Air escaping
Air America, the liberal radio network that supplies some programming to Reno radio station KJFK, has become involved in a dispute over some of its funding.

Early in its operation, the network’s then-corporate owner Progress Media reportedly received a transfer or loan of $875,000 from a Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. The Club, Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, is under investigation by New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer’s office for misuse of public funds and the Boys and Girls Club Federation of America may drop the club from its ranks.

Piquant LLC, which acquired Air America from Progress Media last year, has agreed to pay $875,000 to Gloria Wise, in installments over the next two years and has put $50,000 in escrow against those payments as a show of good faith—though Piquant maintains that the $875,000 is Progress Media’s responsibility.

The intersect between the Bronx Club and Air America that spurred the unusual transaction was apparently Evan Cohen, who was development director of the club and chief of Progress Media.

Conservative news outlets and the blogosphere have been going ape over the dispute, claiming that it was being covered up by the mainstream media.

Arizona Republic: “Liberal talk radio has values of Enron.” “The MSM [mainstream media] blackout of the Air America scandal has been nothing short of stunning.”

Idaho Mountain Express: “In other words, what did Al Franken know, and when did he know it?”

Franken hosts Air America’s flagship program, and though he is not involved in the management of the company, he took on the job of defending the network on his show, faulting Cohen: “He borrowed $875,000. I don’t know why they did it, and I don’t know where the money went.”

If there is a media coverup, it appears not to be a particularly skillful one, since stories on the matter have been reported or reprinted in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Wired News, Contra Costa Times, Newsday, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Aberdeen American News, Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Myrtle Beach Sun News, and about 30 other newspapers around the nation. Stories have also been posted on various television station Web pages. Bloggers say the affair should have reached critical mass sooner and take credit for forcing the story into the mainstream.