Air America's Randi Rhodes Assaulted; Second Air America Host Blames "Right Wing Hate Machine"

***Bumped and Updated***

I was shocked to hear about Randi Rhodes being attacked on Sunday night. I sincerely hope she will be alright. She must have been terrified. But I was equally shocked when I read that her co-host, Jon Elliot insinuated that the “right wing hate machine” was behind it. What an irresponsible, unfounded, and, not to mention, completely paranoid thing to say:

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.”

One the one hand, it infuriates and offends me that he would automatically assume that it was a right winger who did this. There are all sorts of crazy types in New York City who have attacked innocent people unprovoked. On the other hand, I feel sorry for him and others on the left who live their lives in fear that some made up, figment of their imagination “right wing hate machine” is out there lurking in the shadows waiting to “silence” them.

Bithead at Bitsblog agrees with me that the whole idea that the “right wing hate machine” was behind Randi’s attack is, well, ridiculous. And, I know, I know, I shouldn’t be so shocked that some on the left would say that the right was responsible for it, but I just can’t help it. The accusation that some kind of clandestine, organized “right wing hate machine” plotted to “silence” Randi is so paranoid that it borders on psychotic.

Update: Well, it turns out that Randi Rhodes was not mugged. She fell while walking her dog:

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.

Rhodes’ lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog. He said she’s not sure what happened, and only knows that she fell down and is in a lot of pain. The lawyer said Rhodes expects to be back on the air Thursday. He stressed there is no indication she was targeted or that she was the victim of a “hate crime.”

I’m glad to hear she wasn’t mugged, but Mr. Elliot and the other leftist bloggers and commenters who went completely off the deep end on this non-story need to apologize to conservatives for their irresponsible and offensive accusations that right wingers were behind her non-existent attack. Of course, I won’t hold my breath that they will.

Update II: Captain Ed:

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.

Indeed. They have no shame.

Update III: Vodkapundit offers a “correction”:

CORRECTION: It has come to our attention that had Rhodes been mugged, the savage act would have been committed by a pack of drooling reactionaries. So while the original story was fake, it remains, and shall remain, accurate. We regret the error.

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