Randi Rhodes, the outspoken afternoon host on Air America Radio, was violently attacked near her Manhattan apartment Sunday night while walking her dog, according to various reports.
Air America's Jon Elliott broke the news on his show last night, claiming that Rhodes was roughed up pretty bad, losing several teeth in the process. Rhodes is currently recovering at her Manhattan apartment and is not being hospitalized. She will likely be off the radio for at least the rest of the week while she recovers. Lionel filled in yesterday.
The attack occurred in the area of 39th St. and Park Ave., not the first place one would think a violent mugging would occur. Being three blocks from Grand Central Station, there's a lot of pedestrian traffic around there, especially tourists, and not the type of place some experienced mugger would assault someone, particularly when that someone was wearing a jogging suit, carrying no purse and walking a dog.
As of yet, no police report has been filed, and no suspects have been apprehended. One rumor claimed two people were involved in the attack on Rhodes, but that is unconfirmed. And with the lack of any suspects, there is no motive. She was beaten up pretty badly, but not sexually assaulted.
Whether this was a hate crime, related to what the always outspoken Rhodes says on the air, is unknown. It would not be out of the realm of possibility. Air America cohort Thom Hartmann reported on his show last Friday that his auto repairman, after installing a new windshield, discovered three bullet holes in his car. In August, gunshots were fired directly into the studio of KPFT, the Pacifica-owned station in Houston that has long been a victim of violent attacks. And of course, we all remember what happened to Alan Berg. But blaming a crazed right-winger in this case, at this early date, would be way too easy, particularly since there are no suspects in the attack as of yet, and certainly no evidence. Best to reserve judgement for now.
Rhodes has never been afraid to venture out into the real world, and has told many stories on the air about rarely being recognized on New York streets, unlike her other home in West Palm Beach, FL where she occasionally converses with listeners at the supermarket. Unlike many, more popular radio talk show hosts, she does not live as a recluse.
Needless to say, we'll be keeping an eye on this, and will pass along any updates. In the meantime, well-wishers can send cards, correspondence, etc. to Rhodes at this address:
C/O Air America Radio
641 6th Avenue
New York, New York 10011
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Randi Rhodes. We hope and pray for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: The Miami Herald has more.
The official word from Air America is as follows:
October 16-NEW YORK-On Sunday evening, October 14, Air America host Randi Rhodes experienced an unfortunate incident hindering her from hosting her show. The reports of a presumed hate crime are unfounded. Ms. Rhodes looks forward to being back on the air on Thursday.For at least today and tomorrow, Sam Seder will be filling in for Rhodes. And hopefully, Rhodes is feeling up to the task of returning by Thursday.
You'll notice that I did not try to assess any blame in my earlier post. Nor claim that this crime was politically-motivated. Let's be real - there is no suspect, and no evidence has been disclosed as of yet. Nobody knows why this happened.
Rhodes was obviously a victim of a terrible crime, but it appears some feel a bit more victimized. I hate to make this entry political, but I cringe at some of what is being said by right-wing bloggers and blog/board commenters. Apparently, only in Right-Wing World would people take a tragedy such as this, turn it around and spin it like a top to make it seem as if they're being victimized. Yes, your favorite righties are jumping all over various left-leaning bloggers, whining that they're trying to blame it on some crazed rightie. Just pathetic. I will give credit where due, though - at least Neocon News is acting with a little class.