Flame Out? Or Set Up?
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2004, 5:46pm PT  

When DRUDGE talks, people listen. Despite Rush's claim to the contrary, it is Drudge that is "America's Assignment Desk".

Every newsroom, talk radio, newspaper, television station in America - and yes, even Rush himself - gets their daily assignments via Drudge's handpicked headlines. If you hear an interesting report on the radio, chances are Drudge had it first and that's where those guys found it.

So when Drudge declared the day before yesterday that "Liberal Radio Crashes and Burns!" - or whatever the sexy screaming headline was - without actually presenting both sides of the story,, leave it to every Conservative outlet, talking head, DittoHead in the country to run with it.

When you're starved for good news, you'll take anything you can get. "Conservatives" these days are, to say the least, hungry for anything to avoid the real shitstorm they're in the middle of.

For the record, Air America posted it's initial response yesterday on their website, explaining that the owner of the two stations in question that yanked AA from the air without warning did so "in violation of their contractual obligation". Whether that's true, I don't know. Though apparently the New York Supreme court agrees, at least enough to issue a restraining order forcing the station's owner to restore AA back to the Chicago station (over which, apparently, that court has jurisdiction). The Los Angeles case is still pending.

The AA press release to that effect is here. And also states in part:

The Sludge Report

After just two weeks on the air, Air America Radio, the fledgling liberal talk-radio network featuring Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, and that really loud woman from Florida, appears to have encountered serious cash-flow problems.

Stop the presses!!! There's nothing more exciting than half a story from a third hand source!!!!

Insiders tell SLUDGE, that the reason the network was pulled off the air this morning in Chicago and Los Angeles, the network's second- and third-largest markets, was because, the owner of both stations, Arthur Liu of Multicultural Broadcasting, said, the network bounced a check and owes him more than $1 million! The run-on sentence, tortured grammar and the exclamation point clearly means it's true!!

Only it isn't.

Normally we'd let this go because “habitual liars” like Drudge are laughable, and ridicule is our business.

But  Arthur Liu --- not funny. He lied to us, he ripped us off and now we're chasing him down with a pipe wrench. It's a metaphor.

Here's what really happened:

This Liu-ser was ripping off our boss Evan Cohen big time (he can't do that, that's our job). Evan found out about it and he stopped payment on a check to keep Liu-cifer from ripping him off even more. You can touch Evan for the occasional meal or drinks but a million bucks is crossing the line. And if we ever get low on cash, we can always call Barbra Streisand. Or any of the
Baldwins. Except Stephen.

So we got screwed, Liu'd, and tattooed. How Liu can you get? In Liu of payment. Liu'd and lascivious behavior. These write themselves. What we're getting at is that we hate him.

So now everyone's saying we're going down the dumper in Chicago and Los Angeles, but what they don't tell you is that we're still on in Portland. And we OWN Portland. And let's not forget Riverside and Plattsburgh. And New
York.  And streaming on the internet. And XM. And Sirius. Actually we're fine.

So cool your jets. Air America Radio isn't dead, we're in court and we're going to slam Liu's head in a car door. Another metaphor. We hope to be back on the air tomorrow or the next day in those markets.

In the meantime, why don't you give Arthur a call at (212)966-1059, or check out his website www.mrbi.net

Arthur Liu, I wouldn't show your face around here.

Or Riverside. Or Plattsburgh.

DEVELOPING……

So, what do you think? Were they right to have removed it? Should it have been posted in the first place? Or was it simply - for those who actually know and listen to Air America precisely what you've come to expect and appreciate from the insightful start-up with a sharp satirical edge?

The BRAD BLOG thinks it was pretty funny, and a taste of - at least Drudge's - own medicine. But by any standards, I'd think it's "gracefulness" and "professionalism" is certainly in question.

By way of full disclosure: I look eagerly towards AA's return to the LA market. It was, even with all it's various problems --- to be expected in it's nascent stages --- a heaven sent first step towards balancing the remarkable imbalance that is currently on our - theoretically public owned - airwaves. In the meantime, you may listen online any time at www.AirAmericaRadio.com and I recommend you do.