Shorter Michelle Malkin

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/Idiocy1 Comment

Shorter Michelle Malkin:  Al Franken signed a settlement agreement with a guy who screwed over Al Franken and other Air America investors; therefore, Al Franken is corrupt.

I don’t get the breathlessness that the rightosphere has over this story.  Basically, it boils down to this:

(1)  There’s a guy named Evan Cohen.  He was, among other things, a venture capitalist who was the development director of an entity known as the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, which runs a camp for inner city children.  He was also a former chairman of Air America, the radio network that carries Al Franken (among others), until [Cohen] he was forced out for mismanagement shortly after Air America got off its feet.

(2)  It’s pretty clear now that Evan Cohen made improper loans of as much as $875,000 to Air America when it was under the ownership of an entity known as Progress Media.

(3)  Air America, through its current owners (Piquent LLC), feels that it has no legal obligation to repay the loans to the Boys & Girls Club (which it doesn’t), but will repay it anyway because there is a "moral obligation" to do so.

Okay.  Sounds like this Cohen guy is a piece of crap, which is why Franken acknowledges him as a "crook" and why Cohen was forced out of Air America early on.

How does this indicate any wrongdoing by Air America or Al Franken?  What’s Malkin all excited about?  It’s like Moe Szyslak gathering clues for a decades-old murder ("Here we have a ‘6’.  Or is it a ‘9’??  We don’t know!  Now this is gravel.  Gra-vel!")  [Ed. – Isn’t this a little obscure?]

The latest "smoking gun" is a supposed "settlement agreement" signed by Air America, including Al Franken.  I don’t know what Malkin thinks it means — it seems to confirm the fact that Franken and Air America unwilling victims of Cohen’s web (since you don’t normally settle with anyone other than an adversary). 

I guess Malkin’s meta-point is that the "liberal media" isn’t all over this story.  Of course, there’s a very good reason why the so-called liberal media isn’t all over this story: other than Cohen’s wrongdoings (which have been reported), there’s no story!  Perhaps Malkin and her cronies want the media to engage in speculation or smears or — wait, I got it — guilt by association.

As for as blogosphere journalism goes, Malkin’s continuing expose is pretty bad.  Look,for example, at what she writes:

Now, for a Burger King whopper:

FRANKEN: And about three weeks into the life of Air America, I became an involuntary investor. I stopped being paid.

So now, we started to make arrangements, and I didn’t know anything about this until late last week

Burger King whopper indeed.  Michelle, where’s the beef??

Al Franken didn’t know what until "late last week"?  We don’t know.  Malkin cuts Franken off mid-sentence (and doesn’t link to any source).  She assumes Franken was referring to when he found out about Cohen’s dubious loan years ago, although it’s quite possible that he was talking about when he learned of the Air America’s more recent "arrangements" to pay pack the loan.  How about the rest of the quote, citizen journalist?

So we’ve got a non-story (at least from a Franken-Air America culpability standpoint) hyped up by incomplete quotes and sloppy "journalism".

I don’t know.  It seems to me that if I robbed a bank, and gave some of the proceeds to the Red Cross (or whatever), the Red Cross (or whatever) is merely an unwitting beneficiary of my crime, but not a guilty participant.   So why all the finger-pointing at Franken and Air America?  Cohen, by all accounts (Franken’s, Malkin’s, and everybody in between) seems to be the central figure in this whole scandal.  But I never heard of him before, and I don’t care about him now.  And nothing Malkin has written makes me care.

Someone should tell Malkin that if she’s going to play "gotcha" journalism, she needs to have an actual thing to say "gotcha" about.  I think she’s merely excited that she got an "exclusive" not-for-public-consumption document without realizing that it doesn’t really advance the story. 

Judging from the trackbacks that link to her latest post, I get the impression that the right0sphere doesn’t exactly understand the lack of substance to Malkin’s story.  That doesn’t stop them from crowing how "Michelle nailed Franken" though.  It’s like they’re watching a cricket match — not knowing what is going on, but sensing that their side is scoring points.  Or as Glenn Reynolds says:

I HAVEN’T PAID MUCH ATTENTION to the Air America scandals, but Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney have been working hard on the story. It looks like their effort has paid off.

"Looks like" indeed.