Earlier today, the port side of the blogosphere erupted in righteous indignation as reports that Air America radio host Randi Rhodes got mugged began to swirl. Many bloggers started blaming a nameless conservative mugger, and then began extending the indictment to the entire conservative movement. It served their prejudices to think that conservative meanies would lay in wait for Rhodes just to keep her from speaking Truth to Power, etc etc etc.
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?"
A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging. Cops from Manhattan's 17th Precinct called her attorney, who told them Rhodes was not a victim of a crime, the source said.
So what are we to make of this?
1. Air America lies, even when stories involve their own personnel. No one thought to give Randi a call to see how she was doing before Elliot decided to air his report? And no one thought to do so afterwards? The police ended up calling to see why no one reported the incident to them. That's just marvelous journalistic ethics.
2. Anyone who thinks that bigotry has no place in the liberal mindset has -- once again -- just received a material lesson to the contrary. Even without knowing anything about the attacker, several bloggers just decided that it had to be a politically motivated assault by a conservative. That's not leaping to conclusions, that's flying at jet speed to Paranoialand.
3. How long do you think it will take for these same bloggers to offer an apology -- one not accompanied by a litany of rationalizations about how mean conservatives are, and how it was impossible not to convict an entire class of people for an imaginary crime? Longer than the next time they trot out an argument for innocent-until-proven-guilty for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, I'd bet.
What an embarrassment, especially for Air America. They have once again demonstrated why no one listens to them, and it has nothing to do with the Fairness Doctrine. It has everything to do with credibility. They can't even do fact-checking with their colleagues, let alone anywhere else.
Addendum: I'm sorry to hear that Rhodes injured herself in a fall, and hope she feels better soon. I'm glad that she apparently still has all her teeth, too.