Dr. Laura, In Context

From Aol NEWS:

(Aug. 13) — Dr. Laura Schlessinger would appreciate it if her remarks were taken in context.

“Don’t take things out of context. Don’t double NAACP me,” the conservative talk show host said on-air this week, after repeating the “N-word” more than 10 times during an uncomfortable exchange with a black caller.

Later, though, Schlessinger decided she’d crossed the line. Or the trip wire, at least.

Original DVD cover

The damage though, was done: The host had touched the third rail of American vernacular and walked herself onto a racial minefield where public figures before her have imploded for far less.


So whether Schlessinger’s apology will be enough to save the host’s reputation — and her radio show — is yet to be seen.

Already, familiar figures are gunning for Schlessinger’s head. “The advertisers and the people that carry her show should be very concerned about someone that’s freely using this word over and over again,” the Rev. Al Sharpton told CNN on Thursday, in what may be an ominous sign for the radio host.

Schlessinger’s company, Take on the Day, said no advertisers have called to express concern. “The advertisers have been very supportive because they understand that Dr. Laura is not a racist,” Corinne Baldassano, senior vice president of programming and marketing, told AOL News today in a phone interview.


But others have lost their jobs, at least temporarily, for similar offenses. In 2007, talk show host Don Imus found himself under fire for his comments about black women on the Rutgers University basketball team:

“That’s some nappy headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that,” he said on air. Imus’ moment of off-color alliteration cost him his job. CBS canceled the “Imus in the Morning” show, though it was picked up by the Fox Business Channel in 2008.

At the time, Schlessinger had little sympathy for his cause.

“As for Imus, it would seem his arrogance caught up with him,” she wrote on her blog during the 2007 scandal. “His remark was insulting, stupid, mean and ugly. It was so seemingly ‘off-the-cuff’ that it felt too casually familiar a thing for him to say.”

Those remarks seemed ironic today as word that Schlessinger herself was responsible for the latest “racist rant” shot across the Internet.


While Schlessinger’s repeated use of the “N-word” has attracted the most scorn, for example, some said they found the rest of the dialogue to be far more offensive.

“In actuality, it’s the rest of her rant that drips with racial animus,” Jamelle Bouie wrote at The American Prospect. “Dr. Laura isn’t known for her sensitivity, but this is an impressive display of raw racial resentment.”

When the caller complains that her husband, who is white, does not defend her from his family’s “racist remarks,” Schlessinger is unsympathetic. “You know what?” she says at the end of the call, “if you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”

From NNDB:

Schlessinger married a dentist when she was 25, and had at least two extramarital affairs before they were divorced[1]. Her first radio appearance was in 1974, as a caller on Bill Ballance‘s show in Los Angeles. She became a regular caller, and later a guest on Ballance’s show, as he became her mentor in radio, and her first known extramarital affair.

After a few years with Ballance, Schlessinger began the program that still runs today as The Dr. Laura Show, although she is neither a medical doctor nor a psychologist. Her PhD is in physiology — a degree which has nothing to do with human interpersonal relations. Critics of her show point out the ethics of using a degree in one field to imply credibility in another. If most of her audience isn’t swayed by that credential, Schlessinger also occasionally refers to herself as a “shrink.” She was granted a California Marriage, Family and Child Therapist license in 1980, and later taught at the University of Southern California, USC, and Pepperdine.

While still married to that dentist (and still ostensibly a marriage therapist), Schlessinger met and began another extramarital affair with Lewis G. Bishop, a professor of neuro-physiology and married father of three. They lived together for nine years after divorcing their spouses, and have been married since 1985.

On her radio show, she advocates the basic “family values” — no sex outside of marriage, moms shouldn’t work, divorce is wrong, abortion is wrong, living together without marriage is wrong, marriage too young is wrong, marriage without children is hardly a marriage at all, homosexuality is destructive and in her words “a biological error”, gay marriage is wrong, girls should not dress like “sluts”, and the family unit is of paramount importance.

Her own family unit has been dysfunctional at best. She describes her childhood as “difficult”, due to the rocky, “unloving” marriage between her father, a Jewish US citizen, and her mother, an Italian Catholic war bride. They later divorced. Schlessinger never got along well with her father, and she and her mother had been estranged for at least 14 years before her mother’s odd death in 2002. (Her partially decomposed corpse had been on the floor of her apartment for two months before being discovered[2], and police initially suspected murder). Schlessinger has also been estranged from her sister since the mid-1970s[3], and has reportedly told friends she is an only child.


Dr. Laura disapproves of divorce and pornography, but as a divorcee she posed for what can be called a “beaver shot” with her legs spread. In October of 1998, this and other naked photos of Schlessinger appeared on the internet. The photographer was Schlessinger’s ex-boyfriend Ballance, but as the woman in the photos was so much younger than the present-day Schlessinger, she simply lied at first — stating that it was a different woman[5]. She then sued for copyright infringement, making the unlikely claim that while the woman in the pictures wasn’t her, she owned the copyright to the pictures. Eventually Schlessinger admitted her identity as the subject of the photos[6].

When asked why he posted the pictures, Ballance replied at length. “The fact is, she has been stealing my material for so many years. The fact is, she told so many lies about our relationship, an example being our being together just a week or two, and that she was on my show just a few days, or a few times rather. She was on my show for two and a half years. We went together for a torrid two and a half years. I’m tired of being lied about and the longer it goes on the more people believe her. They’ll think I’m the interloper. People will begin to assume that I was the beginner and that she taught me everything I know.”[7]


Filed under CBS, Don Imus, Homophobia, Homosexuality, humor, Imus, parody, politics, Racism, radio, Republicans, Scandals, snark, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

38 responses to “Dr. Laura, In Context

  1. writechic

    She is SO gross. Inside and out, just rotten.

  2. jeb

    She’s such a lying hypocrite that the only thing I can believe is her bigotry. I’ve heard from so many people over the years how wonderful she is that it makes me want to puke. She’s a wonderful opportunist.

    • but…but…but she has a black friend!! you know, it’s not just about race, it’s about money. if you’re rich enough, she’ll be your friend. it doesn’t matter what color you are as long as your money is green.

      • Not only is she a nasty hypocrite, but she likes to browbeat the fuck out of people. I don’t get how she has an audience.

        • I don’t know why she has callers … I sort of wonder if they’re fakers at this point.

          But people listen so that they can hear people in pain being kicked while they’re down.

          I listened to about half an hour of her show for about a week, then realized that her advice was never compassionate, and it pretty much always favored the men.

          She’s pretty sick.

          • I probably should have said I haven’t listened to her since the mid 90s. My ex liked her and suggested I give her a listen. I thought she was mean and rude. That was before her sketchy “doctor” claim was out.

            And the NAKED. I read the husband that offered up the pics said he couldn’t take her lying constantly and being believed.

        • she has no respect or empathy for other people. she’s exactly the opposite of what a therapist should be. did you watch frasier? there was a character modeled on this bitch played by felicity huffman (one half of filliam h. muffman).

  3. Taken. Out. Of. Context.


    That works when someone edits your video, clips out words, and makes it mean something that it didn’t. (What Breitbart does, for example.)

    Context doesn’t help in this case. If anything, it makes it worse.

    • isn’t it amazing how taking someone out of context in rethuglican/conservative speak means to “quote exactly.” just another example of how they won’t take responsibility while lecturing everyone else about how they need to be responsible.

      • It fits the meme, though.

        They claim that the media is out to get them … and the proof is that they’re always taking these people out of context. If you don’t get news from anyone except these freaks, then you believe it.

        • i think her listeners are probably mostly conservatives and fundies, and i don’t think most of them will take kindly to what she said or her excuse for saying it. she’ll keep her fringie racist listeners, but i think (and hope) they are the minority. we’ll see what happens with her ratings. i hope she gets canceled.

  4. Bill Ballance? LMAO! I used to listen to him growing up. He was a shameless flirt who’d tell his female listeners to “stimulate his stallion ganglia.”

    • apparently, she got a radio show by stimulating his stallion ganglia. he got revenge by selling her nekkid pix. i guess the world is still in balance.

  5. Dr Laura’s apology was just as bad as her offending remarks. Don Imus got kicked off mainstream airwaves for making a racist remark….
    She should loose her job too.
    Telling someone they need to have a sense of humor about degrading racist remarks.

    Get this! “Doctor Laura” has a Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University in 1974. Her doctoral thesis was on the “Effects of Insulin on 3-0-Methylglucose Transport in Isolated Rat Adipocytes”

    That’s PHYSIOLOGY, ***NOT*** Psychology!

    Great she is qualified to study lab rats– not give people advice.


  6. Being a life long radio enthusiast, it amazes me how much crap they can consume in a day. My life has the good memories of the golden age of rock and roll, those crazy DJs on KYA in Frisco or KLIF in Dallas. The mystery of tuning in a new station on shortwave and sending in a QSL. The drama of listening to police band when something was going down. Radio has so much potential that is an absolute waste of bandwidth to these tens of thousands of right wing cranks with some high falutin agenda. Seems they ALL have a radio show. They seem to have forgoten the main function of the device is music. But if preaching to the choir and working up a frenzy is their thing, well…just let the hate destroy you, as it will. It’s just a shame they had to go and shoot that beaver.

    • jeb

      Frequency saturation is a real problem. It’s a shame that so much of our precious frequency allocation is now used up on corporate propoganda and these snake-oil blowhards. You’re right about the good old days of radio. The idea behind the early communications legislation was that the airwaves belonged to the people. The pirate and outlaw radio stations exemplified that. Now we’ve surrendered that just as they want to control the internets and all other forms of communications so that they can feed us a steady diet of plastic information.

      INT QSL K

      • i wish more people would understand that we own the airwaves, and commercial interests are only renting them (and making billions of bucks). we should be demanding that they have the highest standards. instead, we’re at the mercy of the corporate pigs who care about nothing but their own greed.

    • it’s really too bad that the entertainment (that’s what news and information has become) industry thinks it should appeal to the lowest common denominator. instead of lifting people to a higher level, they’re trying to lower the IQ of everyone who listens (or watches in the case of tv). i guess they figure the dumber we are, the more crap we’ll buy.

    • thanks for the link, alfie, but i disagree that dr. laura is not racist. she is. why would it even occur to her to bring the n-word into the conversation? if it had been a white woman calling and complaining that her in-laws were denigrating her for being polish or italian or jewish, would dr. laura have started a diatribe on comedians who use polack or wop or kike in their routines? would she have told the woman to get a sense of humor and not marry someone of another background? dr. laura is a racist. i do agree with the writer, though, that we shouldn’t give people like her so much power. however, i don’t think that taking power away from her means not talking about what she said. i think taking power away from her should be making sure she no longer has a microphone.

  7. believe it or not

    dr laura has said worse – she called gays “biological errors” and is a major donor to project prevention – an organization that pays drug and alcohol addicts $200 to use long term birth control or to be sterilized. aka Eugenics.

    this woman actually makes Palin look sane

  8. Joanaroo

    Dr. Laura: Well, I’m Dr. Laura with a mouth like a dump. And even I though I was married I let other men give me a hump. I am for family values, conservative, Republican and speak my mind alot. And for fun I got my ex-lover to take pix of my twat! Shooting the beaver, you know! Now those pix are on the web, but I don’t care. And with the money I make the audience doesn’t mind if I swear. So I just hate the gays, the liberals and the n*****s and people not like me. When I leave radio, Fox News will put me on TV! Yes, I am crude, rude and insensitive, but you see, that is why conservative Republicans love me. The meaner, the nastier, the disgusting and the weirder. And I’m one ugly skank when I look in the mirror!

    • the fact that she so willingly gave up her radio career tells me that she’s advertising poison. i’m not sure even faux news will want her. what would she have to contribute? they don’t have relationship shows. nah, i think she’s toast. burnt toast with a distinctly foul odor.

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