Franken: 'Boring Corrections' and the Airwaves That Propagate Them - iMediaEthics

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Marshall Fine of New York’s newspaper The Journal News recently covered Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher’s show The O’Franken Factor, which airs on Air America Radio.

The O’Franken Factor, which airs daily for three hours, encompasses political discussions in what Fine calls an “attempt to create a liberal counterpoint to the massive conservative presence on the country’s talk-radio outlets.”

The show sets out to fight what Franken calls “the massive right-wing, pseudo-journalistic propaganda machine.”

“Air America Radio and The O’Franken Factor are less than two months old and already obituaries have been written” for it, Fine writes.

Most of the negativity has been generated by reports about financial problems and management shake-ups at the network … But the death notices, Franken asserts, are premature.

After Doug MacEachern, a writer for the Arizona Republic newspaper, wrote an opinion column “dissing [Al Franken’s] new radio network,” Franken himself called, seeking corrections.

MacEachern writes, “In my column on Sunday, I wrote that billionaire Bush-hater George Soros contributed $5 million to the start-up of liberal radio network Air America. He did not. He contributed $5 million to, one of the murky funnels for liberal campaign funds. But not to Air America.”

He continues to say, “Mr. Zero Spin tried to spin me. … He presented the lightest shade of gray as incontrovertible truth.”

MacEachern writes that Franken also sought a correction for the statement that Air America’s now-former CEO, Mark Walsh, and now-former director of programming, David Logan had both quit. Franken “explained that Walsh was staying on as a ‘senior adviser to the network,’ thus only one of them was in fact ‘quitting.’  This sort of hair-splitting is the very definition of fact-spinning. … If Mr. O’Franken tried to slip that sort of spinnage by, say, Bill O’Reilly, he’d get his left-leaning hat handed to him.”

It might be said that Franken was only holding other journalists up to the standard to which he adheres. The O’Franken Factor contains a segment (called “Boring Corrections”), where he corrects past errors made on the show.

“When we make a mistake, we correct it,” Fine quotes Franken as saying. “Of course, ours are innocent mistakes, as opposed to Sean Hannity [and] Rush Limbaugh.”

Franken mentioned Hannity frequently in his best-selling book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, which has been called by one editorial review on Internet bookseller “admirable in [its] attention to detail.”

Fine reports that Franken-purveyor Air America Radio “has more than a dozen stations around the country, with more on the way. It’s also featured on both XM and Sirius satellite radio networks and the programming is streamed live on the Internet. … Internet monitoring shows The O’Franken Factor receiving two million unique hits a month, by people who listen an average of 60 to 80 minutes at a time.”

And Franken might even consider a career in politics. Fine reports Franken is “being mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate from his native Minnesota.  A friend of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, Franken acknowledges that he’s considering a run against incumbent Norm Coleman in 2008.”

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Franken: ‘Boring Corrections’ and the Airwaves That Propagate Them

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