The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

04 April 2008

Liberals Debate Fate Of Randi Rhodes After Clinton Insults


Randi's Fate Still Unclear


One day after Air America libtalker Randi Rhodes was suspended for calling Hillary Clinton a "big f***ing whore", her on-air fate remains uncertain. Meanwhile, the left side of the Internet has been busy debating her actions and potential punishment. Could this be the end of the Rhodes?

Officially, the network's behavior has been peculiar, with a vague statement serving as its only public communication on the matter. And while it has allowed written comments on that press release, other Air America hosts have steered clear of it. That has especially been the case for Randi's fill-in host, Sam Seder, who deflected calls on the subject yesterday.

Rachel Maddow also avoided it entirely, a real mistake given red hot levels of listener interest. Lefty hosts still don't know a great topic even when it is right in front of them.

Especially bizarre is the continued silence on Randi's website, where there still isn't a word about it on the home page. In fact, it doesn't even mention her absence from the show! Only a search of discussion topics results in any information, but that comes from listeners.

In the four years that Air America has been in the talk radio business, this is the first suspension of any host for any reason, despite past rhetoric that is far more extreme than this example, especially from Randi herself. But the wild card is the revolving managerial door at the network, with the current regime quietly slithering in at a time when most had assumed AAR was dead and buried.

Given the two week delay and lack of complaints from event attendees, one wonders whether Air America suspended Rhodes to save much- needed cash or generate even more sorely- needed headlines. Because so many are under the impression that Air America shut down long ago, the publicity has provided a rare shot in the arm.

Or has it? Some liberals really did take offense at Randi's statement and are now busy debating whether she has a future in liberal talk radio. If the suspension kills off Air America's "star" host, then nothing has been gained.

At the same time, it's hard to trust some of the "progressive" voices jumping out of the gate given that all would insist Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and others on the right be fired for the same offense.

Others have also begun liberal talk shows (or aspire to do so) and probably wouldn't mind moving up into Randi's key afternoon drive slot. So Randi now has more to worry about from backstabbers on her own side than anyone on the right.

Leading off on the left, Geraldine Ferraro has called for Randi's outright termination. If anybody has a right to do so, it's the former VP candidate, who was called "David Duke in drag" during the now- infamous Rhodes tirade. Thanks to Johnny Dollar, we have the full video clip of her Hannity & Colmes appearance (transcript here):

Meanwhile, at the Huffington Post, fellow (though non-AAR) ├╝ber- partisan libtalker Bill Press weighs in with a piece that attempts to both appease the left and slam Randi at the same time:

First of all, let me say, I'm a big fan. I listen to Randi whenever I can. She's a great broadcaster, and a passionate liberal. Day in and day out, nobody's a more effective critic of George W. Bush. And nobody's a more convincing supporter of Barack Obama.

But Randi went over the line in calling Hillary Clinton "a big f***ing whore." Sure, she's got a right to say it. But it was not right to say it, especially not right for someone who represents Air America and all of progressive radio.

Unfortunately, as I've learned on my radio show, too many Obama supporters don't understand that in order to love Barack Obama, you don't have to hate Hillary Clinton.

They don't think it's good enough to build up Barack Obama. They think it's necessary to destroy Hillary Clinton, too.

While Press doesn't want Rhodes fired, fellow HuffPo contributor Earl Ofari Hutchinson doesn't share that view:

Air America yak jock should not have been suspended. She should have been canned. That will never happen though. After her moment kid slap, she'll be back on the Air America airwaves with more, albeit slightly toned down until the heats off, ritual diatribes against Hillary Clinton. Rhodes got the momentary bump from the microphone for obliterating the line of public decency by calling Clinton and Clinton backer Geraldine Ferraro every bleeped out word in the book in a public appearance on behalf of Air America.

Rhodes' Don Imus like foul mouthed rant is SOP for a core of so called progressive writers that post on the Huffington Post, and write for the Nation, Mother Jones, Daily Kos, the Underground Democrat, and a handful of other leftist sites. They have feasted at the hate Hillary trough. Their shrill diatribes, name calling, slanders, slurs, distortions and flat out lies should make the hard guys at Fox Network turn red faced.

One time radical Jane Fonda kicked off the progressive's clinical obsession with Clinton bashing some months ago when reports surfaced in the Guardian and other on-line sites that Fonda called Clinton a ventriloquist for the patriarchy with a skirt and a vagina. Fonda hotly denied that she said anything of the sort.

And at Blog Critics, Robert K Blechman has written a thoughtful piece on the legal implications of Randi's rhetoric:

When our founding fathers added the First Amendment to the Constitution, they didn't anticipate two things: first, that there would someday be radio and radio talk shows, and second, that there would someday be YouTube. If they had, they would have included a clause like, "Freedom of speech shall not be abridged, except when talk show hosts use foul language when describing a political candidate and the whole thing is captured on video and shown on YouTube."

Surely the owners of liberal talk radio network Air America were thinking of this Constitutional omission when they suspended Ms. Rhodes. But let's be clear about the intent here. No one would argue that these prominent politicos, Ferraro and Clinton, are literally whores in the Eliot Spitzer sense of the term. If you go to YouTube and watch the video (14,907 views as of 2:40 on Thursday) it is clear that Ms. Rhodes was using the term to mean that these women will "sell" themselves to the highest bidder for political advantages.

How else to explain Ms. Clinton's recent decision to appear before Richard Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board? I would argue that that appearance makes Ms. Clinton less of a whore and more of a hooker, but let's not quibble over technicalities.

Your Radio Equalizer's guess is that Air America will find a reason to bring Rhodes back after a brief absence. There's too much to gain from the publicity surrounding her return (see Imus) and too much to lose if the "progressive" base turns against the network after her potential termination.

One wild card: whether Randi's big mouth sends her straight to the unemployment line.

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    I had this fuzzy recollection of someone else also calling various respectable people whores, but had trouble remembering who it was.

    Then it hit me: Fred Phelps, the so-called "minister" of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, the guy whose group protests military funerals and was going to protest the Amish victims killed by the driver of a motor vehicle, calling the Amish victims whores.

    Randi and Fred, what a pair!

    By Blogger Missouri Show Me, at 04 April, 2008 21:24  

  • Subject: Randi Rhodes

    Sure, she uttered a nasty phrase about Hillary Clinton - but, my gosh, is that enough to get you suspended? Come on - Air America, get over it - I, for one, bought XM radios for both my cars just so I could listen to Air America and especially Randi and Rachel - not Tom; or Shultz, etc.

    Stand behind your ALL STARS - get her back on the radio and forget political correctness. What a sham the Execs at Air America are to pull this stunt - seems as those they want Air America off the air. I know I don't listen anymore - not until Randi is back on and Rachel follows her show.

    Two of your biggest stars - and you suspend one???

    Kay Nelson
    Military Wife; Military Mother; Military Grandmother;

    PS: I am a Hillary supporter - my God, if Hillary is to be President, surely she can take more harsher words than Randi can throw at her! We are all big girls now - get over your chauvinism.

    By Blogger Kay Nelson, at 09 April, 2008 15:32  

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