Thursday, July 22, 2004

Air America Loses Credibility With "Bush Twins" Jokes

Randi Rhodes, Air America's response to Rush Limbaugh, poked fun at the "Bush Twins" -- George W.'s daughters -- during her show this afternoon.

Running a pre-recorded bit poking fun at a recent comment by George himself, the announcer noted that the bit was brought to you by the twins, who were then labeled the future axis of evil.

I've said before that for all that Air America has brought to radio -- and I'm a frequent listener -- I'm sometimes bothered when some of the network's hosts cross that line between poking fun and being downright nasty, often via personal (rather than policy) attacks.

Especially in this election season, when anything a Democrat says or does can be used, sometimes several months later, to distract the public (see the Sandy Berger saga), Rhodes and her producers should skip the low road.

About a decade ago, when Rush Limbaugh had a syndicated television show, he made a poorly conceived joke at Chelsea Clinton's expense. The joke was in such poor taste that even years later, it was criticized, most notably by Rhodes' fellow Air America host, Al Franken.

Now, Chelsea was about 12 at the time and the Bush girls are 22. And Chelsea was being nothing other than the first daughter, while the Bush twins have decided to head out on the campaign trail. But those fine lines won't stop the conservative punditry -- Air America basher Bill O'Reilly comes to mind -- from using Rhodes' "joke" at Air America's expense, and ultimately the liberal voice the network represents.

***

Dennis Miller, a former Saturday Night Live performer who now hosts a conservative show on CNBC, has not made a secret who is rooting for this election season. When his show started, the self-described libertarian said he would give Bush a "free pass," and his show has suffered as a result.

Miller was on the campaign trail in Wisconsin last week, warming up the audience for Bush, and among the "jokes" he told was one suggesting that John Kerry and John Edwards should "get a room" -- a reference to various hugs and other signs of warmth between the men.

Miller may very well have inspired unnamed Bush aides, as referenced by U.S. News & World Report last week, who were quietly speculating that Saturday Night Live should do a John-John version of its "Ambiguously Gay Duo" cartoon.

Yes, gay jokes. The GOP can't get enough of them.

On the heels of Kerry having to distance himself from Whoopi Goldberg, for her off-color remarks at Bush's expense at a Kerry fundraiser, why hasn't the media asked Bush to distance himself from Miller? Where's the fury from all those conservative politicians and pundits, so quick to denounce the Kerry "hate fest" that featured Goldberg?

"Fair and balanced" my ass.

David

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