Oh, to think of the fun we would have had with the inevitable “Countdown” segment tonight blaming the mugging that wasn’t on Michelle, if only the Daily News had held back its report another eight hours or so. For of all sad words of tongue or pen…

Air America radio host Randi Rhodes is temporarily off the air, but claims she was brutally attacked near her Manhattan apartment are bogus, her lawyer and a police source said today.

Fellow host Jon Elliott claimed on the liberal radio network that Rhodes had been mugged while walking her dog, Simon, on Sunday night. Elliot, who said Rhodes lost several teeth in the attack, waxed about a possible conspiracy.

“Is this an attempt by the right-wing, hate machine to silence one of our own?” he asked on the air, according to Talking Radio, a blog. “Are we threatening them? Are they afraid that we’re winning? Are they trying to silence intimidate us?”

A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging. Cops from Manhattan’s 17th Precinct called her attorney, who told them Rhodes was not a victim of a crime, the source said.

Rhodes’ lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog.

In defense of Elliott, bad-faith accusations come with the job at AAR: former host Mike Malloy was known to ruminate about the lingering questions surrounding 9/11 and Rhodes herself, when she’s not busy “joking” about Bush’s assassination, has a super-keen theory about how the bridge collapse this summer in Minneapolis was, as all bad things are and must be, a direct result of the wingnut war for oil. As my least favorite nutroots commentator is wont to say, this is who they are and this is what they do. So don’t act surprised when they do it. Thanks to Shawn Wasson for the tip.

Update: See LGF’s last update. Gawker thinks it has an explanation for Rhodes’s calamitous fall.