I Can’t Say I’m Sorry

Despite the fact that occasionally I may have defended the station from time to time, and do still listen to it, I must admit that Air America has always been something of a disappointment for me. There have been a grand total of two leading personalities on that show that I liked: Al Franken, and Rachel Maddow.

Since becoming interested in politics, I’ve always been a fan of Al Franken. Instrumental to my appreciation of his work is the fact that I think he struck the right tone for progressives on the radio. He’s smart, witty, and at times outright hilarious without stooping to being crass. Further, he’s incredibly knowledgeable, and had learned how to wield that knowledge like a finely honed weapon.

This was who you wanted to emulate if you wanted to be a part of the a progressive movement to wrestle the airwaves from the strangle-hold the right has on them. And if you couldn’t be Al, you should be Rachel.

While Al is off running for the US Senate, Rachel still has her show on Air America, and it’s perhaps the one spot on the station that I try to catch on a semi regular basis. What I love about Rachel is the head she has on her shoulders. She may not have the outright humor that Al does, but she definitely has a dry wit that I can appreciate, and is one of the smartest people in the business. What defines the difference between the two of them and yet makes them great broadcasters is that where Al’s raucous and fun, Rachel’s got a smooth tone that talks to every day people, but more importantly, treats them like they have more than two brain cells to rub together.

While I can’t say that I’ve listened to all of Air America’s personalities, what I have found over the years is that any time I’ve started streaming the station outside of these two personalities, I got a definite impression of screeching, ranting, raving, and screeds shrill enough to make me want to cringe. I’m all for passion in an argument, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve listened to Mike Malloy more than a few times and the guy really scares the hell out of me.

As opposed to coming up with something new, too many Air America personalities seemed to be negative copies of conservative personalities; liberal versions of Rush Limbaugh and Mike Savage.

Randi Rhodes always struck me as one of these.

Unfortunately, because of her time slot and my personal schedule, Randi is perhaps the Air America personality I’ve listened to the most (with Rachel possibly edging her out), and more often than not I’ve found myself irritated or disgusted with her.

She makes good points, don’t get me wrong, but I simply can’t listen to a three hour long rant; my ears get tired. I’ve also never much appreciated Randi’s ability to hear opposing arguments. I mean, here’s a woman who would shout down her own listeners if they strayed off the path that Randi had beaten.

Oh, and don’t get me on some of the leaps of faith you would have to take to follow some of her arguments, or the collection of tinfoil hats you would have to stock up on if you actually believed some of the things she put out.

So, yeah, I had my problems with Randi Rhodes, and apparently some of the other folks working at Air America did too.

This all snowballed when the Air America personality used some pretty ugly epithets to describe Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro. The thing is, while her radio show may not be laden with profanity, the actual intent behind the action was not exactly out of character.

But, given the severity of the epithet, she was suspended and, as Joe Gandelman suspects, given an ultimatum; apologize, or go away. She chose to quit and has yet to offer anything remotely close to an apology.

This is all, of course, madness.

These kinds of emotional flare ups are going to come. As a victim of them from time to time myself, I understand this. But even if you have to release on occasion, there are lines that can’t be crossed. Many of us in the blogosphere struggle with these lines on a pretty regular basis, but what really irks me is that Randi didn’t even think about it. She saw the line, she knew exactly what and where it was, and she skipped on over it.

This is all fine and dandy if you’re really behind your candidate, or really opposed to the other, but what must be remember is that by going this low the only people we’re harming as Democrats, liberals, or progressives, is ourselves.

You may think both Democratic candidates suck a big old ball of monkey turd, but allow me to clarify something for you right here, right now. No matter how bad either one of them is, neither is going to be John McCain. I don’t care how righteous your cause is, whether it be racial equality, gender equality, homosexual equality, a more peaceful foreign policy, a stronger, fairer economy, reproductive freedom and individual rights, human rights, whatever, you’re only going to see it all go down the toilet with a McCain presidency further than Bush has already done.

When it comes down to the wire, all your righteousness will get you if you let it overtake your better judgment is another Republican president in the fall who will continue Bush’s policies. Not everyone is going to get their pony this presidential election, but we should all be able to agree upon the fact that the last person we want getting a pony is John McCain.

So, yeah, Randi went too far, and I can’t say I’m sorry to see her go. After listening to her for years, I think she’s little more than a liberal version of Rush, and I’m sorry, I don’t think that the progressive movement is benefited greatly by employing progressive versions of Karl Rove, or Rush Limbaugh. We’re better than that, or at least we should be.

More from Memeorandum: Hot Air, The Huffington Post, Messenger Blog, Fox News, Hoffmania!, Think Progress, Political Machine, American Street, I Am TRex, The News Junkie, American Spectator and SocraticGadfly. Radio Ink, The Raw Story, TVNewser, Donklephant and Wake up America

3 Responses to “I Can’t Say I’m Sorry”

  1. Mark Adams says:

    Check out some of the memeorandum links, or my blog. She’ll be back on the air Monday with Clear Channel, the folks who broadcast Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, etc. She’ll fit right in.

    Oh, and the Air America Affiliate in Frisco that sponsored the event that got her in trouble (OFF THE AIR) is owned by Clear Channel and will be putting her on right in Nancy Pelosi’s back yard.

    Yeah, we liberals are supposed to be better than the flamethrowers on the right. But we need our warriors too. In case you didn’t notice, but the other side has been winning even though their tactics are despicable. Randi is just fighting fire with fire, always did. She got suspended for the same reason she got hired in the first place — for being Randi.

    No sense in her apologizing for something she doesn’t feel sorry about, and shouldn’t if that’s how she feels. Name the politician that doesn’t compromise their principles, which is the definition of whore.

  2. DM Metzger says:

    What you feel and what you say are often two separate things. You don’t call politicians, especially female politicians, whores. You just don’t.

    Randi succeeded in being the exact caricature that the Right considers liberals. They act as if we’re too mentally unstable, vulgar, and rude to be considered “mainstream America”. It’s a bullshit argument and we all know it, but Randi hasn’t been helping the cause.

    There is a time and a place to fight fire with fire. This wasn’t one of them. Once you start to rant you’ve lost your argument, it’s that simple. We don’t have the luxury of having dozens of corroborating corporate bobble-head pundits and authors backing us up. We can’t afford crap like this. The fact of the matter is it will not work.

  3. Mark, I am abreast of her getting rehired already, but pretty much read Dustin’s comment below yours. Fire vs. Fire doesn’t work going up against the right, it just doesn’t.

    Besides: Water vs. Fire seems much more effective to me.


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