The Truth About Austin Rhodes

By Mark Gelbart
Jan. 5, 2008

I live in Augusta, Georgia and can admit that without embarrassment because I don't agree with the backward racial attitudes held by a surprising majority of white people who live here. The local newspaper, The Augusta Chronicle, has an editorial page that is to the right of Rush Limbaugh and usually consists of articles plagiarized from the Drudge Report. To understand how backward many of the people in Augusta are, read the forum section online of the above-mentioned newspaper. Here's an example illustrating just how Neanderthal most of those folks are. Champ Walker is a local African-American radio personality. The bigoted posters on this message board forum refer to him as Chimp Walker and then defend this term, claiming that calling him Chimp is not racist. With a ready audience like this, it's no wonder an immature racist such as Austin Rhodes has such good ratings.

For fifteen years from three to six every weekday afternoon Austin Rhodes has vomited verbatim the exact same right wing rhetoric regurgitated by Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz day after day on WGAC during the six hours preceding his show. And if that's not enough, another relic from the world of Archie Bunker, Harley Drew, spouts the same lies and mistated facts first thing in the morning. (I'm not exaggerating when I mention Archie Bunker. Austin Rhodes frequently quotes Archie Bunker to make his points, and he even has an ethnic joke day on a regular basis.) The absurdity of their opinions includes every ridiculous conservative view from the victimhood of white male southerners to the we "must attack them there before they attack us here" philosophy to promoting the National Sales Tax so we can make sure poor waitresses don't cheat on their taxes. It's a free country, and they have a right to their opinions no matter how retarded (meaning backward, not mentally handicapped). I'm not writing this article to take issue with their opinions--I got bored doing that a long time ago. I'm writing this article to demonstrate Austin Rhodes's lack of character.

Recently, NPR was having a pledge break so I flipped the radio to the the Austin Rhodes Show which I normally avoid. Mr. Rhodes was declaring his gratitude to Beazley Broadcasting for supporting him during a difficult year when he faced a protest organized by local ministers. Then he whined how he was the victim (that old standby of white male victimhood) of lies spread by people with an agenda.

The ministers had a valid point. Shortly after the infamous Don Imus incident, Mr. Rhodes called the woman who accused some Duke lacrosse team players of rape, a "nappy-headed whore." This was deliberately and unnecessarily provocative, like walking up to a group of black men on the street and calling them the n-word. The protest has been partially successful--several advertisers fell away. And nobody lied, as Mr. Rhodes falsely whined.

What Mr. Rhodes did to the Vann family is simply a disgrace. A teacher forced their six year old child to clean around the toilet of a school lavatory after the child was accused of urinating on the floor. Despite the lack of reliable witnesses, the teacher assumed the child was guilty and made him do a task the janitor's paid to do. The teacher showed incredibly poor judgement and must've never heard of the stomach flu and the germ theory of disease. Ms. Vann reported the outrageous incident to the local media, and Mr. Rhodes jumped all over it, dehumanizing their child by coining the name, "pee-pee boy" when referring to him, and he called Ms. Vann a "media whore" to boot. (By the way, the Vanns are African-American). Mr. Rhodes acted like a name-calling bully which was bad enough but his hypocrisy is hard to believe. He professes his supposed love for the unborn child in his sermons against abortion, but once a child is born he thinks it's ok to dehumanize them. And isn't it ironic that a radio talk show host, which is the real equivalent of a media whore, would call someone else one. Mr. Rhodes actually gets paid to be a media whore. Now, the Vanns are suing Mr. Rhodes, and WGAC finally silenced him about the subject, but not before the controversy raged for weeks.

Think only strangers suffer this man's ugly hate? Think again. He disrespected his second, (now ex) wife on the air. Apparently, he got in a physical altercation with her. He fled the scene like OJ Simpson, and she called the cops. Eventually, she dropped the charges. Who knows what really happened, and I'm not accusing Mr. Rhodes of being a wife abuser. However, he did disrespect her when he used his show as a bully pulpit to promote his side of the story. He gave a long speech, telling his audience how he loved his wife and would never say anything bad about her. Then he turned around and said, "she has a bad habit of attacking people." Reportedly, she's a petite woman. Oh, the victimhood of those Southern white men.

Do I have a personal beef with Mr. Rhodes? Yes. On the air he's threatened to mutilate me. On the Augusta Chronicle message board he's threatened to "send men to my house to beat me up," and he wrote he would like to see me "beaten to a bloody pulp." His ex-producer, Troy, the ape man, Bradley has written on the same message board that I better pray "I don't meet him on the street." (I call him the ape man because his level of sophistication is on par with one).

Why do I provoke such anger from those two? Because they know deep down I'm right.


About the author Mark Gelbart: My book, Talk Radio, is a black comedy about a radio talk show host who gets kidnapped and psychologically tortured by a loser.


Email: agelbart@aol.com

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