Dr. Laura to leave radio show amid controversy


LOS ANGELES — A week after igniting controversy with racially charged comments on her nationally syndicated radio show, advice guru Laura Schlessinger went on “Larry King Live” Tuesday evening to announce that she plans to
leave the program when her contract runs out at the end of the year.

“I want my First Amendment rights back, which I
can’t have on radio without the threat of attack on my advertisers and
stations,” Schlessinger said.

She emphasized that she is not retiring. “I will be
stronger and freer to say my mind through my books, my YouTube Channel,
my blog and my website,” she said.

A radio fixture for more than three decades,
Schlessinger — best known simply as Dr. Laura — is said by the trade
journal Talkers magazine to have the third highest rated talk radio
show in the country, trailing only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Schlessinger drew fire last week when she got into a
discussion with a woman who called in to get advice on what to do about
racial comments made by relatives. Schlessinger suggested the caller
was “hypersensitive” to racism and observed that many African Americans
use the very racial epithet that they hate hearing non-African
Americans use. Schlessinger used the N-word repeatedly in making her

Schlessinger apologized the next day, saying her
behavior had been wrong. But she said on her program Monday that “as
the media have rebroadcast my error again and again and again and
again, compounding the damage which I shouldn’t have done — and never
intended to do in the first place — the effect has been that my words
have offended many, many, many, many more people and there are many who
are saying they will not accept my apology.”

In that statement, which she also posted on her
website, Schlessinger reiterated her apology, saying that “I made the
promise that it will never happen again.” But she complained of
receiving “hate-filled diatribes” and reflected on how society has

“When I first started out in radio,” she said,
“people would disagree — they disagreed, they didn’t hate. They didn’t
try to censor, they didn’t try to destroy an opposing point of view.
Instead, they just argued and debated, and argued and disagreed, and
debated and argued.” Now, she continued, “self-appointed activist types
breed hate, breed anger, breed destruction should anyone hold up a
mirror or dare to disagree.” She added that the phenomenon could be
observed in all aspects of society, from politics to education to the


(c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

Visit the Los Angeles Times on the Internet at http://www.latimes.com/.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.