From the Los Angeles Times (Editorial):
Who knew that Laura Schlessinger was so thin-skinned? After all, this is a woman who has relished her perch as a radio shock jock. In her 30 years on the air she has offended many, blaming women for their husbands’ affairs and referring to gay people as “biological errors.” Even friendly callers often get a piece of her mind. So it’s a bit surprising that a fairly predictable reaction to her enthusiastic use of a racial slur has sent her scurrying out of the kitchen, so to speak.
Schlessinger, better known as Dr. Laura, announced Tuesday that she was leaving her show because she wants her 1st Amendment rights back.
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If only Dr. Laura could give Dr. Laura one of her famous tongue-lashings. Since she’s moping, we’ll try: The 1st Amendment is just fine. Schlessinger exercised her right to use a racial slur when criticizing her caller, and offended listeners exercised their right to criticize her for it. That’s America.
Or perhaps Schlessinger honestly does not understand the nature of the protections she says are being denied her. [The First Amendment] does not guarantee that the world will agree with radio hosts, only that the government will not censor them. The government didn’t demand Schlessinger’s ouster; listeners did.
Sarah Palin, apparently, also is confused. She tweeted: “Dr. Laura: don’t retreat…reload. (Steps aside bc her 1st amend. rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence isn’t American, not fair.)” It’s frightening that a former governor and candidate for the vice presidency thinks that public dissent is either un-American or unconstitutional.
Schlessinger isn’t quitting because she can’t say what’s on her mind; she just couldn’t take the heat after she did it.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is leaving radio to regain her “first amendment” rights on the internet. Welcome to the blogosphere, Dr. Laura! This follows her on-air use of the N-word to suggest that it shouldn’t always be taken as a slur.
Schlessinger’s announcement — and her invocation of a constitutional right to earn a living from her speech — was made on Larry King Live. In it, King and Schlessinger both indulged the idea that the issue is about whether its OK for black people to use the N-word but not OK for whites.
“I thought I was trying to be helpful,” she told King. “I thought I was making a philosophical point.”
Laura’s not quitting because her constitutional rights are under threat, but because she said the N-Word eleven times in an act of childish transgressive spite and can’t take the heat. People get the criticism of our racial double-standards, but also get that she used that as a specious excuse to turn a caller’s personal problems into an inane tirade about something else entirely.
In watching the Larry King Live segment [Gawker TV], however, the most striking thing is how eager Schlessinger is to play the hapless, helpless victim herself.
In the wake of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s decision to end her radio show after repeatedly using a racial epithet, she’s spent quite a bit of time talking about freedom of speech. “I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” Schlessinger said, contending that special-interest groups were limiting her freedom to express herself.
Sarah Palin jumped in and tweeted, “Dr.Laura: don’t retreat … reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)”
That was soon followed by a second tweet:
“Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles,so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice, America!)”
Though Palin speaks frequently of the need to protect the Constitution and elect politicians who understand it, in this case she is misreading the amendment and how it works.
Here are five facts about Dr. Laura and the First Amendment:
• The First Amendment protects us from the government, and not from other Americans who disagree with what we have to say.
• Boycotts are also protected by the First Amendment. Dr. Laura complains about being “bullied” by those who might pressure her radio affiliates or advertisers, but boycotts are a time-honored use of the First Amendment to address perceived wrongs […]
• Efforts to punish controversial speech comes from the right and the left. It’s true that liberal organizations are attacking Dr. Laura for use of the racial epithet, just as conservative organizations burned Dixie Chicks CDs when Natalie Maines told a London audience that she was embarrassed that President Bush came from Texas.
• The marketplace of ideas and the marketplace are different things.
• Dr. Laura’s First Amendment rights are alive and well. Although she’s leaving her radio show, she says she’ll continue to share her views through public speaking, TV interviews, in print, online, and in a new book due in January, all made possible by the First Amendment.
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