Wednesday Night Fights: Neal Boortz Takes on Randi Rhodes

In a special bonus feature in our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, a real barnburner took place Wednesday evening on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” In the left corner, Air America radio personality Randi Rhodes. In the right corner, nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz (hat tip to Ms Underestimated with extraordinary video to follow).

As fight lovers would expect, this was a classic battle between the conservative approach to boxing with the more progressive tactics of an extreme southpaw. This was evidenced right after the opening bell, as Boortz jabbed with why Israel has to defend itself:

"Well, Hezbollah is an arm of Iran and we understand the narrative from Iran. It's Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth. So, Israel has a right to self defense. They're exercising it."

Like a classic southpaw, Rhodes counterpunched:  “I don't see how anybody benefits from this let alone the United States, who can't deliver trailers to Katrina victims but can deliver bombs on time to Israel. How is this helping?”

Boortz quickly swatted these weak jabs aside, and began to take advantage:

Lebanon was under United Nations mandate to disarm Hezbollah. They made absolutely no move to do so. Randi accurately says they had a plan. Well isn't that wonderful? You have a plan. No plan is good unless it is implemented. It was not. Hezbollah remained armed.

From there, the battle was on:

RHODES: Well, look you know let's not piddle around with the U.N.

KING: One at a time. Randi, don't interrupt, one at a time. Let Neal finish.

BOORTZ: Randi, well I'm glad she did. I'm glad she said that and she's absolutely right. Thank you, Randi, I agree. Let's not mess around with the United Nations. It is completely and absolutely worthless in this regard. It has always been anti-Israel and pretty much anti-U.S. by the way along the way.

RHODES: Then why do you use their resolutions and say this one's good but the ones that Israel doesn't follow they don't need to be followed?

BOORTZ: I'm not -- Randi, I was just doing that -- I was just doing that in response to your statement...

RHODES: You know there's no -- listen, just stop Neal.

BOORTZ: ...that Lebanon...

RHODES: Neal, Neal.

KING: One at a time!

RHODES: Neal, stop!

BOORTZ: Randi, Randi I know you like to interrupt. I listen to your show.

RHODES: People -- people are dying. People are dying, Neal.

BOORTZ: OK, go ahead.

KING: Randi, let him finish.

RHODES: And you...

BOORTZ: No, no, Larry, let Randi talk. Randi's not interested in listening. Let her talk.

That was the beginning, for then things got ugly, with referee King having a hard time controlling the contestants:

RHODES: You know, Neal, I've heard you call every Muslim a rag head. I've heard you, you know, say horrible things about Mohammad (ph). This doesn't help us in the world do you understand?

BOORTZ: Now, Randi -- Randi, I'll tell you what.

RHODES: This is really critical (INAUDIBLE). It's not fun anymore, OK.

BOORTZ: Randi...

RHODES: If you -- if you don't understand that Lebanon...

KING: Randi...

RHODES: ...that the civilians in Lebanon did nothing they should be rewarded for getting Syria out of there.

KING: Neal, did you...

RHODES: Condoleezza Rice, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel...

BOORTZ: Larry, Randi's not through talking yet.

RHODES: ...they can't all be wrong and they all agree with me.

KING: Randi, hold it a second. Randi! Randi, hold it a second. Neal, did you say such a thing about Muslims by the way?

BOORTZ: No and, if Randi can show... RHODES: No? No you didn't say...

KING: Randi, don't interrupt. Let him respond.

BOORTZ: Larry, are you kidding? You're asking Randi not to interrupt? You've been doing this longer than that, Larry. You know better than that. If Randi can come up with an instance where I called all Muslims rag heads, I have a $5,000 donation to Air America, so come on Randi.

RHODES: You owe me $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity. You'll hear the audio on my show because, Larry, I don't know that your producers can get it.

BOORTZ: That's fine.

RHODES: But it's on mediamatters.org the actual audio.

BOORTZ: Now remember I called all Muslims rag heads? I don't use that term.

RHODES: You called...

BOORTZ: Oh, Randi, why don't you...

RHODES: You called Mohammad -- you called Mohammad who is their prophet a rag head.

BOORTZ: No, I didn't.

RHODES: You called him a phony. Let your producers go to mediamatters.org and look up what Neal Boortz said...

KING: Hold it, hold it, hold it. Guys, we're off topic or I'm going to cut this short.

RHODES: ...about this religion.

KING: Please stay on topic.

RHODES: You know it doesn't help though, Larry.

KING: The topic -- hold it Randi!

RHODES: It doesn't help.

KING: Randi, hold it. Randi, hold it!

RHODES: People are really dying.

KING: Randi, you don't help your cause by talking too much. Hold it, just one at a time. Neal.

After the scrum, the fighters were separated, and the match resumed. At this point, Rhodes enunciated the position of the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party quite well: “And so, really the way to take care of terrorists is always going to be a law enforcement matter.”

Honestly, she said this. Seeing the obvious appeasement from his opponent, Boortz pounced: “But if there's anything I'd like for the people to take from this segment it is the idea that when you are attacked by terrorists, if you defend yourself, you always create more terrorists so don't defend yourself. That is an amazing attitude.”

Eight, nine, ten…Winner by knockout, Neal Boortz.

What follows is a full transcript of this segment, along with a video link supplied to us by Ms Underestimated.

KING: As we've been doing every night, discussing Israel's action in the Mid East war, the pros and cons of same, joining us now in Atlanta is Neal Boortz, host of the nationally syndicated Neal Boortz Show. And, in New York, Randi Rhodes, host of the Randi Rhodes show, heard daily on Air America Radio.

All right, Neal, Israel decides to expand its military operations and loses world support. What's the advantage of that?

NEAL BOORTZ, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Well, the advantage of it is Israel's engaging in an act of self defense. I mean what do they want to do survive as a nation or garner world support? They've never really had world support. They're in a fight for their very national life right now and, if they feel they need to expand the ground operation or the air operation to vanquish the enemy, then that's exactly what they should do.

This idea of -- I heard the Senator talking about understanding the narratives. Well, Hezbollah is an arm of Iran and we understand the narrative from Iran. It's Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth. So, Israel has a right to self defense. They're exercising it.

KING: Randi, what's wrong with that?

RANDI RHODES, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST: It's just so sad, Larry. I mean Lebanon's been used as a battleground for 40 years for various things. Follow the money. Go do some diplomacy, talk to Damascus, talk to Tehran.

Right now, you know, we can't afford to be isolated in the world and neither can Israel and I just don't understand what good can come to Israel by creating more hostility, more terrorists, more hatred.

Lebanon should be rewarded. They kicked Syria out. They were doing the right things. They had their leader assassinated. They went about having free elections, elected a moderate in Siniora, managed to get Syria out in less than a year he's been in power.

Hezbollah is part of the cabinet. They're a part of the parliament. They unanimously passed a seven-point plan to get the armed part of Hezbollah to put down their arms. Negotiations should be taking place. Why should civilians keep on dying?

I don't see how anybody benefits from this let alone the United States, who can't deliver trailers to Katrina victims but can deliver bombs on time to Israel. How is this helping?

KING: Isn't Lebanon, Neal, a kind of innocent bystander?

BOORTZ: Well, no it's not an innocent bystander. Lebanon was under United Nations mandate to disarm Hezbollah. They made absolutely no move to do so. Randi accurately says they had a plan. Well isn't that wonderful? You have a plan. No plan is good unless it is implemented. It was not. Hezbollah remained armed.

RHODES: Well, look you know let's not piddle around with the U.N.

KING: One at a time. Randi, don't interrupt, one at a time. Let Neal finish.

BOORTZ: Randi, well I'm glad she did. I'm glad she said that and she's absolutely right. Thank you, Randi, I agree. Let's not mess around with the United Nations. It is completely and absolutely worthless in this regard. It has always been anti-Israel and pretty much anti-U.S. by the way along the way.

RHODES: Then why do you use their resolutions and say this one's good but the ones that Israel doesn't follow they don't need to be followed?

BOORTZ: I'm not -- Randi, I was just doing that -- I was just doing that in response to your statement...

RHODES: You know there's no -- listen, just stop Neal.

BOORTZ: ...that Lebanon...

RHODES: Neal, Neal.

KING: One at a time!

RHODES: Neal, stop!

BOORTZ: Randi, Randi I know you like to interrupt. I listen to your show.

RHODES: People -- people are dying. People are dying, Neal.

BOORTZ: OK, go ahead.

KING: Randi, let him finish.

RHODES: And you...

BOORTZ: No, no, Larry, let Randi talk. Randi's not interested in listening. Let her talk.

RHODES: You know, Neal, I've heard you call every Muslim a rag head. I've heard you, you know, say horrible things about Mohammad (ph). This doesn't help us in the world do you understand?

BOORTZ: Now, Randi -- Randi, I'll tell you what.

RHODES: This is really critical (INAUDIBLE). It's not fun anymore, OK.

BOORTZ: Randi...

RHODES: If you -- if you don't understand that Lebanon...

KING: Randi...

RHODES: ...that the civilians in Lebanon did nothing they should be rewarded for getting Syria out of there.

KING: Neal, did you...

RHODES: Condoleezza Rice, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel...

BOORTZ: Larry, Randi's not through talking yet.

RHODES: ...they can't all be wrong and they all agree with me.

KING: Randi, hold it a second. Randi! Randi, hold it a second. Neal, did you say such a thing about Muslims by the way?

BOORTZ: No and, if Randi can show... RHODES: No? No you didn't say...

KING: Randi, don't interrupt. Let him respond.

BOORTZ: Larry, are you kidding? You're asking Randi not to interrupt? You've been doing this longer than that, Larry. You know better than that. If Randi can come up with an instance where I called all Muslims rag heads, I have a $5,000 donation to Air America, so come on Randi.

RHODES: You owe me $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity. You'll hear the audio on my show because, Larry, I don't know that your producers can get it.

BOORTZ: That's fine.

RHODES: But it's on mediamatters.org the actual audio.

BOORTZ: Now remember I called all Muslims rag heads? I don't use that term.

RHODES: You called...

BOORTZ: Oh, Randi, why don't you...

RHODES: You called Mohammad -- you called Mohammad who is their prophet a rag head.

BOORTZ: No, I didn't.

RHODES: You called him a phony. Let your producers go to mediamatters.org and look up what Neal Boortz said...

KING: Hold it, hold it, hold it. Guys, we're off topic or I'm going to cut this short.

RHODES: ...about this religion.

KING: Please stay on topic.

RHODES: You know it doesn't help though, Larry.

KING: The topic -- hold it Randi!

RHODES: It doesn't help.

KING: Randi, hold it. Randi, hold it!

RHODES: People are really dying.

KING: Randi, you don't help your cause by talking too much. Hold it, just one at a time. Neal.

BOORTZ: Yes, sir.

KING: Doesn't Israel have to be cognizant of killing civilians? BOORTZ: Sure. I mean in every war.

KING: They're innocent.

BOORTZ: Yes, sir. In every war you have to be cognizant of killing civilians but you cannot say, "Look, I am not going to defend my homeland because in doing so a civilian might die." That is a sure -- well I mean that's just virtual suicide to say that.

KING: All right, Randi, mustn't Israel do something in its defense? It's surrounded by people who don't like it.

RHODES: Yes, but this escalation is just unconscionable because it's not making anything but terrorists. It's not making anything but Hezbollah completely. The militia, the armed part of Hezbollah it's giving them no reason to put down their arms. They agreed to put down their weapons. They agreed to join the electoral process. They agreed.

There needs to be serious diplomacy now with Damascus and to peel Syria off, which is a Sunni country, and put it on the side of a good neighbor and to peel Iran away and to make sure that Iran, what we did in Iraq emboldened Iran. We need diplomacy with Tehran right now. We cannot afford to be isolated. Neither can Israel with a nuclear threat from Iran. We need all the friends we can get.

KING: Neal. Neal, how does this in your opinion end?

BOORTZ: Well, the way it should end is with a complete military destruction of Hezbollah. The way I'm afraid it is going to end is with another one of these negotiated peace agreements which will be used by radical Islam to do nothing more than to regroup, re-strength, re-arm, and become stronger until they find the time is right, usually at the instructions of Iran, to launch yet another attack on the west.

KING: So you're saying, Neal that total victory over Hezbollah is the only answer?

BOORTZ: Radical Islam will view negotiations and agreements as a sign of weakness on the part of the west and they will exploit it. This is the way it has been done for generations. This is the way it will be done if we negotiate a peace agreement this time.

KING: Randi Rhodes, hasn't he got a point?

RHODES: No. You know it's really funny but Hezbollah sat there on the border for five years of Sharon's prime ministership (ph) and everybody knew that they were armed. Everybody understood that they were armed and Sharon wouldn't touch Lebanon again because it was his Vietnam.

And so, really the way to take care of terrorists is always going to be a law enforcement matter. It's always going to be a carrot and a stick. It's always going to be through political negotiation. You're never, ever going to do anything but make more terrorists with this sort of attack. And I think that everybody -- I think the whole idea of isolating Israel even further by killing so many civilians, or the idea of isolating the United States in a time when we need our European allies, we need the Middle East, we need to keep Iran from going nuclear, we're isolating ourselves further.

It's almost like they're baiting people to come here and attack us. It's almost ridiculous. I mean I never knew there would be so much death in their culture of life and I also never knew that you would see so many civilians killed with such ease and that you would hear -- I mean I knew the right wing was (INAUDIBLE) but I never knew that they would be screaming "Kill them all."

I never understood that they were so pro-death in their culture of life, Larry. It scares me. It used to be fun to debate things like health care and immigration. This is serious and I'm really scared.

I'm on the verge of tears listening to these reports. And I just can't believe that their solution is "Kill them all." I don't see how this can end without diplomacy.

KING: We only have a minute left. Neal, what are your listeners saying?

BOORTZ: Well the listeners I think are much like the Israeli population but a listener is always going to reflect the host, Larry, so let's admit that both Randi's and mine.

KING: Yes.

BOORTZ: But if there's anything I'd like for the people to take from this segment it is the idea that when you are attacked by terrorists, if you defend yourself, you always create more terrorists so don't defend yourself.

RHODES: Then why didn't we go after Osama bin Laden?

BOORTZ: That is an amazing attitude.

RHODES: Why did the president -- why did the president cut and run from Afghanistan? Why did we not catch Osama bin Laden if that's the truth if that's the way you deal with it?

BOORTZ: That's a very, very weighty, wise comment, Randi, and a perfect way to end the segment I guess.

KING: I'm going to end it. Neal Boortz and Randi Rhodes, thank you both very much.

BOORTZ: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Neal hosts the nationally syndicated Neal Boortz Show. And, Randi Rhodes hosts the Randi Rhodes Show on Air America Radio.

VIDEO LINK

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.