Anahad O’Connor at NYT:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the conservative talk radio commentator under fire for repeatedly using a racial epithet, announced on Tuesday that she was ending her long-running radio show.
Dr. Schlessinger made the announcement on Tuesday night on “Larry King Live,” saying she made a decision not to renew her contract when it expires at the end of the year and suggesting that she did not want her opinions and language, however provocative, to be muzzled.
“I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” she said. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.”
But she stressed that she was not retiring, only ending her show, and would continue to write books and appear at speaking engagements.
“I’m not quitting,” she told Larry King. “I feel energized actually — stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.”
Michael Triplett at Mediaite:
King challenged Schlessinger on her contention that her First Amendment rights were really threatened just because people complained, but she fired back that there used to be a time where people who disagreed with you would argue the point, but now they plan boycotts and threaten advertisers and sponsors.
In the interview, Schlessinger singled out Media Matters and its work to get sponsors to drop the show. The progressive watchdog group succeeded in encouraging Motel 6 to quit advertising on the radio show and also lined up Advance Auto Parts, Netflix, and OnStar to distance themselves from Schlessinger’s remarks.
KING: Who is the special interest group?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, like “Media Matters” and some of the other groups that have lined up to decide that I should be silenced because they disagree with my points of view. I never called anybody a bad word. I was trying to bring — and obviously, it has become a national discussion now — I was trying to make a philosophical point and I made it wrong.
Today, Media Matters for America President Eric Burns issued the following statement in response to Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s announcement that she would be ending her radio show when her contract expires in January due to the controversy surrounding her racially charged rant:
“Dr. Laura’s radio career ended in disgrace tonight because of the bigoted, ugly and hateful remarks made on her show. Americans have had enough. Listeners are now holding hosts, affiliates, and sponsors accountable for the offensive and inexcusable content on the airwaves.”
She’s a broadcast and publishing legend. She’s battled political correctness for years. Tonight, the incomparable Dr. Laura announced that she’s ending her daily radio talk show — in order to allow her to speak her mind more freely.
More power to her.
Sheryl Huggins Salomon at The Root:
Uh, last time we checked, people are not violating your First Amendment rights simply by being angry at you or offended by what you say, and expressing that they are offended. They are not even violating your rights when they decide to boycott your advertisers. They are simply exercising their own right to free speech and to choose what they listen to.
(As a side note, did anyone watching Larry King’s show tonight notice how he coined the phrase “non-n person” to describe someone who shouldn’t be saying the n-word because he or she is not … uh … an n-person?)
Postscript: Funniest line I’ve seen so far: “Dr. Laura announces retirement to spend more time with the N-Word.”
Quitting a talk show so you can say what’s on your mind is akin to resigning a governorship to have more impact on public policy. But, hey, it’s all the rage these days.
Even back in the days when I was listening to conservative talk radio for hours on end, I was never a Schlessinger fan. She always struck me as bitter, mean, callous, and particularly out of touch with the human condition. She routinely dispensed advice that was plainly idiotic and hurtful.
It didn’t help that she billed herself as “Dr. Laura” for a show built around personal counseling, even though her doctorate is in physiology instead of psychology, psychiatry, or something else that gave her the slightest bit of expertise in the field. Then again, real counseling experts don’t offer diagnoses based on three-minute telephone conversations.
John Avalon at Daily Beast:
Sarah Palin’s post-VP nominee career has so far benefitted from bomb-throwing. The process follows a tight script—a crude, semi-calculated comment is shot into the middle of a political debate via Facebook or Twitter. It gains national attention. Liberals are outraged. Conservatives rush to her defense. Sarah Palin dominates a news cycle and becomes more beloved by her base.
But by unnecessarily rushing to the defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger—after she dropped the N-bomb 11 times and told the caller “don’t marry outside of your race”—Sarah Palin might finally have gone too far and picked a fight she cannot win.
This is the sound of Sarah Palin jumping the shark in two tweets:
• Dr.Laura:don’t retreat … reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)
• Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!
The few black conservative candidates, columnists, and media figures—who represent the GOP’s only hope for reclaiming the legacy of Lincoln and, with it, long-term demographic relevance—are not amused. They’re now saying what many in the GOP increasingly believe: Sarah Palin is not fit to be a serious leader of the Republican Party.
I spoke to Michel Faulkner, the former NFL player and Harlem preacher challenging Charlie Rangel for a House seat, and he was unsparing in his criticism: “Why Sarah Palin feels she needs to join in to Dr. Laura’s personal meltdown is beyond me. She’s sounding like she just likes to hear her own voice—and the voice that she has is no longer credible. It says that a leading voice among conservatives has joined the ranks of the entertainers—trying to shock us each day with more and more outlandish commentary. And at that moment that person is no longer fit to lead.”
“The constitutional stuff she’s saying doesn’t even make any sense,” Faulkner said. “She doesn’t know what real shackles are… But ‘don’t retreat, reload?’ Lady, are you kidding me? That is scary language in anyone’s terminology. Sarah Palin scares me.”
Nationally syndicated conservative columnist Deroy Murdock took an even stronger line. “Sarah Palin’s tweets resemble something scribbled by a ninth-grade cheerleader. Is it asking too much for a reputed American political leader to communicate in complete sentences? Palin’s gravitas gap is growing into the Gravitas Canyon,” said the media fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. “Even worse, she deploys her vacuity to defend an acerbic talk-show host who just detonated herself by tossing around the word ‘nigger’ on the air 11 times, as if it were a volleyball. The American right can do better than this. And it must.”
On Facebook, Palin rolls her eyes. Let’s ignore the throat-clearing about shackles and reloading and battlefields and focus on this:Dr. Laura did not call anyone or any group of people the n-word. Curiously, the same criers over this issue didn’t utter a word when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel (sic) called a group protesting the Obama Administration’s actions, “f***ing retards.” When this presidential spokesman uttered this term I commented that the President would be better off not including Emmanuel in his circle of advisers, and my opinion was based not just on the crude and disrespectful term Emmanuel (sic) used to label people, but because he too often gives the President very poor advice. I was called intolerant and narrow-minded by many on the Left for commenting on that issue. Many of these same Leftists are now spinning the Dr. Laura issue into something it is not. As usual, their hypocrisy and double standard applications are glaring.
Straw man? Check. No one called Palin “intolerant and narrow-minded” for being offending by Emanuel, because that’s stupid and makes no sense. Opportunity to learn the right lesson? Check, although Palin misses it. She wants to be able to cry havoc and demand apologies or resignations when someone uses a word she doesn’t like. She doesn’t want other people to be able to do the same when a public figure uses a word they don’t like. Whether someone uses the word against someone is immaterial, especially in this case, because Schlessinger’s harangue included her complaining that black groups (specifically the NAACP) go after white people unfairly, and ended with her telling her (black) caller that if she was easily offended she shouldn’t marry a white man. That’s actually more personal than Emanuel’s insult. But let’s forget all that. The one thing we know about these media freak-outs is that context doesn’t matter. The word matters. That’s all it takes to start a controversy.
So another way to react to a story like this — a backlash against your defense of the use of a racial slur — is to realize that, hey, perhaps these gotcha, apologize-now controversies over stupid words people use are not very constructive. Maybe it would be worth gritting your teeth when someone uses a word that offends you if the upshot is that you and your friends don’t have to apologize for using words that offend other people. Maybe that’s the lesson here. Or, you know, maybe it’s that the left has problems with hypocrisy and double standards.
I see a lot of mixed and even negative reaction on the Right to Sarah Palin’s statement regarding Dr. Laura. I’ve never been much of a fan of the latter, but never listened to her show, much, if at all, either.
Does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist? Anyone, I mean, who isn’t already accusing all conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party Americans, etc., etc., etc. of being racists?
Hot Air sees it as a matter of people and politics – no surprise there. They even quote some blacks on the Right, I assume to bolster their response‘s street cred. However, if you strip away the personalities and the politics, what you are left with is principle.
… her point is that Schlessinger’s being attacked even though she didn’t use the N-bomb with any intent to demean — but her decision to get involved at all. Particularly considering that Dr. Laura was notably critical of Palin when McCain tapped her for VP.
Gosh, we can’t have people on the Right boldly speaking up purely on principle, now can we? The media might think it impolite, or, you know, just crazy, or dumb. But they mostly want to marginalize, or tame the Right, anyway. It reminds me of yesterday when Sharron Angle came out strongly as an unapologetic conservative. What’s genuinely fascinating, and perhaps also disappointing, to me in all this, is how many more women we have on the Right today who have a set of ballz, as compared to many of the men. I don’t know, maybe it’s a beta thang. Heh!
UPDATE: Laura Kipnis at Slate