- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

A high-ranking executive siphons off government money intended for inner-city children. The company tries to wash its hands of the problem. Where is the New York Times to cover the story? Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to demand money and an apology?

We’re talking about Air America’s emerging charity scandal. Liberals wish it would go away. It won’t, not least because over the weekend it emerged that New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer has opened an investigation. Like the New York City Department of Investigation, his office wants to find out what happened to the more than $800,000 in tax dollars for inner-city children and the elderly that were apparently funneled through Air America by a former executive. It’s unclear whether, or in what amounts, the money ended up supporting the flailing liberal radio network’s operations, or whether and in what amounts it went to Evan Cohen, the executive who allegedly arranged the transfers. But it’s perfectly clear that an unsavory abuse of the public trust has occured and that New York’s self-appointed keepers of the trust — no less than city investigators — should get to the bottom of it.

As some blogger-observers have aptly pointed out, in the last two weeks, the New York Times has run over a dozen stories on Martha Stewart, who was accused of insider-trading her way to $51,000 savings in ImClone stock and convicted of perjury, whereas it has failed to run a single story on the Air America scandal, which involves sixteen times the amount of money, all of it tax dollars, all of it intended for the disadvantaged. A disconnect also exists considering the zeal with which the media swarmed Rush Limbaugh over his painkiller-addiction scandal. For the newspaper that lavished coverage on Air America when it began broadcasting, that is unconscionable.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are also conspicuous for their absence. They spare few corporations, especially ones accused of malfeasance. But neither has touched Air America. It’s hard to resist the conclusion that neither wants to go after their friends. As Michelle Malkin reported in The Washington Times over the weekend, their close associates do business with Air America. New York media mogul Percy Sutton, an intimate of both men, co-founded a broadcasting company that maintains lucrative lease agreements with Air America. Mr. Sutton was Mr. Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign finance chairman. He donated money for Mr. Sharpton’s 2004 presidential campaign and helped bail him out of the Tawana Brawley mess. With those ties it’s no surprise Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton are quiet.

The people who purport to stand up for the little guy just aren’t doing it. They have ignored Air America’s apparent receipt of money for inner-city children. This suggests that where the perpetrators are other liberals, the rules don’t apply.

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