On CNN's Larry King Live last night, talk-radio star Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced that she's leaving the talk-radio racket after her contract expires in December. "I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart, and what I think is helpful and useful, without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates and attack sponsors." All three TV networks jumped on the story last week that she'd used the N-word repeatedly to a caller in describing how black comedians can freely use the N-word, but others cannot. Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer sounded the alarm that this scalp might not be the last:
In the wake of Dr Laura Schlessinger's sudden departure from broadcasting, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham and dozens of other talkers could be next to face the axe.
Sadly, the far-left parasites at Media Matters have won this battle by default as conservatives strangely chose to sit out the fight. Now, with champagne corks popping, they can celebrate as major contributions from billionaires fill their coffers....
It's a strange sight after the liberals have been waving around the First Amendment for radical imams for days. Media Matters ripped Don Imus out of his cozy chair at MSNBC for saying the words "nappy-headed hos" on TV at 6 am. Now they've gotten Dr. Laura's appointment canceled over this exchange with a black woman caller with a white husband who felt her in-laws were racially insensitive:
SCHLESSINGER: I think that's -- well, listen, without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for Obama simply 'cause he was half-black. Didn't matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a black thing. You gotta know that. That's not a surprise. Not everything that somebody says -- we had friends over the other day; we got about 35 people here -- the guys who were gonna start playing basketball. I was gonna go out and play basketball. My bodyguard and my dear friend is a black man. And I said, "White men can't jump; I want you on my team." That was racist? That was funny.
CALLER: How about the N-word? So, the N-word's been thrown around --
SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is nigger, nigger, nigger.
CALLER: That isn't --
SCHLESSINGER: I don't get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it's affectionate.
CALLER: So it's OK to say "nigger"?
SCHLESSINGER: -- and not enough sense of humor.
CALLER: It's OK to say that word?
SCHLESSINGER: It depends how it's said.
CALLER: Is it OK to say that word? Is it ever OK to say that word?
SCHLESSINGER: It's -- it depends how it's said. Black guys talking to each other seem to think it's OK.
At least Imus actually insulted the Princeton women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." Schlessinger didn't use the N-word against anyone. She discussed the social taboos around the word without applying it to anyone. (Black academics write whole books about it -- with an N-word title.) You can certainly say that she didn't need to take this detour or use the actual word if a Media Matters monitor is listening in. But it cannot be said that Dr. Laura is some sort of white supremacist who just put on a sheet.
Media Matters weren't listening to her show to expose her as a racist. They object to her social conservatism, her pro-life, pro-marriage stands, and were looking for a way to silence her. This is the second time Dr. Laura has been censored by the Left. Her TV show was killed and buried (almost before it aired ) in 2000 by gay-left censors with the website StopDrLaura.com.
Media Matters was joined in their Shut Her Up campaign by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in a campaign to pressure advertisers -- as well as by UNITY Journalists of Color, an alliance of four different minority-reporter groups: the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, and the Native American Journalists Association.
From here, "progressives" now have more than one way to skin a cat: they can wait for the next Gotcha Game opportunity to pounce on individual talk hosts, knowing conservatives have shown they aren't ready for battle.
The second approach toward censorship is internal: with station managers typically on the left, lineups can be slowly watered-down until all traces of right-leaning programming have gone missing.
For an alarming example, just look to Tuesday's news that the Air America radio exec who saw the lefty network through to its demise has just been hired to run WMAL / Washington, a key affiliate for Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin in the nation's capital. Already, one influential regional broadcast industry site is calling on the programmer to remove conservatives and add failed libtalkers to the lineup.
Some left-wing media watchdog groups (like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) have touted their "anti-censorship" stance as superior to conservatives, even when they didn't live up to it. But Media Matters has been quite explicit in pounding Dr. Laura's sponsors to quit her show. For months, they've been mocking any advertiser who spends money on the Glenn Beck show on Fox. They are clearly not an "anti-censorship" group.