April 4, 2008

Air America suspends Randi Rhodes for using nasty language not on her show, but in a comedy performance.

How incredibly pathetic. It's a comedy routine, using exaggerated language, insulting Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro in a style similar to the way Kathy Griffin insults Hollywood celebrities. Doesn't Air America know anything about comedy? (oh wait....)

Here's the offending routine (NSFW). I'm not saying this routine is very good, but it's obviously in a comedy genre that is quite common, and comedians need some room to breathe.



Here's the official response from Air America, which notes that Rhodes was appearing "on behalf of Air America" at an event "sponsored by an Air America affiliate station." Good luck inspiring comedy from your on-air personalities after this... not that you were getting much of it before.

69 comments:

Bob said...

Gee, she's been bashing the Right like this all along, and no reaction from management; bash a Clinton, though, and *draws finger across throat*

Fen said...

She's an idiot, but suspending her is ridiculous. She was appearing on some San Fran comedy stage, not the public airwaves.

Meade said...

That went on way too long for optimal comedy.

rhhardin said...

Al Franken sometimes mocks himself, which means he's the only one up there that's possibly worth listening to.

Except he got in a solid anti-right groove on the air and so was unlistenable.

I think the trouble is that the audience is humorless, more than the performers, who presumably can switch to whatever sells.

Al Franken on Imus with a little self-mocking. Nov 11 2005

Middle Class Guy said...

According to one of the reports yesterday, the Chairman of Air America, Charlie Kireker, is a Clinton supporter. She violated the one and only rule of Liberalism- never, ever, insult a Clinton. The iron fist of the Clintons is everywhere. I really hope Ms. Rhodes takes a stand and refuses to apologize; unlike those girly men Matthews and Shuster.

Geraldine Ferraro was on TV- AGAIN-yesterday responding to this and then AGAIN defending her racial comments. That woman gets anymore face time they should just give her a show.

Middle Class Guy said...

Bob said...
Gee, she's been bashing the Right like this all along, and no reaction from management...


Um, Bob, ah, Air America? It was created to bash the Right. That is its purpose. It is a counter to Right talk radio.

Roger said...

This was a comedy show--a bit over top, perhaps, but a comedy show. Had she said this on Air America, then she probably should be suspended. But she didnt.

Bob said...

Middle Class Guy: Um, Bob, ah, Air America? It was created to bash the Right. That is its purpose. It is a counter to Right talk radio.

MC Guy, here's the statement by Rhodes' boss, Kireker:

"Air America encourages strong opinions about public affairs but does not condone such abusive, ad hominem language by our Hosts."

You'll notice there's no wingnut exception mentioned.

rdkraus said...

Either:

1. She did this on purpose. It's the most attention AA has had in months (years?); I thought they went under.

or

2. You can't bash the people who, through their supporters and surrogates, created and are paying for AA.

rhhardin said...

but does not condone such abusive, ad hominem language by our Hosts.

I suppose you could respond that an ad hominem argument was a classical style that meant appealing to the interests and conceits of the opponent, not insulting him, as you don't need me to tell you.

My favorite example :

``Some time since I had a pleasant discussion with a university professor who held that faith and knowledge are in inverse ratio. As the area of knowledge enlarges, he claimed that of faith diminishes correspondingly. Once people accepted by faith what has since become known, and science has thus made faith superfluous in all such things. The professor admitted, however, it was not likely that knowledge would ever entirely banish faith; there would still remain some unexplored regions where faith could find room, and so preachers could still find a field for their activities. I came back at this professor with an argumentum ad hominem, "Is it true," said I, "that the more knowledge your wife has of you, the less faith she has in you? And is it true that the more you know of her, the less faith you have in her? In your home are faith and knowledge in inverse ratio? If so, I pity you both." It is not true that knowledge excludes faith. The more you know of your family physician, the more faith you have in him. The more soldiers know of their general, the greater their faith in him; else the army is in a bad way. The more we know of our friends the more faith we have in them. The greater a man’s knowledge of nature, the greater his faith in nature. Intelligent faith is not weaker than ignorant faith.''

ricpic said...

Maybe she was suspended for her crimes against comedy.

Susan said...

Oh, sure, she's a f***ing whore NOW, but imagine if Barrack Obama had never come along. Clinton would have the nomination wrapped up and Randi would be calling for the firing of anyone making sexist remarks against her gal Hillary.

Middle Class Guy said...

After watching the video again, I found the remark that caused the real problem. She touted Sheyl Crow over Hillary. She is lucky she is still alive for that.

Hey Bob,
The whole reason for Air America is to promote "progressive"- whatever that means- strong opinions on public policy. It is why it was created. They would never harm anyone for bashing the right. It is their whole reason for being. BTW, I have listened to it.

vnjagvet said...

Had she been suspended for being spectularly "not funny", AA might have a point.

As it is, not so much.

Middle Class Guy said...

Of course, she could have been suspended for calling Hillary a "Big F@#$ing whore. It wan't calling her a whore or a f@#$ing whore that offended her. It was being called big. Hillary is probably sensitive about that whole big woman thing.

rhhardin said...

Air America was created as a legal campaign contribution, is the explanation I like best.

Profit isn't material.

Middle Class Guy said...

rhhardin said...
Air America was created as a legal campaign contribution, is the explanation I like best.



I always thought is was created to bring a bit of boredom into our exciting lives.

rhhardin said...

An insulting argument would be contra hominem, not ad hominem, assuming contra takes the accusative.

But what are the alternatives? Dative and ablative, which don't seem likely.

I suppose it's possible to look up.

MadisonMan said...

A minor radio network suspends a minor host. And we should care because...?

John Z. said...

This reminds me of an old Onion headline: Marilyn Manson Going Door to Door Trying to Shock People.

It's the only way she and Air America can get in the news. How pathetic.

Elliott A said...

It is kind of funny to see political correctness bite the left for a change, with Rhodes and Ferraro. Political correctness is the greatest danger to freedom of speech and greatest snuffer of public discourse in our country. It may have not produced the outrage if the routine actually had any humor. Some of the older Imus stuff was hilarious. Each grouping of people, either race, sex, or ethnicity, along with most professions have idiosyncracies which to all other groups are their least admirable traits. When done in fun, not in hate, everyone should be able to enjoy the humor and get over the sensitivity.

What someone says in a private venue should not affect their on air status. Her twelve listeners deserve to have her back.

jeff_d said...

I don't get how Air America is in the wrong. As I understand it, Rhodes works for Air America as the host of a program in which she comments on public policy issues. She is employed essentially as an advocate of Air America's public policy agenda.

As a spokesperson for Air America's public policy agenda, Ms. Rhodes is obviously compromised when she makes nasty, vulgar comments about a political figure, especially when she does so while representing the network. She is less credible as a serious voice on public policies, just as any commentator using such language would be - left or right.

Air America is perfectly within its rights to make the sound business decision to disassociate itself from such ugly, low-brow attacks. It has nothing to do with appreciating comedy or free speech. If Ms. Rhodes wants the full artistic license of a standup comic, she should relinquish her status as a public policy advocate.

vet66 said...

I'm still tyring to figure out the difference between what Imus said as compared to what Randi Rhodes said.

She cheapens the culture, as do many foul-mouthed intellectual lightweights these days.

Leave her on the air. She is the best advertising available, besides the gay pride parades in the Bay Area, as to why the left cannot be taken seriously.

This type of behavior trying to pass for comedy is exactly why I don't spend time or money in the Bay Area.

On another note, the latest Absolut vodka ad may keep me out of any sanctuary cities in the U.S.

Irene Done said...

Remember a few months ago when Rhodes couldn't host her show for a few days. There was a report that she had been attacked. Then the story changed and it was claimed she fell while walking her dog. I don't think it was ever really explained but she busted a few teeth and was unable to work.

This suspension is so uncharacteristic of Air America and the explanation makes no sense. It makes me wonder if something's wrong with Rhodes. Maybe this is all simply an excuse for Air America to push her to the side.

Jason said...

Here's the result of just 10 minutes of listening to Air America's Matt Malloy Show a few years ago:

"If you are a Republican, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you are married to a Republican, if you are the son or daughter of a Republican, if you have a Republican friend, if you work for a Republican, if you hire a Republican, you should be ashamed of yourself. All Republicans are thieving, murdering, lying, stealing, snakes. All of them. All of them. I don't care if they're a "moderate" Republican. A snake is a snake."


"[Republicans] are the modern version of Nazi brownshirts. These are the people who dragged Jews out into the street and beat them. These are the people who dragged the Jews into the death camps."

"There is no slippery, rubbery corpse upon which Dick Cheney will not stand. He will stand on brains and blood and guts and the corpses of children."

"We have a pig in office...There's no point in referencing Hitler when referring to this man [Dick Cheney]. He is far beyond anything Hitlerian."

"American Nazis like Dick Cheney do not have to obey the law. Dick Cheney is a filthy, piggish liar."

"And the neo-con...er, the Zionists. Did you ever think you would see Zionists and Nazis aligned? This is how sick it's gotten in this country."

"Cheney is a vicious, vicious man. He is a mass murderer."

"Cheney is a man motivated by greed and blood. He is a vampire. He is an eater of human flesh. He is a drinker of blood. He is a destroyer."



First posted here: http://iraqnow.blogspot.com/2004/09/calling-mr-godwin.html

I was offended then, and I'm not easily offended. And Rhodes got suspended for this?

She should have gotten suspended years ago because she's stupid, addle-brained, gullible, not funny, and her show sucks.

But for this? Air America's intellectually and bankrupt in more ways than I can count.

rhhardin said...

I'm still tyring to figure out the difference between what Imus said as compared to what Randi Rhodes said.

Media Matters was behind Imus's troubles, working at the time for team Hillary. The remark was just something to seize on, and offered to Al Sharpton. (Imus wouldn't let Hillary on the show, but let Obama on. Hence the problem with Imus.)

Rhodes would be Clinton working on her own, as I think Media Matters has flipped to Obama.

Trooper York said...

Randi Rhodes has a right to say whatever stupid stuff comes into her head, but don't suspend her because of her comedy performance. Everybody knows women aren't funny.

Meade said...

I loved Lucy. She was funny.

Trooper York said...

Physical comedy is not what we are talking about. It's always funny when a beautiful women gets hit in the face with a pie. Or works a conveyor belt and has to stuff chocolates in her bra. If you think woman can be funny, I have two words for your:

Janeane Garofalo

Elliott A said...

rhhardin.....

Hillary refused to go on Imus forever. He continually talked about how she wouldn't come on. Not the other way around.

Middle Class Guy said...

Jason said...
But for this? Air America's intellectually and bankrupt in more ways than I can count.


Jason, you do not understand how "these" people think. If Ms. Rhodes had made those remarks on her radio show she would have been ok. That is what they think the public air waves are for. You are not supposed to make crude, defamatory, salacious, or slanderous statements off air.

Norman Rogers said...

Ann, you're wiser and more considerate than I would have been.

How does one look at a liberal potty mouth who potty mouths at other liberals?

With scorn, sir! With scorn!

What does a person have to do to get fired these days? A suspension says, "winky-winky, you're naughty, oh so very naughty, can't wait for you to come back to worky and see a bump in the attention given to you, hee hee hee!"

It's dishonest is what it is.

I do know a woman who works in the entertainment industry as an agent and she says that, one time, she met this "Kathy Griffin" and that the stench from her armpits was enough to make people vomit.

What is it with these people? Haven't they heard of soap?

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...
If you think woman can be funny, I have two words for your:

Janeane Garofalo


Rosie O'Donnell, Margaret Cho, Roseanne, Paula Poundstone...

Phyllis Diller was funny and so was Totie Fields.

Original Mike said...

I love Blue on Blue.

Meade said...

No, Middle Class Guy, none of those women were funny. Gilda Radner though, SHE was funny.

rhhardin said...

Elliott A said...

rhhardin.....

Hillary refused to go on Imus forever. He continually talked about how she wouldn't come on. Not the other way around..


Um, can you do audio?

Donald Trump talking to Imus on the Friday after Nappy Wednesday, before the sh*t had really hit the fan.

He had called on Tuesday on behalf of team Hillary, and got turned down. On Wednesday team Hillary struck.

Trooper York said...

I will admit that Gilda was amusing. Especially because she was so sweet and mischievous. You had to smile at her just because of her. She was great. But gut busting, pee in your pants, can't catch your breath comedy, not so much.

MadisonMan said...

I love Blue on Blue

Fixed.

Original Mike said...

On second thought, not so much.

Middle Class Guy said...

Irene Done said...
This suspension is so uncharacteristic of Air America and the explanation makes no sense. It makes me wonder if something's wrong with Rhodes. Maybe this is all simply an excuse for Air America to push her to the side.



AA, through its new ownership, is seeking respectability. There was a financial scandal under the old management- prior to them almost going under- that hit the news and gave them a real black eye.

They do not understand, and never did, that what makes talk radio work is not the issues, it is the personalities. Rush Limabugh is not popular because he is Conservative or a policy wonk. He is popular because he is Rush Limabugh.

Irene Done said...

MCG -- I'm familiar with AA's past financial problems but I think there's more going on here than bad language or pro-Clintonism or even a financial/respectability issue. Rhodes' recent behavior has to be considered too, doesn't it?

Middle Class Guy said...

irene done said...
Rhodes' recent behavior has to be considered too, doesn't it?


I am not familiar with any other behavior issues concerning Ms. Rhodes. She is no better or worse than Michael Savage and he, for some unknown reason, is still on the air. Imus got away with verbal murder on and off the air for years. Matt Malloy is a raging lunatic.

If Randi Rhodes had made those same comments about Laura Bush or John McCain's wife would she have been suspended?

Original Mike said...

If Randi Rhodes had made those same comments about Laura Bush or John McCain's wife would she have been suspended?

Rhetorical question, right? That kind of stuff is her stock and trade. It's the target that's caused the uproar.

Irene Done said...

I'm not talking about her on-air behavior. I'm talking about this in particular. It's something that would seem to indicate a problem. Since a colleague wildly guessed that Rhodes had been attacked by a right-wing nutjob, it was kinda embarrassing for AA.

I'm only bringing this up because that San Francisco event doesn't seem like enough to get someone suspended from AA. So now I'm wildly guessing that her employer had concerns about her before the Hillary comments and that Rhodes might have been on a short leash.

I'll give it a rest though. I don't like Rhodes or her show but this whole thing makes me sad for her.

Middle Class Guy said...

Original Mike said...
Rhetorical question, right? That kind of stuff is her stock and trade. It's the target that's caused the uproar.


Absolutely. Thou shalt not insult or demonize a Clinton. It is almost illegal. It is on par with a hate crime. It can also be hazardous to your career.

rcocean said...

Funny women:

-Gilda Radner
-Kathy Griffith
-Sarah Silverman
-Ann Coulter
-Laura Ingraham
-Rita Rutner

Not Funny:

-Rosanne
-Lorraine Newman
-Poundstone
-DeGenneres
-Garafalo
-Totie Fields

I'm leaving out women who are comedic actresses: Gracie Fields, Carol Burnett, Lucy, etc.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wow. Sometimes I'm a dunce of a reader. The title of the post Air American suspends... made me think the airline refuses to let her fly, which struck me as overly harsh and probably illegal. Duh.

I don't care about blue on blue. it's annoying, rather like watching my sisters fighting. They were unbelievably irrational. But now they're not, well, one of them grew out of it.

Doyle said...

Love that censorship tag!

john said...

Irene,

I followed your argument. Sorry that others didnt bother to read what you said before going off again on their rant.

Funny women:

Terri Gar
Nia Vardalos
and Lainie Kazan, who gets another star for being the most outright sexiest singer ever:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5FIjvDhpvA

garage mahal said...

Absolutely. Thou shalt not insult or demonize a Clinton. It is almost illegal. It is on par with a hate crime. It can also be hazardous to your career.

Yep, if you can't call them fucking whores, racists, drug runners, murderers, or pimps what CAN you call them!

Well, at least this time she didn't get hammered, fall and knock out her teeth and blame it on a right wing mugger.

Middle Class Guy said...

garage mahal,
If a Liberal can't tell the truth about other Liberals, who can?

garage mahal said...

MCG
True, if you can dream it, a Clinton can be guilty of it. Funny that aside from the usual dead-enders who think Bill Clinton's cock is a WMD, the vitriol isn't even coming from Republicans, it's coming from Democrats.

Synova said...

Every word out of her mouth was a lie anyhow. She was making factual claims... Cheney moved to Wyoming so he'd never have to see a black face? Does anyone actually claim Cheney is racist? And Ferraro is racist? She thinks that a great deal of Obama's appeal is that he's black, that if he weren't black people would not have noticed him *at this time*. And she openly says that *she* would not have been picked for VP had she been male. She could be wrong, but is it racist? No. It's not.

And that's all I could listen to.

People were laughing? How was any of that funny? It wasn't clever. It wasn't even jokes. Letterman's jokes about McCain were funny. Mostly they were very funny because they were very true. (And McCain's response less funny because they were less true.) This isn't funny and the lack of funny has nothing to do with who she was saying bad stuff about. It has to do with not being funny because what she was saying *wasn't* true, insightful, or clever.

Original Mike said...

This isn't funny and the lack of funny has nothing to do with who she was saying bad stuff about. It has to do with not being funny because what she was saying *wasn't* true, insightful, or clever.


I listened to Randi Rhodes a fair amount when AA started (until I couldn't listen anymore). It really left me wondering about the people who, apparently, eat this stuff up. The only conclusion I could come to was that they have a huge amount of pent up anger.

former law student said...

synova, in her interview with the Daily Breeze, Ferraro clearly implied Obama did not deserve to be the front runner, that the voters were giving him extra credit for being a black man, a sort of Democrat Affirmative Action. This is envy tinged with more than a little racism:

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color), he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

If being black were such a benefit for national office, there would have been more than three black Senators since the Reconstruction era. In contrast, since women got the vote there have been 35 women Senators, including the incumbents from my home state. Hillary is the lucky one. Her time at Yale Law school (no Law Journal) was notable for her earning her M.R.S degree, which has been chiefly responsible for her success in life.

Synova said...

And?

Are we supposed to pretend that people are not "caught up in the concept" of a black president?

I don't know how you can say they aren't.

blake said...

I love Paula Poundstone. Her "Cats, Cops and Stuff" show cracks me up every time. I loved her short-lived TV series, too.

Sarah Silverman also makes me laugh. I don't know how her humor will wear, though, since there's the shock factor.

"Red Eye" has on a lot of funny, funny women. Kerry Howley and Alison Rosen are both a hoot, even if not comediennes.

Frangelina, though? Very good comedy team.

Amy Schumer, often hilarious on the show, but from what I've seen around the web, sorta "meh" otherwise.

Michelle Collins is also very funny on RedEye.

I never thought Radner was that funny. Jane Curtin was a great "straight man", which has to count for something. A lot of pretty good women stand-up's in the '80s, Carol Leifert, Rita Rudner, Elayne Boozler--and Cho used to be funny. Garofalo, too!

And, of course, a lot of good comedic actress--like we were just talking about Carole Landis in Turnabout. Or, say, Marion Mack in The General.

But it's a different art with women, I think.

sonicfrog said...

I listened to Randi Rhodes a fair amount when AA started (until I couldn't listen anymore). It really left me wondering about the people who, apparently, eat this stuff up.

Apparently, not many. We had AA in Fresno a couple of years ago. It lasted about a year. It was occasionally mildly amusing, but mostly arcane and vacuous, void of any intellectual merit. It was basically the mirror image of the very worst tendencies of Rush and Hannity, but from the rabid liberal POV. Most of it, especially Rhoads and Malloy, was pathetic.

PS. Funny women:

Madeline Kahn
Teri Garr
Cloris Leachmann (detecting a theme yet)
Judi Tenuda
Gilda & Lucy
Margarett Chow, 15 years ago.

sonicfrog said...

PS. She HAS said MUCH worse on the air.

rcocean said...

I almost forgot, "French and Saunders" from the UK and Tracy Ulmann - all funny.

Revenant said...

Rosie O'Donnell, Margaret Cho, Roseanne, Paula Poundstone

I honestly couldn't tell if you meant this list to refute the "women aren't funny" claim... or support it. :)

Revenant said...

Ferraro clearly implied Obama did not deserve to be the front runner, that the voters were giving him extra credit for being a black man, a sort of Democrat Affirmative Action.

Yeah, and she was right.

Obama is the front-runner because he's getting virtually all of the black vote. Now, considering that his positions on "black" issues are no different from Hillary's, and considering that the Clintons were enormously popular with black Americans... tell me, what do YOU think the reason for Obama's enormous success with black voters is? (hint: its his skin color)

If Obama was white and otherwise had exactly the same personality and positions, Hillary would have already wrapped up the nomination.

Patm said...

Once again, someone saying something unpleasant about Hillary is silenced. Rhodes talks a lot about wishing Bush was dead, and no one's ever tried to shut her up about that.

But say something about Hillary, and the rest is silence. She ought to think about that.

Trooper York said...

Margarett Chow, 15 years ago.

You are on the wrong thread dude.

blake said...

Excellent point about Ullman, French & Saunders, and let's not forget '70s sexpot Joanna Lumley, who became the other half of "Absolutely Fabulous".

libhom said...

I think it's so funny that people talk as if Hillary Clinton and the right are some how opposing camps when Ms. Clinton is part of the right.

Trooper York said...

You guys are pulling every comic actress out of your ass to prove that woman are funny. It just ain't so. They can't get on stage and work a routine that will get you to laugh like Rodney or Sam or Jim Norton or Dave Attell could. But I do have to modify my blanket statement. There is actually one woman whom I concede is very, very funny and could hold her own in any company:

Lisa Lampanelli.

She is the exception that proves the rule.

Synova said...

"...when Ms. Clinton is part of the right."

And McCain is Bush Mark Two.

And Randi Rhodes was making factual statements.

And bloggers were "mean" to Mary Mapes.

Revenant said...

I wonder -- just how far to the left do you have to get before Hillary Clinton looks right-wing?