September 8, 2005

Air America Radio (AAR) Update: Is the Endgame Near?

WELCOME Radio Equalizer readers! Just to be clear: Salon.com, a publicly-held company, which has burned through over $90 million since its inception, is separate from AAR and unrelated to it. AAR is not a publicly-held company, so we don’t know what their financial statements look like.
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I haven’t done much with the Air American Radio story, because I’ve been reading with slack-jawed astonishment the continuing stream of posts on the subject by the two bloggers doing the dirty work: original story-breaker Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer (his Sept. 7 entory on AAR is here) and the indefatigable Michelle Malkin (her two latest are here [Sept. 7] and here [Sept. 8]).

I blogged on Brian’s original AAR piece at this prior post, and also noted Michelle’s early involvement. I called her “the bad guys’ worst nightmare.” It appears that I underestimated her tenacity. Their combined work has been the best example of cooperative investigative blogging I have seen.

Thanks to Brian and Michelle, AAR is faced with a frightening trail of damning court and legal documents; inaccurate press releases and web site announcements; and on-air misstatements and probable lies by its personalities, especially the widely-known Al Franken.

So now you have to ask if AAR can survive.

Ordinarily, the litany of problems cited would cause the affected business, its owners, and managers to slink into a corner, put the business out of its misery, and hope no one notices. But since AAR is seen by the far left as the heroic counterweight to conservative-dominated talk radio, it’s not inconceivable that they will survive for quite a while with capital infusions from rich liberals with more money than sense.

This is essentially how online magazine Salon.com (NOT related to AAR) has survived, despite losing over $90 million since its inception about 8 years ago (the reported negative Retained Earnings, for those not familiar with accounting terms); likely having stiffed many creditors, employees, and suppliers in the process; and having little realistic prospect of turning a profit (though it “only” lost $358,000 in the most recent quarter).

AAR has also had the good fortune of being largely ignored by the Mainstream Media during the ongoing debacle (noteworthy exception: The New York Sun, whose latest is here). Because of that, despite the blog exposures of Brian and Michelle, it’s very possible that liberal investors may not appreciate the scope of the company’s crisis. Past conduct by AAR would seem to indicate that they won’t be volunteering any details.

The third commenter at this Prof. Bainbridge post notes that if AAR’s finances are in as bad a shape as they appear to be (you would think that they would do anything to pay back the entire $875,000 that they owe Gloria Wise Foundation if they could, so you almost have to conclude that they can’t), they could be forced by other creditors into involuntary bankruptcy.

In a late update to the previous paragraph, Michelle’s second post above notes that the $875,000 is now in an escrow account controlled by AAR’s lawyers, even though the New York City Department of Investigations (DOI) had demanded that the money be placed into an escrow account controlled by DOI. It seems with AAR that it’s never done cleanly or by the book. Yet another update to the previous paragraph: Brian’s September 9 post notes that DOI says the money is “reportedly” in an AAR lawyer-controlled escrow account, indicating a less than complete trust in AAR and its representatives that appears to be warranted in the circumstances. Brian questions whether the money is truly in escrow, and notes that AAR’s lawyers may have no legal liability if it isn’t.

The whole sordid affair will be interesting to watch for a time, but may very well do a slow, painful fade similar to Salon’s.

Positivity: Knock-offs for Katrina Evacuees

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

Federal customs officials put counterfeit clothes to good use:

(Click “more” to see the rest of the post)
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WorldNetDaily’s Disgraceful Reporting of the “Southern Decadence” Non-Story

Filed under: General,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 5:50 am

Let me say right off that New Orleans’ Southern Decadence event is, to say the least, not my cup of tea, and is probably the last place I would want to be on Labor Day Weekend. But that does not mean I’ll stand by without comment and watch the people who run the event unfairly smeared by an online publication with a chip on its shoulder.

The event, which is essentially New Orleans’ Gay Pride Parade and Fair, has been held for years and is city sanctioned. It was to take place from August 31 through September 5.

Obviously, Southern Decadence did not take place on the planned dates, and will not be held this year; the event’s home page says so. I understand that there was some sentiment in favor of holding the event this coming weekend (which would, in my opinion, have been unbelievably insensitive to the city’s suffering; in the end, I believe cooler heads would have vetoed the idea), but the city’s mandatory evacuation order put a stop to any thought of that anyway. It may be that the event’s cancellation occurred before the evacuation order, but to me it’s really irrelevant.

Defying all the facts on the ground, WorldNetDaily (WND) amazingly transforms the equivalent of a frat-house hangover walk into a gay mini-fair, and then wants us to think that gays were expecting a full-fledged rescheduled event this weekend:

Homosexuals celebrate in ravaged New Orleans
2 dozen ‘gays’ march up Bourbon Street, reslate Southern Decadence
Posted: September 6, 2005–1:00 a.m. Eastern

Despite the devastation and ongoing suffering by thousands from Hurricane Katrina, homosexuals paraded on Bourbon Street in New Orleans over the weekend, and have rescheduled their “Southern Decadence” event for tomorrow.

Uh, no (as noted later in the article in an excerpt from another site):

The marchers said they were celebrating Southern Decadence. The group – about two dozen people – all said they lived in the largely gay French Quarter. Defiant, they said they were not about to flee the community despite orders from the city to do so.

Though it’s described as “their” event, there is no indication that any of these two dozen losers, who seem unable to even make a coherent sign, had anything to do with planning or managing the actual Southern Decadence event. I doubt they did, but if anyone has proof to the contrary, I’d like to see it.

WND has nothing on its site indicating that the event has been cancelled, and gives no indication that they even attempted to contact event managers.

This is pitiful, agenda-driven, and spiteful reporting by people who should know better, no matter how you slice it, and no matter where you stand on gay-rights issues. WND owes its readers an apology and an accurate update, which I don’t expect.
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UPDATE: Les Kinsolving, WND’s White House correspondent, tries to pile on (paras 1, 5, and 6), but his line of questioning was wisely ignored by White House spokesman Scott McLellan. The article’s post time is today September 7 at 5:36 PM ET, many hours after the mandatory evacuation order. Les, what part of “cancelled” don’t you understand?

UPDATE 2: As of 10 AM, I see no indication that WND acknowledges the event’s cancellation, though it has been known for at least 24 hours (more likely 48).

UPDATE 3: In a hole, WND keeps digging, and calls another gathering of a couple of dozen nutbars, this time in Lafayette, LA, a “Southern Decadence” event. Again, no indication of formal event affiliation, and no attempt to contact event management for their side. Zheesh.