- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2005

Err America

More bad news for Air America, the radio network which debuted to great fanfare last year with host Al Franken touted as the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh.

“A lawsuit filed by an owner of radio stations claims that the transfer of ownership of the Air America radio network from Progress Media to Piquant LLC in May 2004 was a ‘sham’ intended to maintain the network’s assets while deceiving its creditors,” the New York Sun reported yesterday, citing court documents.

“In the suit, which was filed in state Supreme Court at Manhattan in May, Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, a radio station owner with affiliates across the country, is seeking more than $255,000 it claims it is owed by the current owners of Air America, Piquant LLC.”

The station owner, the Sun reports, “is trying to enforce a judgment in its favor last November, in which the court ordered Air America’s owners to pay” $255,000 to Multicultural, which had sold the network air time in Los Angeles and Chicago.

The Sun cited documents in the lawsuit, which were posted on the Web site of syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin (www.michellemalkin.com).

The lawsuit charges that in May 2004 Air America was “in a state of crisis” and “unable to meet its payroll obligations.” According to the lawsuit, network co-founder Sheldon Drobny developed a “scheme” to reorganize Air America. The lawsuit calls this “a transparent attempt to leave … creditors without any prospect of recovery.”

Mrs. Malkin teamed with blogger Brian Maloney to investigate Air America after it was reported that the liberal network had “borrowed” (and done nothing to repay) more than $800,000 from a Boys & Girls Club in New York.

All quiet

Despite brief ad campaigns by two interest groups concerned with President Bush’s nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court, political television advertisements have been virtually absent from broadcast and cable television, according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project that analyzed data provided by Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The lack of advertising indicates a less intense fight over the nomination than many expected, the report said.

The report analyzes political television advertising in all 210 markets across the nation.

“This is another sign that this nomination is not going to be much of a fight,” said Ken Goldstein, director of the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.

“Are we going to see interest groups get involved and activists use lofty rhetoric that will make headlines? Sure. But with senators home during the August recess with virtually no ads targeting even the most vulnerable incumbents, all indications are that this Supreme Court nomination process is not going to be the paid media battle that activists on both sides have been preparing for and promising for years.”

Different standard

Michael Barone of U.S. News told Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace on Wednesday night that ‘if a World War II era Cindy Sheehan had gone to Hyde Park and Warm Springs and camped out and demanded a meeting with President Roosevelt,’ she ‘would just been thought to have been a person who was the victim of a personal tragedy and who had gone over the bend as a result of it, and they would have mercifully given her no publicity,’ ” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Barone, co-editor of the bi-annual Almanac of American Politics, credited the change in media attitude to how in ‘World War II, the press almost unanimously wanted us to win the war,’ but ‘today we have many in the press — not most I think, but some at least — who do not want us to win this war and think that we don’t deserve to win this war.’”

Scarborough’s choice

Joe Scarborough, the former congressman and current MSNBC talk show host, says he is considering a challenge to Rep. Katherine Harris for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Florida.

Mr. Scarborough said Wednesday that he has already talked with Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and plans to meet with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and White House officials next week about whether to get into the race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

“I’ve told everybody I’ll keep an open mind. I’m happy with NBC; NBC is happy with me. They’ve offered me a new contract. That’s sitting on the table,” Mr. Scarborough said.

Mr. Scarborough, who spent seven years in Congress, said Republican leaders are concerned about Mrs. Harris’ electability because of the role she played in the 2000 presidential recount. She was Florida’s secretary of state then, and Democrats say she fought recounts that could have jeopardized President Bush’s 537-vote victory.

“Everybody I’ve talked to in the party likes her personally; it’s just the numbers. You look at any public poll and the numbers are not positive for her simply because she’s identified with the dust-up in 2000,” Mr. Scarborough said.

Mrs. Harris began her campaign last week.

Patriotic leftists

“It seems to me the American people never really forgave the Democrats for being right about Vietnam,” Democratic consultant Paul Begala writes on a liberal Web site (www.tpmcafe.com).

“The left was right, of course, about Vietnam. … And yet, despite being right, the left lost politically when America lost militarily. Why? And what can we who oppose President Bush’s war in Iraq learn from that? …

“The popular memory of the anti-war movement calls to mind (even for those of us too young to clearly recall it) the indelible image of young Americans burning the American flag. Cops were called ‘pigs.’ Cherished American icons were trashed.

“It seems to me the new anti-war movement has learned these lessons well. And it is the pro-war right that is repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Eh? The single instance cited by Mr. Begala: “For me, one of the most incendiary moments of the entire Bush war in Iraq occurred when a right-wing thug ran his pickup truck over hundreds of crosses bearing the names of heroic Americans killed in Iraq. He also took out scores of American flags in the process.”

Police have arrested a Waco man for that crime.

Mr. Begala continues: “Such is the hatred of the far right at the dawn of the 21st century. … Today it is the left invoking faith, flag and family, while the right destroys crosses. … For the last two presidential elections it has been the Democratic Party whose nominee was a Vietnam War veteran, while the Republicans have sputtered out spurious defenses of their candidate’s deceitful draft-dodging.”

Greg Pierce can bereached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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