Dr. Laura Schlessinger went on CNN’s Larry King Live last night to announce she is quitting radio so she can “regain” her First Amendment rights to say offensive things without people complaining about it . . . or something like that.
In a victory for Media Matters for America, the radio host and author said the pressure on radio stations and sponsors to withstand complaints about her on-air “advice” was too much and therefore she would not renew her contract at the end of the year. Schlessinger came under fire after she repeatedly used the n-word in a lengthy exchange with an African-American caller who was complaining about racist comments.
“I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” Schlessinger told Larry King. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind, and in my heart, what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent, and attack affiliates and attack sponsors.”
The radio host said she would be taking her advice online and continue to write books where she wouldn’t have to “live in fear” of people getting upset because she was giving advice that was viewed as offensive by the public.
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.
Savoring its role in her downfall, Media Matters president Eric Burns said in a statement “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.”
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