What I’ve Learned From the Events of the Past Week

Listen to “What I’ve Learned From the Events of the Past Week” here

To those of you who are listening right now, I appreciate it.  Thank you for tuning in to my show. 
 
Now, last Tuesday I used a word that I had never used before on air.  I pulled myself off at the end of the hour.  With one hour to go, we played a tape.  Truthfully, I was so upset with myself; I was shaking.    
 
That same night I wrote my apology (about 8 o’clock at night).  That same evening I gave Don Barrett, who is the publisher of LARadio.com, a statement which he published at 7am the next morning.  I got my people up early and put the apology on my blog at 8am.  We sent a letter — sort of – it was an email) to 200,000 members of my online family to let them know that, at noon, that day, I would be issuing an apology.  I would fully apologize for saying that word at the top of my show on Wednesday.  And if you haven’t heard it and would like to hear it, you can, still, because we posted it at www.drlaura.com.
 
I have no trouble apologizing when I’m wrong and I never apologize for effect.  I apologize ONLY when it is really coming from my heart.  In over 30 years in radio this was the first such circumstance and I made the promise that it will never happen again. 
 
Well today it’s one day short of a week since I said the word.  And I thought, today, I would talk to you about what has happened… and what I have learned.
 
Now, the day I said the word… I received a variety of emails from listeners.  There were many that expressed disappointment.  Several said that they felt they would have trouble listening to me again.   To each one of those emails, I responded with a personal apology.  I even read one of those letters during the on-air apology.
 
And then, after I apologized, I received more letters.  Many asked me why I needed to apologize.  A few said they were still upset at what I had done.  But most of the letters I received, while expressing dismay with what I did in the first place, were appreciative and gracious, accepting my apology. 
 
I want to make it clear to you that my apology on Wednesday morning didn’t have any conditions… it didn’t have any hesitation… and I think it’s important for everybody to be clear about the sincerity of that apology.  It was made while there were absolutely no demands for me to apologize.  Nobody had demanded that I apologize.  It came from my heart because I knew I had done the wrong thing. 
 
Now, despite all my efforts and sincere desire to express my remorse fully and publicly, it was not until Thursday evening that the news media started getting on the story.  Since then I have received support from many of you thanking me for the apology and encouraging me to soldier on. 
 
However, 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. 
 
Now, every time I take a call from one of you and you are upset with yourself that you’ve done something wrong and you want to make amends, I tell you you have to follow the four “R”‘s -
 
Take Responsibility for your mistake.  Make an immediate apology.
 
Show true Remorse.   Don’t try to explain away your action or defend it.
 
Repair what is in your power to Repair.
 
Make a commitment to never Repeat.

  • Responsibility
  • Remorse
  • Repair
  • Repeat

Those are my four R’s.  I’ve been teaching you guys that for over 30 years that I’ve been on radio.
 
But there are things out of my control.  There will be people out there who will not accept my apology.  And, just like I tell you folks, we can’t control that.  I can’t control that.  I hope they will listen to what I have to say, and watch what I do.  But the only thing that is in my control is what I say and do.
 
Now, what makes me sad…what pains my heart deeply…is that, beyond the reasoned letters which I continue to get, I have heard comments from some broadcasters and letters from some people that cannot be described as anything other than hate-filled diatribes.  Hate-filled.  This does not make me angry, but it hurts my heart. 
 
My hope with my apology, which was true and immediate and uncoerced, was that the silver lining might be that a dialogue be started to stop hate and bigotry.  I still hold out some hope… but I am a realist and I fear that there are those who frankly want to encourage hate and anger.
 
Now, when I first started out in radio, 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.  But our society has changed dramatically.  Self-appointed activist types breed hate, breed anger, breed destruction should anyone hold up a mirror or dare to disagree.  This environment, as you know, is not only in radio and television…it is in politics; it’s in every area of our society…in your neighborhoods, in your school districts, at work… 
 
But for those of you who don’t accept my apology, I’d like to say… that’s your choice.  But I hope, in time, through what I say and what I don’t say… through what I do and what I don’t do… you’ll change your mind. 
 
For those of you who accept my apology:  Thank you.  And I hope I will continue to earn your good will and grace.