Franken Solo Act Not Cutting It? Plus, Another Rhodes Mess
Think criticism of Al Franken's Air America Radio performance is limited to conservatives? Guess again: some of the strongest complaints are now coming from what should be leftist supporters.
Since co-host Katherine Lanpher departed Franken's show, regular message board contributors at Democratic Underground, a gathering place for lefty activists, have been outspoken with concern for his show's future.
While Lanpher's real reasons for leaving haven't been made clear (official excuse: to write a book), what's now apparent is that her role was more significant than previously recognized.
At least so far, there aren't any announced plans to replace her.
Can Franken handle hosting duties alone? Some thoughts on the subject, from established liberal DU posters:
--- Al Franken seems to be really struggling on his own. He needs a sidekick to do his job well. This is so sad. (Walt Starr kicks off thread here)
--- I was thinking the same thing. He may yet find his legs... ...But I wish he'd get a fireball sidekick....dunno who though. (MnFats)
--- I found Franken to be rather stoic and boring. I don't listen to him any longer and that woman, Laura Flanders I never liked at all - a "twit" for all practical purposes, not a "side kick". So Walt Starr you aren't alone here on the DU. (Count All Votes)
--- This is true-- as bright as he is...he just doesn't "get" radio or not working from a script. Never has from when he started out not knowing that when you eat on air every chew and mumble goes through the microphone.
From day one, Katherine kept the show rolling. She salvaged blown interviews, stopped him when his schtick wasn't working, filled dead air, and covered the eternal "ummm..." And made a joke out of his chewing and mumbling. Too bad he's the "star" they've been pushing. I enjoy Hartmann when he's filling in, and Rachel Maddow, if I'm up for the 5AM graveyard they stuck her in. And Garofolo, when she's not making a movie or TV show.
Me, around midday I listen to "Talk of the Nation" on NPR where Ray Suarez has great guests and knows how to interview them. (TreasonousBastard)
Of course, this conversation has conservative counterparts enjoying a good chuckle today. At FreeRepublic, a popular right-leaning discussion site, some of the comments were reproduced by "RFace" and discussed by others.
Meanwhile, more troubles today for loose cannon Randi Rhodes.
Today, the Radio Equalizer heard from several people who pointed to this apparently just-published September 26 letter from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):
We have received complaints about and ourselves are deeply troubled by your recent on-air comparison between the evacuation of victims of hurricane Katrina and the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz during World War II.
On the September 21 edition of your show, during a call from a listener about the New Orleans evacuations, you said:
"It reminds me of a little visit I made to the Holocaust museum, and I saw these cattle cars, and they took people to go on them but they didn't tell them where they were going…So what are you supposed to do? Just do a faith-based evacuation? [Mocking tone:] 'I'm sure he wouldn't send me to Auschwitz.'…
"…Think about it this way. People were taken one place. Their children were taken another place. This is so much like the Holocaust! I can't even -- You know, it's like, you're not supposed to forget the Holocaust so that it can't happen again. And here you have people being loaded onto transportation vehicles, not being told where they're going, and their children are being taken someplace else..."
While we appreciate the fact that talk radio is unscripted, the analogy comparing rescue operations --as mismanaged as they may have been --to Auschwitz deportations is a perversion of morality and history.
The government's flawed attempt was intended to save lives, not exterminate them. Hurricane Katrina shined a needed spotlight on the neglected issues of racism and poverty in America. The horrific images coming out of New Orleans speak for themselves of the distance we as a society have yet to travel in securing rights, freedoms, and dignity for all.
Nevertheless, the outpouring of support for Katrina's victims by Americans of every political, racial, religious and economic stripe provides a hopeful counterpoint in the midst of the disaster. By comparing the Katrina relief effort to the Holocaust, you demean decent Americans and the memory of six million Jews and others who died at the hands of the Nazis. We look forward to your response.
Could the public posting be related to a non-response from Rhodes? That would be our guess, otherwise, one could imagine her position being published here, as well.
One thing the ADL should know: while talk radio ordinarily is unscripted, at Air America, there are large support staffs with a substantial role in each program. So it isn't necessarily accurate to believe her comments are always off-the-cuff.
We could cut Rhodes a little slack, after all, keeping track of her latest on-air flaps requires a full-time staffer. Can that be slipped into Air America's next budget?
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Franken book cover reworking by David A Lunde.