ironman, at 05 August, 2005 09:59  

  • From the NY Sun article linked above;

    An employee of Air America, who requested anonymity, said yesterday that it received a letter from the city Department of Investigation recommending that the network set up an attorney-managed escrow account for the payments, rather than pay Gloria Wise directly or wait until the department's investigation concludes. The employee said the network made its first payment, of an unknown amount, yesterday.

    But I thought the Sun reported a few days ago that the DOI said that they had nothing to do with AAR not paying back the money? AAR said it was awaiting instruction from the DOI. It now appears to have received instruction from the DOI. I've commented several times that it didn't seem to make sense that AAR should be writing checks to an organization that is the subject of an ongoing investigation as many here, including the host, seemed to think appropriate. Why haven't you started repaying the money was asked several times. Well apparently we now have our answer. Lord knows the crowing that would be going on if AAR said they had returned the money to Gloria Wise and didn't know what had happened to it from there.

    "Or wait until the DOI's investigation concludes". What a sensible idea. But what do I know? I'm just an evil liberal here to make Brian Maloney cry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 August, 2005 10:00  

  • "Or wait until the DOI's investigation concludes". What a sensible idea.

    Well, which is it? The investigation has NOT concluded, yet they made a payment.

    Also, RECOMENDING escrow, is likely because AA agreed to make the payments OVER 2 YEARS without interest.
    So your point is kind of moot. The investigation isn't over, yet they are paying, which you said they shouldn't do, until the investigation is over....

    By Blogger Ace, at 05 August, 2005 10:14  

  • I meant to include the entire quote about the escrow account in that last comment.

    Who says that the payment was not made into escrow as the DOI suggested. That was my point. AAR said it was awaiting instruction from the DOI. They never said the DOI told them not to pay. The DOI has given its instructions. It recommended an escrow account rather than straight payments. Do you have some evidence that AAR made a payment directly to Gloria Wise and not into escrow?

    Also, RECOMENDING escrow, is likely because AA agreed to make the payments OVER 2 YEARS without interest.

    Huh? Is it not uncommon in financial disputes, like rent disputes for example, for the disputed funds to be deposited into escrow until the matter is legally resolved. It keeps the money out of Gloria Wise's hands. Why would the DOI allow AAR to make cash payment to an organization it is investigating for financial misdealings?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 August, 2005 10:53  

  • Anonymous, thanks for the coherent post. It's refreshing :)

    [Anonymous] Your comments about the Times coverage of AAR would hold some water if Malkin had bothered to list the MENTIONS of Rush Limbaugh or Hannity. She did not.

    A point holds water if it's true, plausible or inferrable from fact or shared premises (among others) - not if Michelle Malkin mentions it. We both agree she didn't cover Rush or Hannity in her latest post, or qualify the "59 hits" with additional detail, but what does that matter?

    Her entire point was that 59 nexis hits over 17 months represents an inordinate amount of coverage.

    Not true. Reread the post. The point you're misunderstanding was, 0 (zero) hits for the current flap represents an inordinately SMALL amount of coverage given that "59 hits" proves - at the very least - the Times is willing to mention & cover AAR, AND given that they've not remained silent over other scandals in talk radio in the past.

    Yet she could just as easily have done a search for those other personalities but didn't.

    Malkin's covered this (and linked to others with more in-depth coverage) in the past, before the GW scandal broke - not here. Only you have pivoted this issue over one article, and it's dishonest.

    No one has any idea what kind of stories were written about Rush or Hannity or any other conservatives because no one bothered to check.

    Preposterous.

    Do you think there was a paper wide conspiracy to get mention of AAR in a restaurant review? Good God.

    Equally preposterous. That you would infer something wild like this from what I said shows just how little either you - or the ignorant readers you're playing to - really understand about how media bias is [allegedly] introduced.

    Take off the tinfoil hat friend. Why con't [don't or can't?] you just admit Malkin took a cheap shot at the Times and that's all it was?

    Doing that is a mistake because it rules out that (1) the NYT exhibits media bias as a matter of routine (litany of documented evidence still not credibly refuted - we're waiting); that (2) such bias may have affected Air America's reporting overall (highly plausible); (3) it may have affected this issue specifically (plausible); AND (4) Malkin judged accurately.

    Does that answer your question? :)

    By Blogger RD, at 12 August, 2005 16:41  

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