The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 October 2005

A Soft Cotton Puffball


As Book Tour Kicks Off, Expect Little Else

As his The Truth (With Jokes) promotional tour gets underway, Al Franken must be feeling at least some unease.

Me TooAfter all, the book's timing isn't exactly red hot, coming just after revelations of questionable dealings and practices at Air America Radio. Since its inception, Franken has served as the liberal talk network's marquee talent.

Since our investigative report uncovered proof Franken knew about shady taxpayer-funded "loans" from the Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club to the liberal radio network, contrary to Al's public assertions, he's avoided the topic. That might be tougher out on the road.

So what's a multimillionaire corporate sleaze-excusing hypocrite book author to do?

Perhaps he should call on Fluffy, star of the CBC Kids series "Me Too":

In each show, the young child hero of the day explores and discovers the world with the help of supportive parents, peers and a special magical friend named Fluffy, the soft cotton puffball. And as the children on Me Too confront and creatively resolve typical childhood issues, child viewers learn important skills and strategies to use in their own lives.

Yes, Fluffy could help Al come to terms with his overt intellectual dishonesty regarding Air America's activities, performance and prospects.

Unfortunately, the Radio Equalizer suspects this soft cotton fluffball is instead already being used for evil purposes, namely to insure interviewers ask only "Fluffy" questions of the onetime Saturday Night Live performer.

How else can this kink of softball piece (from national campus organization Hillel), typical of what we're seeing elsewhere, be explained:

(Q): So how's it been going in the past 18 months that you've been on the air?

(Franken): We had a shock right at the beginning when the guy who first ran Air America sort of led everyone to believe there was more financing than there was. He led us to believe that we had three years of capital to go through before we had to make a profit, which is what new businesses usually have to do. We didn't have three years, we had three weeks. So after three weeks we lost Los Angeles, we lost Chicago. It was very dicey there.

Basically, we barely hung on. Now it's much better, but it slowed things down. It was hard, obviously, to get affiliates to our network if they thought the network wasn't going to be around another day. But now we have 70 affiliates, about 63 percent of the country.

How does Franken still get away with this tired spin, without follow-up questions on Gloria Wise, or any of Air America's questionable actions, time and again?

Just thank Fluffy's "Me Too" media herd mentality. Nice to have a friend like that around when you need him, isn't it?

For Al, it's not that he'll ever face tough press questioning. Instead, book signings could attract people looking for answers. Some of his oversized entourage may be charged with the task of truth supression, making The Truth (With Jokes) an especially ironic volume.

With the book's release just days away, this is going to be fascinating to watch.

In other Franken-related news, Maine Governor John Baldacci is still facing heat for introducing him at Bowdoin College two weeks ago. Evan S Cohn of the Bowdoin Orient asked the guv about it:

Evan S Kohn: Bowdoin students saw you a few weeks ago introducing Al Franken at Bowdoin. How would you respond to criticism regarding your appearance with an arguably controversial figure like Al Franken.

Gov. John Baldacci: (Laughter) Well, you know...look, I don't defend Al Franken and Al Franken doesn't defend me. You know, I represent myself, and I just thought it was a great turnout there and I thought there was a lot of enthusiasm there. I think if there are those attempts to undercut that kind of support and say that people were being divisive...I don't think so. I think people appreciate free speech and recognize that people have fought and sacrificed their lives so we can say and do what we want to do. Those are our freedoms and liberties, so he has a right to his opinion and I have a right to mine.

And the Washington Post, so far avoiding the Gloria Wise scandal, has created a huge stir with this tidbit from Paul Farhi:

Air America, the liberal talk network carried on WWRC-AM (1260), went from bad to nonexistent. After WWRC recorded a mere fraction of a rating point in the spring with syndicated shows from the likes of lefty talkers Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo and Stephanie Miller, Arbitron couldn't detect a measurable listenership for the station this time around.

Coverage has been extensive, not just at conservative sites, but at media and trade publications as well. If only they knew the whole story.

North Korea's keeping tabs on American radio hosts working to train Iraqi counterparts. Not a joke.

From the Middletown Times Herald-Record:

From stand-up to book stands, two comedians turned authors will appear at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St. in NYC, this week.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, left-field commentator Al Franken will read from "The Truth (With Jokes)," touching on the last election, Terri Schiavo, Tom DeLay and other politically charged issues. Here's a taste:

"From what I understand, if you cut out all the passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the poor, about helping out the least among us, you'd have the perfect container to smuggle Rush Limbaugh's drugs in."

Less loathed, yet almost as aggressively opinionated, comedian Margaret Cho will appear at 7 p.m. Thursday, to read from her book "I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight."
Call 212-253-0810.

Cho's catching up to Franken pretty quickly on the loathsome scale, it seems. Ask Michelle Malkin about that one.

More squishy middle-of-the-road nonsense from AAR's Marc Maron. Who?

Here it is, maybe it makes sense to Marin County types:

"I'm not a wonky person and on my show I talk about nuances on politics," he says. "But when I perform, I talk about myself in relation to politics, more ruminations of politics. I like to try to figure things out."

Ann Coulter doesn't go anywhere quietly. Here's the latest.

Can liberals and conservatives at least agree on this? Ryan Seacrest subbing for Larry King is a sad joke.

Your Amazon orders that originate with clicks here, regardless of your final purchases, help to support this site's efforts. Thanks!

Fluffy graphic:, Franken/AAR scandal: Darleen Click. Softballs: David A Lunde


  • While you throw stones Brian, you may want to get your own house in order. Please make a correction to your innacurate Springer ratings post. I know you were just reprinting the NY Post, but that doesn't make it any less wrong.

    By Blogger Justin, at 21 October, 2005 16:33  

  • Justin, it's not inaccurate, Mainelli is talking about AAR ratings in that time slot versus what ran there a year ago.

    Franken was there, Springer wasn't. The point is that AAR is down in NYC and that's a key time period.

    Springer's turning out to be one of AAR's worst performers, Franken is still their top dog in a low-rated group.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 21 October, 2005 19:43  

  • Maybe that is your interpretation Justin, but that is not what Manelli actually said. Read again:

    "The New York Post's John Mainelli reports Air America's WLIB/New York midday hosts Jerry Springer and Al Franken have dropped 35% from year-ago levels, based on brand new Arbitron ratings."

    Not that the "time period" has dropped, but that the hosts have. Be responsible and issue a correction.

    By Blogger Justin, at 21 October, 2005 21:04  

  • Looks like it's the New York Post that needs to change it's statement.

    Considering, Justin, that I showed you the story and you're still after this...I believe that you're here to do nothing more than to act like a whiny, complaining whore.

    Until the NYPost changes their statement, Brian is able to keep his.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 21 October, 2005 22:08  

  • Franken slayed on Letterman tonight.

    David also called Evan Cohen a piece of shite, I think. Hard to tell really as whatever he called him, it got bleeped out in the broadcast.

    By Blogger WHT, at 22 October, 2005 00:59  

  • Thanks for the Marc Maron link. I would love to see his stage act. He creates a great angst-ridden personna on the radio.

    By Blogger WHT, at 22 October, 2005 01:10  

  • Sailor,

    All you did was re-show me the story that Brian originally reprinted. He ALREADY had said it was from the NY Post -- so you really did nothing but be repititious (congrats for being able to copy and paste).
    As for pursuing this: I am now done, as I also am done with this blog. I noticed something factually innacurate, pointed it out and Brian was unwilling to remove/ammend it. He needn't wait to the NY Post, when the innacuracy is so glaring.
    goodbye all, it was fun (btw: AAR ratings for Seattle are are, ratings for Miami are down -- someday soon Brian will address how the network had a mostly positive summer book).

    By Blogger Justin, at 22 October, 2005 08:18  

  • Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    And again, unless the source material changes, Brian has no need to change it.

    It's a matter of fact.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 22 October, 2005 14:33  

  • Nearly 4 weeks ago this blog was getting over four thousand hits a day. Then I decided to put the hammer down. In one 8 minute segment of my daily, three hour, nationally syndicated and highly successful radio program I was able to discredit the proprietor of this blog to the extent that 4 weeks later he has lost an average of 2500 blog hits a day. Subsequent to the presentation of that segment, I posted elements of my comments on this blog over the course of several different days and manners. I publicly humiliated the owner of this blog, on his very own blog. He has had no response. No public response that is.

    Since that time several weeks ago, Brian Maloney has been sending me emails, under a “semi- anounoumous” (sic) address, which among other things, announce, as if a threat, that he would “never write about” me, unless I debate him on the Majority Report about “your slanderous remarks concerning the manner in which I was referred to in Time Magazine.”

    Brian, I realize that posting this on your blog opens me to criticism that I may actually want to “appear” on your blog, but it is worth subjecting myself to that criticism for the opportunity to embarrass you this way and it gives me the chance to say…

    Stop. Emailing. Me.

    By Blogger samseder, at 23 October, 2005 02:19  

  • Sam says that blog traffic is down quite a bit here. Jeez, if you took away readers like myself and some of the other listeners of Majority Report I imagine it would be down even further. But then again what do ratings matter? If something is as sublimely funny (intentional or not) as this this site, it is going to get its share of gawkers. I would classify this as a kind of "outsider music" (google) of blogs.

    By Blogger WHT, at 23 October, 2005 13:29  

  • Well, now that the air has been cleared and we know that samseder is a fake (and WHT works for AAR as a carrier pigeon), we can get to kicking some ass outta here.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 23 October, 2005 23:23  

  • I get more hits than Ponder that for a second.

    As for our host, he had a big traffic spike because of the scandal, but that naturally falls off. However, it appears to be more than before the scandal. And, it would probably be more if he fixed the various technical-blogging problems this site has.

    And, if Sam Seder isn't the real Sam, then someone should inform the real one of that in case he wants to take legal action of some kind.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 24 October, 2005 02:42  

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