The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 August 2005

Networks Oddly Absent With Katrina Coverage

Soaps, Trivia, Cooking Tips?

Broadcast Networks Have Odd Priorities Today

Why haven't the broadcast networks been going wall-to-wall today with Katrina coverage?

It's a perplexing question that baffles the Radio Equalizer.

Sure, there were plenty of early morning updates, but at 9am it was abruptly cut off for a return to normal programming.

Say what you want about Pat Robertson, but his 700 Club had superb Katrina coverage, while Regis and Kelly were doing trivia segments.

What's going on here?

Perhaps for NBC the issue is in not competing with its cable news channels, which is almost, but not-quite understandable.

What about the others? With good chunks of several states wiped right off the map, is it really a day to run soaps, game shows, or NBC's "guilt-free comfort food" morning show segment?

Does anyone really care about such petty matters today?

Even worse, NBC had the nerve to run a story on the eighth anniversary of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed's deaths. It just seemed sickening to discuss this today, as thousands in our own country may have met horrible fates.

Apparently, two foreigners who died eight years ago in a Paris car crash are more important than large numbers of not-so-famous Americans, swept to their deaths.

I kept waiting for one of the hosts to walk off the set in disgust, but they truly had no shame.

Even last night, I wondered why Jay Leno and David Letterman were seen in their normal times, rather than special hurricane programming. For once, ABC's Nightline had my full attention.

Have the networks simply ceded all news authority to cable news channels? If so, why?

When did they throw in the towel on huge stories?

It sure seems like Americans are heavily interested the latest developments, so what's the problem?

--- Also: more on
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s bizarre Katrina conspiracy theories from the Huffington Post.

--- Editor & Publisher gets into the moonbat blame-Bush routine as well.

--- New Orleans radio stations are moving to Baton Rouge.

--- Times-Picayune online here.

--- Refugees moving to Houston's Astrodome.

--- Cindy Sheehan even more unhinged on Bush, oil prices and Katrina.

--- Gas shortages and long lines in North Carolina.

--- New All Access (radio and recording industry trade publication) scoop:

In the category of "timing is everything" comes word that among the lawsuits filed by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) against another batch of file-swappers are some against individuals living in NEW ORLEANS.

The latest round of "John Doe" suits against 754 individuals across the country are targeting swappers who traded copyrighted music files through systems like GROKSTER, KAZAA, and LIMEWIRE, and follow 156 suits against named defendants filed earlier this month.


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30 August 2005

From Loma Prieta To Hurricane Katrina

What Katrina Reveals

Moonbat Evolution, Insensitivity, Silly News Coverage

While lefties probably aren't going to win support blaming Bush for Hurricane Katrina's extensive damage, it does show how much their movement has changed since 1989.

Why 1989? That's when the magnitude-7.1 Loma Prieta Earthquake hit California's Central Coast, while another Bush was in the White House.

I was just a few miles from the quake's epicenter in Santa Cruz County. As with Katrina's news coverage so far, it took several days for the outside world to discover the real extent of the area's damage.

All access to the region had been cut off, so television coverage at first dwelled on San Francisco and Oakland, 75 miles away. It was some time before the national media was able to get in to see the mess Santa Cruz had become.

There's nothing wrong with an initial news media focus on individual survival stories, but we need a better sense of Katrina's big picture as soon as it's available. That should include the selfless efforts of so many to help its victims, not just looters and prison rioters.

Bush vs. Bush

Comparing the left's 1989 and 2005 responses truly underscores the unraveling of their ideological movement.

In the past day, "progressives" have been quick to blame President George W Bush for Katrina's wrath. Citing program "cuts" and leveling a variety of charges, they'd obviously like to see a political price paid (see links in first paragraph).

It doesn't get angrier, or go lower than that, does it?

So far, it's backfiring, merely providing easy conservative fodder.

In 1989, it was a far different story when George H W Bush visited Santa Cruz to view the city center's destruction.

Despite the area's ultraliberal reputation, only a few protestors waved signs, as his motorcade traveled one of the few clear streets. I was there to see it.

Nobody paid attention to the handful of soreheads, instead cheering the President's arrival. Watching Governor George Deukmejian, a conservative Republican, teamed with Bush and local "progressive" leaders, made quite an impression.

Their message: that partisan politics have no place here, it's about rescuing survivors, surveying damage and rebuilding the city.

It never occurred to anybody in 1989, including the myriad of leftist groups with offices in Downtown Santa Cruz, that President Bush could immediately be blamed for any aspect of the earthquake and the government's subsequent response.

Only later did some inevitable grievances emerge over FEMA's notorious bureaucracy, but it wasn't associated with ideology or partisan causes.

The "progressive" movement in 1989 may have been just as misguided, but leftists knew better than to move into such silly territory.
While tending to matters much more important than politics, I believe they understood the need for at least temporary unity.

What a difference 16 years can make for a fading political movement.

Local News Coverage Stinks

Hate to say it, but local Katrina coverage has become embarrassing.

The intense focus on the hurricane's gas price impact, to when its minor remnants will reach the northeast region, is horribly misplaced.

Sure, area TV news outlets always need their "local" angles, but sometimes they must simply focus on the story itself, no matter how far away.

I don't care if gas prices are heading up another twenty cents per gallon, there are people who still need to be rescued. Are we really that selfish?

Boston's FOX-25 did a lengthy segment on a station that jacked prices into the $3.40 range overnight. But it was the exception, not the rule and most drivers were taking off as soon as they recognized the gouging attempt.

Just a few minutes into the 10pm newscast, the station then reverted back to petty, irrelevant local stories. Who cares?

And it really doesn't matter if it brings a little bit of rain here on Thursday, we already had five inches today, anyway. After what the Gulf region has endured, why should we worry about a few upcoming sprinkles?

People in New Orleans aren't safe, even in shelters, from which they now face evacuation.

Local news outlets need to get their priorities in order, quickly.

--- Something else: why did the broadcast networks primarily stick with regular primetime programming Tuesday? Sitcoms and reality shows seemed out of place in these circumstances.

--- Bloggers jumped into action immediately Monday, bringing their own details, perspectives and providing help whenever possible. Some to check out: Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs (especially good moonbat coverage), Instapundit (partly affected by the outages, now back with a roundup of relief efforts), Captain's Quarters, Power Line (back up after hurricane server damage), RedStateRant and many others.

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Conservative Sneaks Inside Cindy's Circus


Inside Camp Casey, Cindy Sandwich, Sharpton's 110MPH!

What really goes on inside Cindy Sheehan's Crawford camp?

Is it really about grassroots activists joining together, or has she merely been used by political operatives in Ben Cohen's San Francisco-based nonprofit?

Friday's Rusty Humphries show (where I filled in as host), featured Curtis Loftis, a conservative activist who managed to get direct access to nearly everyone in Sheehan's group, merely by blending in.

Loftis followed up with an exclusive account of his experiences for the Radio Equalizer:

Two Days in Camp Casey:

A Conservative's Belly-of-the-Beast Odyssey

By Curtis Loftis

On a
hot and dry mid-afternoon, I arrived at Camp Casey, where the assembled demonstrators seemed in somewhat of a melancholy state.

Stressing cocktail conversation, not political discussion, I quickly made friends. My goal was not confrontation, but a desire to understand what was actually happening here in Crawford.

Going incognito was the only way pull it off.

After getting to know several nice women from California's Central Coast, I drove with my new friends to the larger, tented camp with Ms. Sheehan and Company.

There I found a well-funded and orchestrated public relations campaign, run by media professionals, complete with the highest-quality electronic equipment.

From satellite trucks and cell phones to wireless computer access, every modern convenience to enhance the “message” was found in this remote part of Texas.

It was all there for the gathered left-wing, socialist and
self-described marxist media representatives.

Everyone had a purpose and the environment was collegial. Ruthlessly enforced were rules banning drinking and regulating behavior.

Straying from the predetermined message meant an early exit from the facility. Handmade signs were monitored, less they distract from it.

Most of Sheehan's protesters were either professional, working for Fenton Communications, Code Pink, or other groups. Many were longtime protesters, with radical activism dating to 1965, or earlier.

In conversations with about 50 people over 48 hours, all seemed interesting and engaging. We talked sports, cars, of wonderful California and just about everything that could be discussed, without divulging my ideology.

But when political topics did arise, no matter what the issue, they all responded the same way: it's America's fault.

Toward the end, I decided to innocently toss out different issues just to garner a response.

One issue: peasant unrest in rural China, with the brutality shown by the government and their hired thugs. Their response: that America has mistreated its black citizens, or that gays are beaten here everyday.

So the hate America” crowd really does exist, intellectually bulimic, having ingested all of this bile.
As a show of steadfastness to their peace-and-love cause, they looked forward to regurgitating it.

In an
air-conditioned trailer, Cindy Sheehan spent most of the time huddled with VIPs. When she did venture out, it was for scripted and televised moments. Always trailed by her media people, they were quick to keep her on point.

During one conversation with Sheehan, I asked how much time she would actually be spending on the bus tour to Washington. I discovered she would be on it for just two days and away speechmaking during the rest of the time. I wondered if they were paid engagements.

A media handler then grabbed her arm, leading her back to the trailer and away from me.

Their message was protected.

I was left standing there and feeling less secure about my status at Camp Casey. But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling and performing for the cameras.

Like the carnival chicken that plays tic-tac-toe, Cindy Sheehan eagerly performs for any microphone put in front of her.

She is relentless, professional, well-financed and always on message: all bad things are America's fault.

--- At RightWingNuthouse: Where are all the protestors? (Tip: Tom at BizzyBlog)

--- Update: FOX News reporting Al Sharpton's speeding car doing 110mph leaving Crawford speech.

A nine-mile police chase ensued:

CRAWFORD, Texas — A driver for the Rev. Al Sharpton (search) led Ellis County Sheriff's deputies on a nine-mile chase at speeds up to 110 mph before state troopers stopped the car, authorities said.

The driver was rushing Sharpton to the airport after his visit anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan (search) on Sunday at her camp outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford.

The car carrying Sharpton and two other passengers was clocked doing 110 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 35 in Ellis County in North Texas, said Lt. Danny Williams.

The car ignored deputies' attempts to stop it and continued speeding and weaving in and out of traffic before it was stopped, Williams said.

--- Speaking of Rev. Sharpton, whatever happened to his radio talk show? It was supposed to be in national syndication by now. Haven't heard a word in three months.

--- Sheehan eBay item (tip: Pete at IHillary). Note image of Cindy Sheehan on top slice.

Nobody seems to be bidding.

(Image at left)

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28 August 2005

Conservative Group's Impact On Debate

Monitoring Crawford

Crowd Counts Vary, Leading Evening News

As certain as Halloween candy on late-August grocery shelves, obtaining honest, accurate details from the mainstream media on events in Crawford, Texas, hasn't proven easy.

Move America Forward's pro-American counter-demonstration against Cindy Sheehan's Ben Cohen-funded political stunt is being characterized in many ways, but thankfully not ignored by the media.

It led local newscasts here and there are now a number of stories available online, ready for Sunday's editions.

Before we examine the "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy!" caravan's media coverage, here's how I see its significance:

--- In recent memory, has a successful political force ever been built this quickly?
For its fresh energy on hot-button issues, Move America Forward now consistently generates headlines.

--- Is it a model for future activist movements? Combining California's top GOP strategists with a highly-rated San Francisco talk host, put the battle plans together with the megaphone, in a highly successful combination. It's a shot in the arm for conservatives.

--- If MAF hadn't organized the caravan, would any group have ever stepped forward to counter Cindy's circus? It's distressing that her media stunt continued that long without a well-organized response.

--- It also provides a blueprint for saving talk radio from oblivion, where it's now rapidly headed. Listeners like their favorite talk stations to take an active role on major issues. Floundering outlets should take note.

Initially, mainstream media reports on MAF's Saturday arrival and rally were hard to come by, but by evening there were a good number filed.

How many caravan supporters reached Crawford? Numbers vary, from hundreds to thousands.

From KGO-7's Mark Matthews:

The protests have been going on at either end of this little town.

Crawford is a town of about 700 people, but there are about 3,000 people present. To one side you can see a small contingent of supporters of Cindy Sheehan in the actual spot where she began her protest weeks ago.

On the other side, supporters of the President, supporters of the war in Iraq. These are two smaller representations of much larger rallies that were happening earlier Saturday.

The "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" caravan that started in San Francisco earlier this week came to rest at the Crawford Community Center Saturday afternoon. The group is led by Roseville mother Deborah Johns. Her son has served two tours in Iraq. She says Cindy Sheehans' opposition to the war doesn't represent the feelings of most military families.

Deborah Johns, caravan leader: "The majority finally, someone is getting up to speak for the majority. And we're not going to be silent any longer."

A crowd of more than a 1,000 joined Johns and several Gold Star families whose sons have been killed in Iraq.

From the AP:

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Several thousand people descended on President Bush's adopted hometown Saturday, most in a cross-country caravan for a pro-Bush rally and others to support an anti-war demonstration led by grieving mother Cindy Sheehan.

Bush supporters gathered for an event marking the culmination of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" tour, which started last week in California. The crowd of about 1,500 chanted, "Cindy, go home!"

"You are giving hope and encouragement to the enemies of America," said former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, a Republican who co-founded the group that coordinated the rally.

From Lisa Sandberg of the San Antonio News-Express:

Thousands of Bush supporters descended on this small town this afternoon for a rally aimed at countering the three-week anti-war vigil led by California mom Cindy Sheehan.

Waving American flags and chanting “Cindy Go Home,” a caravan of Bush backers drove into town around noon to show their support for the U.S. war in Iraq.

The town's police chief estimated the crowds on both sides of the divide at about 8,000.

“It's the biggest one yet -- ever,” Chief Donnie Tidmore said. “The (Bush supporters) maybe outnumber the other side but it's close.”

He added that there were a few minor flare ups and several people treated for heat exhaustion but nothing serious.

From Canada's CTV Network:

Pro-Bush supporters picket in downtown Crawford, Texas on Saturday.  Pro-Bush supporters picket in downtown Crawford, Texas on Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Thousands of people gathered in Crawford, Texas on Saturday to show either their support for the war in Iraq or their opposition to it.

Most of the visitors to Crawford, the town nearest the ranch of U.S. President George Bush, attended a rally supporting U.S. involvement in Iraq.

The town was the final stop of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!", which got underway in California last week.

Some of the best updates are found at this Free Republic thread.

Meanwhile, still no word on what type of jet brought Air America's Randi Rhodes to Texas, we sure hope she didn't have to resort to flying coach with the "little people".

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27 August 2005

Friday Update

Weekend Updates

Sheehan Circus Exposed, Conservative Infiltrates Camp

Here's what to expect this weekend at the Radio Equalizer:

--- I'm filling in again tonight (Friday) for Talk Radio Network's Rusty Humphries, 9pm-mid EDT. We'll have updates on Move America Forward's "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" Tour and the rest of the day's news.

--- Michelle Malkin and I continue to work on the latest Air America scandal news. We're researching some major developments now. Watch here for updates.

--- Meanwhile, Michelle has a roundup of today's Air America scandal stories here. She reports Air America's Randi Rhodes did find her way to Crawford after all, what type of jet used to get there is unknown.

--- The New York Sun has an update on the search for former Air America head Evan Cohen. Don't know why Multicultural's lawyers would think he's in the Bay State, Michelle has clearly established that he's in Hawaii.

My problem with the story is that it places the focus on Cohen, when it needs to remain with the current management and board. That's where Air America's problems remain.

--- Liberal host Stephanie Miller claims Pat Robertson's comments didn't get enough media attention.

--- Monthly ratings are out for major cities, we'll be talking a look at the highlights.

--- Page Six says CNN has no business picking a fight with FOX over quality, when Larry King's busy asking Pamela Anderson about her implants.

--- Radio commentator Paul Harvey, 86, apparently confused Pat Robertson with Jerry Falwell, prompting ABC to issue an emergency "kill" order (ironic, isn't it?) to make sure stations didn't air the broadcast. Feder of Chicago has the story.

Check back soon for the latest.

Update: if you haven't yet seen the explosive KGO-7/ San Francisco story on the partisan political operatives financing Camp Casey, read it here. It proves the whole thing is nothing but a sham.

I jokingly asked Move America Forward's Melanie Morgan whether she stormed down the hall from her KSFO studios to shame the KGO folks into reporting the story. Morgan insisted, however, that it came into being on its own.

Speaking from Dallas, where Move America Forward's caravan stopped for the evening before the morning journey to Crawford, Morgan noted the ABC reporter behind the story is one of their most liberal.

We also heard from Curtis, a Texan who infiltrated Camp Casey, even attending security briefings. He talked about how well-organized Sheehan's supporters are, down to computerized schedules used by guards, to determine when celebs are arriving and departing.

He was even able to get a Saturday arrival time for Air America radio's Randi Rhodes, but we still don't know what type of jet will be taking her to Crawford.

Curtis found a way to blend into the crowd without being detected.

Morgan says Move America Forward's specific plans are confidential, because they don't want to allow the leftists time to undermine their actions. They intend to arrive in Crawford in late morning, with no idea just how many supporters will join them, since they're coming in from all over the country.

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25 August 2005

Inside Air America Investigation: Sheldon Drobny


The Sheldon Drobny Files


(This is part two, see Michelle's site for part one)

What's behind Sheldon Drobny's August 21st book-plugging C-SPAN appearance for a volume published nearly a year ago?

And will the interview prove to be one of his biggest regrets?

Since post-release media tours usually last just a few weeks, what made Road to Air America: Breaking the Right Wing Stranglehold on Our Nation's Airwaves, published in October 2004, noteworthy now?

If Drobny talked his way onto the show, it would be fitting: he's no stranger to convincing people to do what he wants.

He's long known that money talks, between raising capital for start-up companies, to making sizable campaign contributions. It's led to boardroom appointments and increasingly-open partisan doors.

While verification is hard to come by, Drobny says he's a former IRS agent and CPA. He's been a boardmember of several technology companies as well.

Politically, he flew under the radar for many years, surfacing in Democrat Party circles just recently with major contributions to the Edwards For President campaign ($2000, half from wife Anita) and the Responsibility Opportunity Community Political Action Committee ($5000), which gave money to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and a number of 2004 Democrat candidates.

Fringe Sympathies

It would seem money well spent for an activist previously associated with fringe Democrat Lyndon Larouche, an extremist with a cult-like following. It was National Review's Byron York who first uncovered the connection in 2003.

At Make Them Accountable, Drobny wrote this in February 2003:

There is already too great a history of Jewish bloodshed caused by mistaken, shortsighted alliances. The Zionist pact with Hitler's Germany in 1933 is one example.

Most people are unaware of as unlikely an alliance as that between Hitler and the Zionists. My father taught me about this, among many other events that have been redacted from history books.

In 1985, Edwin Black wrote a detailed account of the pact in his book, The Transfer Agreement. Black reports a shocking account of shortsighted treachery by the Zionist movement to emigrate Jews from Germany to Palestine. The authors of the pact included David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and Chaim Weitzman.

The book never had an audience, and was quickly and surreptitiously taken off the shelves. What Black'’s book painstakingly proves is that in 1933, while the rest of world Jewry was organizing an economic boycott of the new Nazi regime in Germany, the Zionists based in Jerusalem decided to make Germany Palestine's chief trading partner.

The Nazis and the Zionists had one very important thing in common. Both wanted the Jews out of Germany.

To accommodate such a transfer of Jews, an agreement was arranged whereby each Jew wishing to leave Germany for Palestine would be forced to use his capital to purchase German goods. Thus, while World Jewry was busy fighting Nazi Germany economically, those Zionists were saving Germany from financial ruin.

The Zionists were also instrumental in canceling the economic boycott of Germany in 1933, with the understanding that all 500,000 German Jews would be allowed to immigrate to Palestine.

That 2003 article was recently amended to indicate Drobny's Air America leadership role.

Meanwhile, Drobny continued to push Larouche's conspiracy theories. Highest priority is convincing Americans of his "evidence" connecting the Bush family to the Nazi Party:

Nazi Germany's military industrial complex allowed it to rearm and start a second world war. Much of the support for Germany's rearmament came from American and international businesses, a scandal that has never been completely made public.

Very few Americans know that Prescott Bush, our president's grandfather, supplied Nazi Germany with such assistance. He did not stop until President Roosevelt, in 1942, froze some of his assets under the Trading With The Enemies Act.

The information is documented, but is not known by most Americans because, as in any successful fascist regime, the press is prevented from publishing it.

The news media are controlled by the same corporations that participate in the great partnership between government and business.

Should it not worthy of note in a presidential campaign that the wealth and power of one of the candidates was built in part by treacherous acts of one of the family'’s founders? Knowing it might have made some people who intended to vote for George W. Bush reluctant to do so.

War benefits the armaments and oil industries. The corporate masters and their current spokesman, George W. Bush, promote a dangerous policy of pre-emptive warfare. They use exactly the same excuses Hitler used to sell to the public his maniacal desire to conquer Europe. The real power for Hitler came from his corporate backers, who willingly supplied him the tools to execute his plan, their reward being profit.

Here he pushes a bizarre World War II theory that dropping atomic bombs on Japan was intended only to scare the Soviets, not win the war itself, making it a shameful episode in American history.

His essay isn't backed by a single factual reference.

In a June piece, he backs up Senator Durbin's now infamous remarks. Next, he defends the idea that Kerry really won Ohio in 2004.

One day he plays to the far left, the next to the extreme fringe.

After York's 2003 revelations about Drobny's ties to extremist groups, little more was said about it, other than an occasional blog entry questioning his connections.

Is it a coincidence that shortly after York appeared on FOX News with Brit Hume to expose the ties, Sheldon and Anita Drobny temporarily shifted to Air America's background, only to resurface months later?

Sheldon Drobny did contest York's reporting, but in mild terms. Instead of distancing himself from Larouche and the Bush-Nazi conspiracy theory, he tried to make the case that others were also touting them.

Reinventing Sheldon

His mainstreaming effort seems to have paid off: he somehow managed to secure a speaking slot at February's National Intelligence Conference and Exposition, joining former Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) and others from both parties.

How did he slip through the cracks without a background check? It's hard to believe the conference intended to include a Larouche supporter. How was York's investigative work so quickly forgotten?

It's not as though he's abandoned his extremist ideas, instead he has two political faces: as a "progressive" activist in public and outer-fringe beliefs in more obscure settings.

In fact, this appears to be conscious effort. From his weak defense of York's research:

The theme of the article was to give the reader a prospective of what "fascism" or "corporatism" mean in the context of modern nonracial economic and political terms. It was written in January of this year on a web site that surely has little influence on political discourse in this country.

In other words, he sure doesn't want national attention drawn to his "hobby".

He also wrote something that might interest investigators looking into Air America's finances. It came from his piece outlining how Kerry "won" in Ohio:

As a former C.P.A and auditor, I have used statistical sampling throughout my career with great confidence. With electronic record keeping, it's easy to create a program to falsify the books. But there are ways to uncover that. Auditors have developed statistical ways to cut right through corruption in companies. You don't even need a paper trail. These statistical approaches can be used with almost 100% accuracy to uncover fraud.

If Drobny knows so much about how auditors operate, does he know how to beat them?

Fumbling An Easy Interview

That brings us to Drobny's unfortunate C-SPAN interview.

While the callers seemed heavily stacked in his favor, Drobny looks visibly shaken by one from Dallas.

He asked Drobny basic questions about the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club scandal, where $875,000 in taxpayer funds intended for the community nonprofit seemed to find their way to the network's coffers.

Drobny looked shocked, as though he didn't expect critical, questioning callers during the interview. Was there an understanding they'd be kept off the show?

Or has Drobny failed to recognize the amount of publicity the scandal has now generated?

Whatever the reason, he appeared flustered, his eyes shifted around and he looked very uncomfortable, in stark contrast to his relaxed demeanor just moments earlier.

This is a portion of the written transcript (thanks to Siobhan for help here):

Dallas caller: Yes, I was wondering, you talk about the road to Air America, I've been reading in the New York Sun and articles by Michele Malkin that $875K approximately was acquired in a loan from a children's center and an Alzheimer's center in NY.

And you just mentioned you had funding and introductions from VP Gore and former president Clinton and I was wondering are you proud of the fact that you've obtained money from a partially federally funded children's center in New York and that you are now in default on that loan?

What is your explanation on that because I think that is pretty troubling.

Drobny: Well, ah, if you go to the website they have a very, very appropriate response. Ah, I would love to be able to answer the question and you would love my answer but the, ah, that particular transaction occurred from the previous ownership and, ah, I cannot legally talk about it although I'd love to. But that was not our loan. That was a loan to the previous owner.

Host: For those who are not familiar with the issue, can you explain?

Drobny: (cough) Well, because we had difficulty funding the project, our firm was willing to allocate up to 10 million to an all liberal radio network and, ah, we were not able to raise any more than that and we needed about 30 to 40 million dollars.

So about, ah, about August or September of 2003, and we had already hired, or got Al Franken to commit, we had our executive team and whatever, we didn't have enough money to fund the thing to the process of. We were introduced to the former owner who acquired our network at the time and, ah, supposedly had the funding to take it forward and to get it on the air.

They got it on the air but unfortunately they ran into financial difficulty and I suppose one of those difficulties was this Boys Club situation. And, ah, then they defaulted when we sold the station or network, they defaulted on our loan.

So they also defaulted on our credit. So what happened was we had to reacquire, we reacquired the, ah, the network through a different company.

Host: But as you've been reading, Michelle Malkin and others have been quick to point to it as one of the problems in the financial structure of Air America.

Drobny: That was the former ownership. We are very solid right now. And I can tell you if you just read the Air America statement it will tell you that (unclear...)

Was it really a different company? In a technical sense, perhaps, but that seems pretty generous, given what we now know about Air America.

Is it really possible the loans occurred during a time when the Drobnys had no Air America connection?

Take these statements, from Multicultural Broadcasting's legal complaint against the network:

Page 8

"In November 2003, the Drobnys and AnShell Media conveyed all of the assets concerning the proposed liberal radio network to Progress Media, a holding company for Cohen and Sorensen..."

Page 9

"Notwithstanding its narrow mission, and limited resources, between October 3, 2003 and March 15, 2004, the Boys and Girls Club loaned Radio Free America and Progress Media a total of $875,000."

The dates do seem to at least partly overlap.

Clinton-Gore Role?

Sheldon has also recently been talking about the Clinton-Gore role in Air America Radio's founding. Newsmax also noticed it and filed this report.

Back to the transcript:

When asked where former president Bill Clinton and former VP Al Gore helped to direct him for funding for Air America:

Host: Who did they bring to the table?

Drobny: Well, uh, they didn't bring any major funding to the table.

Host: You write in the book they helped you.

Drobny: They helped us, yes. They tried to get funding for us but they weren't successful. I mean we really had to work hard to make believers of even liberals and rich liberals didn't even believe there was a liberal radio audience.

How they helped us was made introductions to a lot of good people, and especially Al Gore who introduced me to Al Franken who I had to convince along with our COO that he could transition from stand-up comedy and publishing into talk radio. He was my dream franchise player when we first conceived of the idea...

What I find hard to fathom is this: if the Clintons and Gores really wanted to fund Air America, it's amazing to think they couldn't line up millions from the first five liberals on speed dial.

Drobny laments their lack of real assistance in this essay.

Another Interview Blunder

Things get really comical when Drobny can't name his network's African-American hosts. There are two, one was recently demoted to make way from Jerry Springer's so-far floundering radio show.

Host: An email from Geraldo Mathis: Are there any African-American hosts on Air America?

Drobny: Yes. Um, I believe his name, I can't remember his name (chuckle). The morning show has Marc Maron and um, I can't remember the co-host but he is an African-American. Ah, and we have one other, ah, um, the name escapes me. It's on the website.

If his passion is really about Air America's "progressive" programming, wouldn't he be able to recite its program schedule at the drop of a hat?

It appears that he may not have even met them, particularly the black hosts.

Is that because, to the Drobnys, Air America Radio really has some other purpose?

Join Michelle Malkin as my guest on the Rusty Humphries Show, 9pm EDT tonight, on Talk Radio Network affiliates nationwide.

AAR Scandal Graphic by Darleen Click. Transcript by Siobhan.

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24 August 2005

Pat Robertson Still Stirring Controversy

Robertson Over-Kill?

Media Thrilled To Have Conservative Target

The same liberal media outlets that took weeks, if ever, to report on a sleazy scandal at Air America now can't get enough of Pat Robertson-bashing.

That's after he seemed to call for Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez's extermination on his 700 Club television program:

"...You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.

It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.

And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ...This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced.

And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly.

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.

We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Robertson's general philosophy is correct, this can occasionally be the answer, it's just not clear Chavez is anywhere near this territory. Leaders of North Korea, Zimbabwe and several other countries are a better fit for this kind of rare, drastic action.

If you can save thousands, even millions, of innocent lives by taking out a depraved dictator, why wouldn't you do it?

My piece for Michelle Malkin's site generated a significant response, it's here if you missed it.

Meanwhile, the media feeding frenzy continues over what is simply one man's opinion, take a look:

From the Virginian-Pilot:

Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of Venezuela’s president set off a global media frenzy Tuesday, as religious and political leaders heaped scorn on the Virginia Beach-based Christian broadcaster.

The Bush administration quickly distanced itself from Robertson’s remarks, but Venezuela’s vice president said Robertson should be investigated for his “terrorist statements.”

Tim Cuprisin of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ties Robertson to Michael Graham:

The Rev. Pat Robertson may get away with his on-air call for the assassination of Venezuela's president, but the firing of a Washington, D.C., radio talker shows there are limits to what you can say.

Michael Graham was the midday guy at ABC-owned WMAL-AM in the nation's capital. It's a conservative talk station that carries Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with some local voices.

From the New York Times:

In Caracas, he was criticized by the vice president of Venezuela, and in Cuba, by President Fidel Castro.

Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel of Venezuela said: "This is a huge hypocrisy to maintain an anti-terrorist line and at the same time have such terrorist statements as these made by Christian preacher Pat Robertson coming from the same country."

Rumsfeld dismissed Robertson's assassination remark, saying: "Certainly, it's against the law.
Our department doesn't do that type of thing."

He added, "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time." Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, called Robertson's comments "inappropriate."
Robertson ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988.

He has often used his show and the political advocacy group he founded, the Christian Coalition, to support President Bush.
Bernardo Alvarez, the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington, said: "Mr. Robertson has been one of the president's staunchest allies. His statement demands the strongest condemnation by the White House."

Until I see the same level of outrage directed at the everyday human rights abuses of thugs like Chavez, Castro and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, the left doesn't have a leg to stand on in denouncing TV host Pat Robertson.

Robertson backing off under pressure? Here's the latest, he says comments were misinterpreted.

Evening update: Robertson apologizes, he's been all over the map on this issue today.

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Wednesday Air America Scandal News

Air Enron Latest

New Air America Scandal Coverage Today

--- A confused Denver Post columnist thinks Air America has just celebrated its first anniversary. No, that's Denver's KKZN, the network's been broadcasting about six months longer.

Dick Kreck's
column then goes on to happily dismiss our research on Air America's scandal, it's not clear if he bothered to read any of it. He sure is happy to pass it all off on the right wing, though.

--- San Antonio News-Express columnist Jonathon Gurwitz
thinks it's mighty strange Air America's descent is flying under the media's radar. Looks like they're paying attention in San Antonio, what's the problem in Denver?

--- Captain Ed reveals
the Washington Post's
real priorities when it comes to funding scandals.

--- In San Francisco
, the Chronicle hasn't touched Air America's scandal, but
thinks it's really neat that Al Franken is pushing for a Jerry Garcia postage stamp.

--- Shot in the Dark believes Janeane Garofalo has it in for the New York Sun. Wonder why?

--- Why weren't Clinton and Gore able to help Air America? NewsMax
has the story.

--- Michelle and I are working on our next investigative piece, watch for it soon.

AAR/Scandal graphic by Darleen Click, others by Pete at IHillary

23 August 2005

"Freeping" From The Left

Conservative Station Hijacked?

Liberals Claim Talk Radio Prank Success

If lefty 'net activists were to pull a stunt on a conservative talk radio station, you'd expect outrage from the Radio Equalizer, right?

And if for some reason, I wasn't furious about it, why would that be? The full moon?

Maybe it's because there simply wasn't a better way to teach Milwaukee's WISN-AM a lesson about running self-destructive contests.

It appears liberal Daily Kos readers "freeped" (I've never before heard this term applied to lefties) an online listener poll to determine which rank amateur would win a contract to host WISN's morning show.

Some managerial genius got the idea that anybody can be pulled off the street to host a successful talk show. Contest entrants got tryouts (professionals excluded) and were gradually eliminated.

Experienced programmers know it takes experience, training and skill to successfully host a radio talk show. It's a craft honed over many years and Milwaukee is not a minor league market.

Kos, considered the world's largest blog based on readership, put out a call to stuff the ballot box for the most liberal contestant: Nicole Devin, a pro-abortion Democrat. She won.

Jim Cuprisin of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the story here.

Kos poster ColdFusion04, who took credit for the dubious "victory", is busy gloating about having thrown a conservative radio station off course and claims many on the right are "outraged".

Who? I don't think many on the right have even heard about it.

My only outrage: that I didn't think of this myself.

Station management says the show will be apolitical, so it won't matter. I think that's a CYA effort, since it's a conservative station, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Belling, one of his regular fill-in hosts.

Now, it'll be like a country station playing hip-hop in morning drive.

It's amazing to watch talk radio self-destruct with profoundly stupid moves. It's like trying to sell K Cars, Yugos and AMC Pacers while the new media competition rolls out luxury models.

Just a few years ago, it was talk radio producing a superior alternative to newspapers, now it's responding to new media innovations by flushing itself down the toilet.

I'd bet the farm WISN's morning show ratings bite the dust because of this boneheaded contest.

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Update On WMAL Firing

DC: What Really Happened?

New Information Sheds Light On Host's Sacking

Getting to the bottom of talk host Michael Graham's firing from Washington's WMAL-AM hasn't been easy.

Was he really terminated after a pressure campaign led by Islamic extremists? Did his comments cross the line?

Hunting down real answers has been especially tricky. Both sides are opening up, however, one with exclusive information for the Radio Equalizer. Clearly, there was a bloody behind-the-scenes battle.

Declared winner: neither party.

Graham's out of a job and WMAL is taking it on the chin from the very conservative listeners it needs to survive. Ratings were already in the toilet, though Graham was said not to be the primary cause.

For ABC, WMAL's a major part of the company's news-talk chain, at a time when corporate parent Disney is reported to be unloading the radio division.

Neither side needs these headaches. So, is there any way to resolve the situation?

The Radio Equalizer's been riding both sides for additional details, after nagging questions were going unanswered.

Finally, Graham went further. Here's his response:

Radio Equalizer: Michael, were you really fired? Management's saying you chose not to return. Which is it?

Graham: "Here's the deal: I was ready to go back on the air without an apology. ABC and I had a deal. Then (Chris) Berry demanded an apology and went back on his word. I wouldn't apologize. I got fired. Period.

"The apology was, according to Berry, non-negotiable. That was the end of that.

"If he really IS prepared to let me back on without an apology, I'll be back on WMAL tomorrow!

"So ask him: Can I come back without an apology? My termination letter says no."

WMAL General Manager Chris Berry issued this statement:

Typically we don't comment on personnel matters, but given the misstatements being communicated by Michael, I want to set the record straight.

Some of Michael’s statements about Islam went over the line – and this isn’t the first time that he has been reprimanded for insensitive language and comments.

In this case, as previously, Michael’s on-air statements do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of station management.

I asked Michael for an on-air acknowledgement that some of his remarks were overly broad and inexplicably he refused.

Michael has also tried to position this that we were pressured into taking disciplinary action against him.

For the record we make our decisions independent of external pressures or third parties and we will not permit an employee to willfully violate our policies or disregard management direction.

Chris Berry President, General Manager News Talk 630 WMAL

The question: can the situation be resolved? One side or the other would have to concede ground and it doesn't appear that will occur soon.

--- Blogger lgf has this update and there's a new Billboard story here.

--- Town Hall has two new pieces, one from Graham and another by Joel Mowbray.

--- Chateau D'If says fellow WMAL host Chris Core's new public statement stinks.

--- There's a site set up for Graham's supporters. See it here.

Stay tuned for updates.

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22 August 2005


Gathering Steam

NY Post, Fortune, Others Covering Scandal

As you may know, Michelle Malkin and I have continued to plug away at Air America scandal developments, including our New York Post op-ed, which ran today:



AIR America, the much-hyped liberal media venture that was supposed to revolutionize talk radio, is "solvent and apparently stable".

So claim the gullible cheerleaders at The New York Times, who made that unsubstantiated assertion in a recent glowing profile of Air America host Janeane Garofalo.

But behind the fawning headlines and celebrity kiss-ups is a tale of astounding financial and legal chaos.

The city Department of Investigation and state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer continue to conduct separate probes into a dubious loan scheme involving Air America and the Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club.

An estimated $875,000 of the charity's funds have disappeared. Evan Montvel-Cohen, who served as both chief of Air America and director of development at Gloria Wise, reportedly steered the funds to himself (for claimed medical expenses) and Air America (for operations).

Network officials are pinning all the blame on him, and are reportedly pressuring the inner-city charity to back up their story.

But the charity scam is just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest here.

, Fortune Magazine covers some of the other angles, referencing "conservative bloggers" without naming anyone in particular. Who on earth could they be referring to?

Here's a sample:

It was a bizarre story, but the new management’s public response is proving to be even stranger.

Following word of the investigations (Eliot Spitzer’s state gumshoes have since joined in), Air America, whose CEO is now former record executive Danny Goldberg, retreated into opaque legalism.

An official statement in late July explained that a new entity now controls Air America and that it "had absolutely no involvement" with the Boys & Girls Club.

That was technically true, but it left out the fact that the new entity consisted of the same asset—Air America—and many of the same investors, including heavyweights such as RealNetwork’s Rob Glaser.

In other words, the new entity looked suspiciously like the old entity. By August, Air America had back-pedaled. A new statement reiterated that "the current owners of Air America radio have no obligation" for the loans.

But, it went on, "we agreed months ago to fully compensate the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. …"
Since then, Air America says, it has begun repaying the debt. The network’s strange behavior has been fodder for conservative bloggers. And a second dispute is now stoking their wrath.

This suit began when Air America—er, its prior ownership entity—sued MultiCultural Radio Broadcasting, a station owner, for kicking it off the air in two cities in April 2004 because the network hadn’t paid its bills. MultiCultural won a $255,000 judgment.

Not our problem, says Air America’s lawyer Michael Schlesinger of Latham & Watkins.

He argues that the current owners bought only the assets of Air America’s original owner and left the debts behind.
It’s "a completely new group of ownership," he says. Hogwash, says Randy Mastro of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, who represents MultiCultural: "Air America engaged in the oldest trick in the book. They tried to reorganize themselves to avoid paying their debts."

Even Italian bloggers are starting to notice our Air America scandal coverage.

Most of the radio trade publications are continuing an Air America scandal coverage blackout, for which the network is probably thrilled. But All Access, a major online site covering radio and the recording industry, had this today, from reporter Perry M Simon:

The reporting by "RADIO EQUALIZER" blogger BRIAN MALONEY and conservative columnist MICHELLE MALKIN, most recently in a four part series, on AIR AMERICA RADIO's financial dealings has been summarized in a column by MALONEY and MALKIN in MONDAY's NEW YORK POST.

The column recounts the GLORIA WISE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB loan controversy, MULTICULTURAL RADIO's lawsuits against the network, and LIZZ WINSTEAD's suit seeking back pay and interest after her firing, as well as the efforts by original investors SHELDON and ANITA DROBNY to start a new entity to acquire small stations to affiliate with the network.

More updates shortly.

Scandal graphic by Darleen Click. Frankenspeak by Agent Tim Online.

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DC Talk Host Fired Over Islam Statements


DC Talk Host Was Target Of Islamist Campaign

Confirmation of WMAL/Washington talk host Michael Graham's removal from the ABC station has been made with his just-released statement.

Graham had been suspended for making comments local fringe Islamists from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found offensive, now we've learned he won't be returning to WMAL.

CAIR has been linked to terrorist group Hamas.

Official ABC reason: insubordination, for apparently not doing enough "outreach" after an incident where Graham called Islam itself a "terror organization".

In a Jewish World Review column, Graham further ticked off Mickey's suits with this (via Michelle Malkin):

I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it.

But it is the plain truth: Islam is a terror organization.

For years, I've been trying to give the world's Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical-American's complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting "asalaam alaikum," taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago.

Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that "Islam is a religion of peace."

But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean "nobody." Certainly not the group of "moderate" Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith.

When asked the question "Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam," they could not answer "Yes. Always." Instead, these "moderate British Muslims" had to answer "It depends."

Previous Radio Equalizer coverage on the issue is found here. Michelle Malkin's recent piece can be found here.

At this moment, he's still listed as a host on the WMAL site. Ads specific to Graham's show are still shown.

Because WMAL is an American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) shop, Graham has a number of potential grievance options. Usually, terminations for cause can be the trickiest for broadcasters, because they are easier for the union to fight than if he were let go for performance (ratings, revenue) reasons.

Also stunning: WMAL Program Director Randall Bloomquist, a longtime industry veteran, hasn't been seen at the ABC building in a week and isn't returning messages or emails.

Has he also been fired? He wasn't scheduled to be away for the week. Speculation is running high tonight that Bloomquist, Graham's direct supervisor, is the second casualty of the CAIR campaign.

The Radio Equalizer is waiting for a response from ABC.

So far, ABC has never told listeners why Graham has not been heard on the air, forcing them to rely on newspaper accounts and blogs for the latest.

Here's Graham's statement:

Contact: Michael Graham

Radio Station Gives In To CAIR Demands, Fires Host For Comments Regarding Islam

The following is a statement from Michael Graham, former mid-morning host at ABC Radio's 630 WMAL in Washington, DC:

The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC.

On July 25th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that I be "punished" for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism.

Three days later, 630 WMAL and ABC Radio suspended me without pay for comments deemed "hate radio" by CAIR.

CAIR immediately announced that my punishment was insufficient and demanded I be fired. ABC Radio and 630 WMAL have now complied. I have now been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed "offensive," and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology.

ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as "additional outreach efforts" to those people or groups who felt offended.

I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired.

It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldn't specifically condemn Al Qaeda for three months after 9/11.

As a fan of talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show. As a conservative talk host whose job is to have an open, honest conversation each day with my listeners, I believe caving to this pressure is a disaster.

I for one cannnot apologize for the truth and I cannot agree to some community-service style "outreach effort" to appease the opponents of free speech.

If I had made a racist or bigoted comment -- which my regular listeners know goes against everything I believe in -- I would apologize immediately, and without coercion. When I have made inadvertent fact errors in the past, I apologized promptly and without hesitation.

But we have now gone far beyond that, with demands that I apologize for the ideas my listeners and I believe in. It is not a coincidence that, after my suspension on July 28th, WMAL received more than 15,000 phone calls and emails protesting my removal from the airwaves.

Why such a huge response? It wasn't about me; The listeners I spoke to said they felt betrayed by my suspension because the vast majority of them agree with me on the subject of Islam. By labeling my statements as unacceptable, these listeners felt that WMAL management was insulting them, too.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I care about the listeners of 630 WMAL. I respect them and I appreciate the amazing support they have given me.

I could not dishonor their principled support for free speech by giving into these demands. I cannot join ABC Radio in bowing to CAIR's wishes. And I will not apologize for my opinions or retract the truth.

The whole point of the Michael Graham Show is what my listeners and I call the "natural truth," those obvious facts about modern life that the p.c. police and mainstream media believe should never be discussed. That includes the tragic, but undeniable relationship between terrorism and Islam as it is constituted today.

The conversations my listeners and I had on this subject were not offensive or bigoted in the least. In fact, Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR (who has appeared on my show several times) credited "criticism from talk radio" in part for the recent fatwa against terrorism issued by a group of US Muslim scholars. Ironically, it was issued the day before I was suspended.

That's the real tragedy here. The people who most need free speech and open dialogue on the issues facing Islam today are America's moderate Muslims. These are people of good will who have the difficult job ahead of reforming and rescuing their religion. They need all the help they can get.

The decision to give CAIR what it wants-a group with well-publicized ties to terrorists and terror-related organizations--will make it harder for the reformers to successfully face Islam's challenges. Still worse, silencing people like me will make it easier for Islamist extremists to dismiss all sincere calls for reform as mere "bigotry."

When CAIR is able to quell dissent and label every critic a "bigot," the chilling effect is felt far beyond ABC Radio and 630 WMAL. If anyone is owed an apology, it is the moderate, Muslim community who have been failed once again by the mainstream media.

Update: coverage from LGF here, Backcountry Conservative here.

Update: LaShawn Barber has her version here. She doesn't believe it's a First Amendment issue.

Update: from new WorldNetDaily story:

Graham's suspension stems come from characterizing Islam a "terrorist organization." Graham explained that when a significant minority of a group conducts terrorism and the general population of that group does not denounce it, it is safe to conclude that the group promotes it. He drew an analogy between Islam and the Boy Scouts.

"If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization," he said.

"If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder – and the scoutmasters in charge simply said 'Could be' – the Boy Scouts would have driven out of America long ago."

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21 August 2005

AAR Scandal Update: Progressive Interview

Progressive: What Scandal?

Franken: 'I'm Not That Left-wing'

When it comes to fighting for "social justice", liberals sure can be selective.

Take this interview with Al Franken in the new issue of The Progressive, "a leading voice for peace and social justice since 1909".

Air America scandal, what's that? Every question is served Larry King-softball style.

Maybe Franken really is a funny guy after all, claiming here he's actually not especially liberal!

With unpleasant realities like $875,000 in taxpayer funds intended for an inner-city community center allegedly diverted to Air America Radio, The Progressive casts aside social justice for friendly, partisan cover.

For the Radio Equalizer, it brings to mind a similar incident that occurred over a decade ago in Santa Cruz, California.

There, Resource Center For Nonviolence head Doug Rand pleaded no contest to charges of throwing a brick through his neighbor's window.

The justification? Loud rock music next door.

Local lefties swept it under the rug, while conservatives began to call it the "Resource Center For Selective Nonviolence", a more apt description.

After Rand's passing, "peace" activists pushed for a public statue in his honor.

Perhaps one for Franken should go right next to Rand's, with others added later dedicated to intellectual dishonesty, in the name of the Greater Good.

In the "progressive" mindset, it's okay to dismiss sleazy, dishonest behavior for a comrade, if it supports the cause.

A softball interview sampling:

Q: How is Air America doing? In the beginning, the press was all about how it had gotten off to a rough start, but now it seems to be doing better.

Franken: Yeah, we shot ourselves in the foot right out of the gate. The guy who ran it at first misled pretty much everybody about how much capital we had.

He said we had enough to go three years without making money, and we had enough to go three weeks.

So in week four, we learned that we bounced a check or two, and that we’d lose our stations in Los Angeles and Chicago, which were our second and third largest markets.

It was horrible, and everybody was counting us out, and you can imagine how attractive our network would be to radio stations when it looked like we were going under.

So there was really no growth for quite a bit after that, and what we had to do was prove that we were viable. And we did that by getting good ratings and showing that we’re fulfilling a need in a business sense—that we’re bringing in an audience.

Yes, Franken apparently believes one city's good ratings translates to national success. Note he sticks to blaming it all on Evan Cohen.

Q: Did you have a difficult time attracting talent in the beginning?

Franken: Well, we didn’t really have a problem attracting talent, because there is no talent to some degree. [Laughs.]

The right wing has had a radio apparatus for years and years, so they’ve had minor leagues—they’ve had local rightwing guys who’ve become national rightwing guys, and who build slowly, and that’s how it goes. We haven’t had that. It isn’t like we have a farm team.

Al, there are a few local liberal hosts out there and frankly, they do a better job.

You won out because of your marquee value. If there isn't much of a farm team, it's because so many lefty hosts have tried and failed to build an audience.

Q: You do have some experienced radio veterans.

Franken: Yeah, but you need an experienced radio veteran who is a liberal advocate. And there just hadn’t been any radio that did that. And so they weren’t trained—they had developed all these bad habits of being objective and balanced and stuff like that. [Laughs.]

It’s hard to get that out of a person. I mean, obviously, I value objectivity and actually caring about facts, and we do that on the show.

Objective hosts on the left? Has Franken ever heard Bernie Ward or Ray Taliafero on KGO/San Francisco? There are a number of other examples.

: Do you see Air America as looking to attract more mainstream Democrats, or moving more toward the left? Obviously, further to the left, you’ve got many people working in community radio.

Franken: Yeah, I’m not that leftwing, which is the odd thing about this: My views on most things would jibe with most Americans’. On most issues, most Americans are certainly left of this Administration.

Not necessarily left, but more common-sensical. Given a chance, they’d spend less on the military, they wouldn’t make more nuclear weapons, they would want to increase environmental regulation rather than reduce it, they would want to spend more on education and health care, they would enforce corporate-responsibility laws and make corporations pay their taxes, all those kinds of things. Crazy talk. [Laughs.]

Franken must be hoping to inspire the next "Day by Day" cartoon.

In addition: another softball interview on C-SPAN this morning: this time it's our friend Sheldon Drobny! Full analysis here, later.

AAR/Scandal by
Darleen Click, others by Pete at IHillary.
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