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August 11, 2005
Air America: Garbo Gray Lady Speaks!

The New York Times has ended its hermitage in tomorrow's edition by finally reporting on the financial scandal in its own back yard. Alan Feuer reports on the ongoing Air America funding scandal, and manages to make it more boring than a blotter report for a weekly suburban freebie:

The state attorney general's office and the city's Department of Investigation are looking into whether a boys and girls club serving poor children and ailing elderly people in the Bronx had improper financial dealings, including loans to the Air America radio network, state and city officials said yesterday.

The separate investigations are trying to determine whether the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, run from an office in Co-op City in the Bronx, made improper loans of up to $875,000 to the radio network, known for its liberal programming and hosts like the comedian Al Franken, the officials said.

Investigators from the charities bureau of the attorney general's office, which oversees about 60,000 nonprofit agencies in the state, requested documents from the club last week but have yet to receive them, state officials said. Historically, the charities bureau has required nonprofit agencies caught up in financial improprieties to make compensation for any misspent money and to institute tighter fiscal controls.

My, but Feuer sets us alight with his prose. He does rewrite history through selective recounting of the facts rather well, however:

The allegations of financial mismanagement at Gloria Wise came to light in June, when the Department of Investigation announced in a letter to the club that all city agencies were canceling their contracts with Gloria Wise and an affiliate, the Pathways for Youth Boys and Girls Club, because officials at the clubs had "approved significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various city agencies."

Well, that's true as far as it goes. Perhaps the initial DOI announcement occurred in June. However, no one linked it to Air America and the shady loans made through the ethically challenged connection of Evan Cohen until it surfaced in a local Bronx newspaper and recounted by the Daily News in late July. If Brian Maloney hadn't pushed it in the blogosphere, it wouldn't have been noticed at all.

Besides, that just makes it even worse for the Times -- now they've ignored the story for two months instead of two weeks.

At least they covered it to some extent. Michelle Malkin notes that Feuer and the Paper of Record manage to screw up a transcript, though, and in a way that makes a significant change in a quote. The worst part of the report is the lack of investigative vigor displayed. There isn't a fact written that hasn't been on the blogs for at least 48 hours.

Well, it's a start. Knowing the Times, it's probably a finish, too.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 11, 2005 10:31 PM

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