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Air America radio host:
Punish me if I broke law

Air America’s Randi Rhodes

A liberal radio talk-show host who aired a comedy skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to President Bush has apologized, and says she’s not afraid of being prosecuted over the matter.

“This was just a stupid, stupid bit!” exclaimed Randi Rhodes on yesterday’s broadcast on the Air America network. “But, if it crossed the line, then certainly, there must be punishment, and if there is, I want to be punished so that I can actually say ‘Equal justice under law.’ Anybody that has stepped over this line of law needs to be prosecuted, including me.”

Her comments were sparked by a story in the Drudge Report stating federal officials were reviewing the skit.

The audio production came during the opening minutes of “The Randi Rhodes Show” Monday afternoon.

The announcer said: “A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn’t safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here’s your answer, you ungrateful whelp: Just try it, you little bastard. .”

“Let’s not do that while I’m here in Florida,” Rhodes, who broadcasts from West Palm Beach, said laughingly following the item. “Let’s not arm the old people until I leave. What is with all the killing?”

A government source told Drudge, “Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio … we are taking this very seriously.”

A statement from Air America denies there’s any federal probe taking place.

“We are not under investigation from the Secret Service,” president of programming Jon Sinton said. “We regret that a produced comedy bit that was in bad taste slipped through our normal vetting process. We do acknowledge that it was an internal error and internal discipline will be enforced.”

“I’m the freaking news? You gotta be kidding me!” Rhodes said yesterday, as she apologized incessantly for the sketch throughout the course of her show.

Rhodes maintains the skit was created by producers at Air America without her knowledge, and she would not have aired it had she heard it in advance. Still, she says it’s her show, and she takes full responsibility.

“If the bit was understood to be a threat against the president,” Rhodes explained, “I need to apologize to the president of the United States, and I do. I also need to apologize to the Secret Service [which] has a very, very serious job. If they had to take two seconds out of their day to look into me, I apologize for that. … But where is the apology when they threaten judges from the Senate floor or from the House floor? Or where’s the investigation into [WND columnist] Ann Coulter’s mouth? …

“[My apology] is sincere. I feel bad that anybody would feel threatened by comedy. That’s one thing, but I also feel bad that it wasn’t funny. And I also feel bad that there could be a perception that I would be advocating violence against anybody, let alone the president of the United States of America. It’s no secret that I think he’s a terrible president, but I don’t think that anybody should have violence advocated against them in any way, shape or form ever! … That [skit] will never see the light of day again. It was bad.”

Rhodes received numerous calls of support over the matter, including one from Andrew, who identified himself as a conservative Christian in Long Island, N.Y.

“We don’t agree [politically],” Andrew said, “but there’s no reason why – for something like that – you should get in trouble.”

Rhodes said she’s been contacted by producers of NBC’s “Today Show” who want her to provide them the skit to air on national television, along with an appearance by Rhodes.

“How in the world could a bad bit be worthy of a ‘Today Show’ segment, but the 15 years of talk radio in the wilderness of the conservative AM dial means nothing?” Rhodes asked rhetorically. “You don’t become a media whore because now there’s an opportunity to get your mug on the freakin’ TV. It’s not what I’m about.”

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