Updated on October 18 at 1:20 PM PDT. Update set in bold face italics
We just received the 1,400th comment to this post. Needless to say, this is a record for Talking Radio. It might even be a record for political blogs, although we can't confirm that. We can confirm that on October 16 this blog was visited over 200,000 times. This says a lot about the power of the internet.
Randi Rhodes was mugged on Sunday night on 39th Street and Park Ave, nearby her Manhattan apartment, while she was walking her dog Simon.
According to Air America Radio late night host Jon Elliott, Rhodes was beaten up pretty badly, losing several teeth and will probably be off the air for at least the rest of the week. At of late Monday night we have not able to locate any press accounts of the attack and nothing has been posted on the AAR website.
Several liberal blogs, including the Randi Rhodes Message Board and Democratic Underground have logged numerous posts on the Rhodes mugging with most of the posters expressing concern about the condition of the popular lib talker.
AAR's official blogger, Nancy Scola, posted the following message on the lib network's website this morning:
Morning talk host, Lionel filled in for Rhodes on Monday, but did not say anything about why she wasn’t on hand to do her show. The Randi Rhodes board reports that Sam Seder, who does a Sunday afternoon show for AAR, will be filling on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Elliott was extremely agitated when he reported on the incident. He opened his show by saying "it is with sadness that tonight I inform you that my Air America colleague Randi Rhodes was assaulted last night while walking her dog near her New York City home."
Pointing out that Rhodes was wearing a jogging suit and displayed no purse or jewelry, Elliott speculated that "this does not appear to me to be a standard grab the money and run mugging."
"Is this an attempt by the right wing hate machine to silence one of our own," he asked. "Are we threatening them. Are they afraid that we're winning. Are they trying to silence intimidate us."
Some of blog posters also expressed concerns that the attack on Rhodes was hate crime. Other posters warned that we need more facts before any judgements are made.
According to Elliott, Rhodes was resting in her New York City apartment and was not hospitalized.
Attacks on liberal talk radio stations and their hosts are not a new thing. About a month ago a gunman fired a shot through a window at the studios of KPFT, Houston’s, Pacifica station narrowly missing a DJ who was hosting music show at the time. There is currently a $10,000 reward offered to anyone who identifies the shooter.
This is not the first politically motivated attack on KPFT. More than 35 years ago, the Ku Klux Klan blew up the station's transmitters twice within the Houston station's first year on the air.
Also, shortly after AAR morning talk show host Thom Hartmann, started doing talk radio (about four years ago), he was told by auto mechanic that there were several bullet holes in his car.
"To this day I don't know if somebody shot out my car as kids joyriding with a pistol or rifle... or was a warning or statement of displeasure about my radio show," Hartmann told TR. "I've gotten a lot of death threats and hate mail over the years - hate mail is pretty much a norm in this business - but nobody has taken a shot at me or my car since 2003."
Talk show host, Tom Leykis, who known to express liberal views on his daily "hot talk show" was assaulted outside a Seattle bar three years ago by agitated radio listeners.
According to the Seattle Times, a witness reported two men were involved in the incident:
"…One of the men said to Leykis, "I called your show once and you called me" a name. "You had no right to do that." Then a man standing to Leykis’ left kicked him in the face. The blow knocked him to his knees, leaving his right knee scraped and bruised."
Last year Stephanie Miller received a death threat from a nut case in Ohio named "Sock" Sokolowski. Here's what the letter said in part.
"As with Cindy Sheehan the best thing that could happen to you would be seeing some WONDERFUL activist sticking an AK-47 up your Glory Holes and sending you into eternity" ---
Miller called Socko during her show (yes, he actually included his phone number in the letter) and Socko claimed several times during the phone call that he didn't threaten Miller in the letter.
(Socko is not to be confused with Spocko, who is a liberal blogger who was threatened by ABC Radio's lawyers after he posted a list of advertisers to Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan's conservative talk show on KSFO-AM in San Francisco.)
Apparently, some right-wing critics of lib talk aren’t happy that conservative talk only accounts for 90% of the programming on talk radio. These whack jobs appear determined to whatever it takes to silence the opposing point of view.
Not surprisingly, the only talk radio host killed for his political views was a liberal. In 1984, two right wing extremists gunned down Denver talk show host Alan Berg. Berg’s tragic murder was memorialized in a chilling movie Talk Radio