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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dr Laura Schlessinger

I've read two books* by Dr Laura Schlessinger over the years, so I'm somewhat familiar with her work. It's with that in mind that I heard this past week of her encounter with the "n" word (that would be **nigger**). Having heard the transcript of the show in question, it doesn't sound to me like Dr Laura's intent was to be racist. If anything, I think she was trying to point out that others misuse that word all the time. However, as a public person, she should have been more sensitive in the language that she used on-air. Someone with as much media experience as Dr Laura should have known better.

When did it get really weird? That happened when she claimed that her "First Amendment Rights" were being violated by the controversy. Surprisingly, Dr Laura can't seem to differentiate the right to free speech and the business of appearing on a nationally syndicated radio show. There is no right to say anything on the radio. Commercial broadcasting is a business, and in that context someone like Laura Schlessinger is at the mercy of her syndicator and her sponsors. Her on-air speech is only "free" to the extent that those two groups allow it to be free. They can pull the plug...and her any time for any reason, as long as it is permissible under her employment contract. Here's the kicker though: neither group seems all that upset about the controversy. Nope, it's Dr Laura who is saying she will quit radio after her contract has expired precisely because her supposed "rights" have been violated.

Bottom line: for someone who admonishes others to have thicker skin, Dr Laura Schlessinger sure has some thin skin herself.

(*) How Could You Do That? & Stop Whining. Start Living

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