The Not Really a Story of the Day

Air America Host Randi Rhodes did not get mugged. But in a few short hours a story that she did get mugged, took off like wildfire across the blogosphere with bloggers on both sides flying off the handle.

Air America radio host Randi Rhodes is temporarily off the air, but claims she was brutally attacked near her Manhattan apartment are bogus, her lawyer and a police source said today.

Fellow host Jon Elliott claimed on the liberal radio network that Rhodes had been mugged while walking her dog, Simon, on Sunday night. Elliot, who said Rhodes lost several teeth in the attack, waxed about a possible conspiracy.

“Is this an attempt by the right-wing, hate machine to silence one of our own?” he asked on the air, according to Talking Radio, a blog. “Are we threatening them? Are they afraid that we’re winning? Are they trying to silence intimidate us?”


Still, the tale lived on in the blogosphere.

I didn’t comment on the story earlier today and now I have one thing to say, this over-zealous urge to break the news, and speculate on it is out of control. Just take a look at Memeorandum to see how overblown this story that wasn’t got, in just a short time.

Joe Gandelman and Dr. E both offer some good perspective on The Moderate Voice. And finally, John Cole on Balloon Juice wins for the advice of the day: “if you can’t understand how unhinged you look when a guy whose trademark is ‘Hot Air and Ill-Informed Banter’ feels it necessary to tell you to calm down, all is lost.”

Everyone should take a deep breath and get a little perspective. This is part and parcel of the “Partisanship Gone Crazy,” that I wrote about here a few days ago. It’s out of control.

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Not Really a Story of the Day

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    As one who helped broke that particular news, I see no offense in people hurrying to report things. But wild speculation is a disservice. Looking around the blogosphere, I really can’t recall lefty bloggers making accusations. Many cautioned readers to await facts before passing judgment..

    Sure, commenters ranged all over the place. Unless we have a heavy hand on the censor button, that’s just how the First Amendment works.

    Most bloggers lack journalist’s resources, especially editors insisting that everything be verified. So some of us ran it on the reasonable assumption that a talk show host in the same network was reporting inside info.

    He wasn’t. He since publicly apologized. Several bloggers have apologized for passing on Elliot’s words. But the fact is, even official journalists get burned by unreliable sources.

    I don’t think this was all about partisanship. Given that Thom Hartman found bullet holes in his car this past week, I think it was perceived as real news, that talk show hosts might be getting targeted, though I think we were careful to note that we needed more facts to reach conclusions.

    And when the facts arrived, we acted responsibly still.

    To me, overblown partisanship is when you just attack to win, with little regard for the merit of the argument. We were making no argument. We were reporting a perceived event that Elliot added an allegation too and we made the distinction clear. Then we learned even the event was untrue.

    Elliot was guilty of being overly partisan, Us bloggers were guilty of believing his ‘fact; and now we know his cred is shot. No one got hurt but Eliott.

  2. Kevin

    I hear you. I know a lot of liberal bloggers tried to act responsibly. Glad the truth came out as quick as it did. It’s just crazy after all the other partisan stuff going on for the past week or so. We all need a rest… don’t you think? 🙂

  3. Charles says:

    I agree with Kevin. If anyone is at fault, it is Jon Elliott. Mainstream media make mistakes all the time. The only difference here is that this was a story that generated a lot of emotion.

    The right-wing has been doing its best to generate an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. I collected dozens of excerpts of comments from Talking Radio in which people expressed emotions toward Randi’s injuries ranging from indifference to wishes that she had been killed. These were the *norm.* In this kind of hate-filled atmosphere, the speed of the spread of the story was, in my opinion, due to resentment of the repressive environment.

  4. Darrell Prows says:

    Yeah, I think Randi Rhodes got what she deserved. (Who is she?)

  5. Darrell

    All Randi got was that she fell down… She’s an Air American (Liberal) talk show host and much loved by progressives. Where have you been?

  6. Charles says:

    Darrell… who are you?

    One thing that’s pretty clear: you’re not someone with 1.5 million listeners on stations all across the country.

  7. Charles

    I agree, the fault lies wiht Elliot. My thought was simply how fast the hype and partisanship spreads in the blogosphere and it’s too much too fast sometimes.

  8. Darrell Prows says:

    1.5 liberal listeners. I’d live to hear it someone time. Think there’s any chance she’ll ever make it to Utah?

  9. Darrell

    You can live stream Air America via the internet here:

  10. Charles says:

    The time of the conservative one-party state is ending, Darrell. After just a few years of operation, Air America is already on in Denver, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Sheridan. Certainly a city that elected Rocky Anderson wants something other than right-wing monoculture. Someday you too may be forced to live in the fearful knowledge that a Salt Lake City radio station carries opinions other than those approved by the RNC.

  11. Charles

    Sad but true, Randi Rhodes has no affiliate stations in Utah, which is why I posted the link for Darrell.

    Of course on the flip side I live in L.A. where we have Talk Left Radio and it’s amazing how many democrats I talk to who still aren’t aware that we have the station here.

    Hopefully Darrell will check out Air America by livestream, because I’m sure, since he’s been around the Dem Daily for some time now, that he’ll enjoy listening.