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.
After 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."
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.
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Fluffy graphic: CBC.ca, Franken/AAR scandal: Darleen Click. Softballs: David A Lunde