Category Archives: Ethics

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.

Soldier Who Leaked Documents Betrayed Our Country

I was stunned last Sunday when I read that Private Bradley E. Manning, after taking solemn oaths to protect his country and his fellow soldiers, decided that he no longer personally liked the concept of America’s participation in relieving Afghanistan of the Taliban.  Based upon his mood, he allegedly released over 90,000 classified documents via the Internet to Julien Assange, who is the person behind WikiLeaks.

Mr. Assange released the documents to the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel instead of to the world at once, because (as he is quoted as saying): “You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on, but that’s absolutely not true.  It’s about supply and demand.  Zero supply equals high demand; it has value.  As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.”

Isn’t that just stunning?  The value of the documents, according to WikiLeaks, is determined by the means of distribution and not by the content?  Is this some kind of media game for attention and power?

Let me first say that I believe in the value and courage of some whistleblowing, for example, when there’s concrete evidence that a company knew its product was dangerous and that they accepted the fact some people would die because they were looking at their bottom line, and it was cheaper to pay for the deaths than change the design of their product.  That situation has occurred – in the car industry, as you may remember – and that form of whistleblowing is specifically geared only toward saving human lives.

Pvt. Bradley Manning enlisted in the Army in 2007, and was working as an Army intelligence analyst, examining classified information.  This twenty-two year old decided on his own that US foreign policy was incorrect, and tracked down a former computer hacker in Sacramento, California named Adrian Lamo, who he thought would be a soul-less mate, and told him how he had downloaded the classified information: “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’” he told Lamo.  While pretending to sing along to Lady Gaga, Manning would actually be erasing the music from the CD and recording intelligence onto it instead.

A disgruntled pipsqueak with minimal social skills finally finds his power…putting his fellow soldiers and his country at risk.  Now, that’s being a man?

Adrian Lamo is the hero here.  Fearing that the soldier’s leaks could put American lives at risk, he went to the FBI.  “Had I not acted, I would have always wondered had I gotten someone killed,” Lamo said.  Adrian Lamo is an American hero. 

Adrian Lamo has received threats, including threats of death.  What??  I think he should be awarded the highest medal America gives to a civilian.  Talk to me about the hypocrisy of supporting Manning for so-called whistleblowing, but not Lamo.

Lamo reports Manning wanted Hillary Clinton to wake up and have a heart attack, and that Manning was trying to be an “army of one” and stop the war in Afghanistan, which Manning felt was unjust.  “He did so with the stated intention of disrupting United States’ foreign policy.”  Imagine…

Lamo said, “I don’t think that this is going to do us any good in terms of trying to build relationships and maintain relationships with our allies in the war on terror.”

Here’s more hypocrisy:  Julien Assange has WikiLeaks well insulated (which is sort of counter to his avowed position to make everyone’s “privacies” public, even if it puts lives at risk).  Key members of WikiLeaks are known only by their initials (“M,” for example) even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services.

Will Julien Assange – “Mr. WikiLeaks” – think positively about the whistleblower that leaks all his information and that of his network?  I don’t think so.

What infuriates me even more is this situation is not being received with a huge, national, shaking reaction by either major political party or any aspect of our news media!  None of the major players, including the so-called liberal mainstream media, nor pundits like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and none of our politicians on either side of the aisle have pitched their tents to deal with this egregious and evil assault on the military and the United States of America.  Why no ferocious outrage?  I’ve seen more attention paid to the stupid shenanigans of Lindsay Lohan.

Perhaps it’s because this is so big – bigger than Jane Fonda sitting, smiling, on a North Vietnamese tank, for the world-wide press.  This is the concerted attempt first of one lonely, maladjusted private to betray his country and his oaths, with little or no regard for the final impact on his country and his fellow soldiers, and second, the enthusiastic response of WikiLeaks to dispense national security information to the world for the power of it, and the desire to destroy our country.

I guess this is so big a situation it boggles the mind and makes it impossible for people to neatly and simply wrap their brains around it.  It’s easier to watch reality television or listen to pots calling kettles racist.

A newspaper leaking information is something we can deal with.  The Internet dispenses information without any controls – WikiLeaks has no address and no accountability.  That is hugely frightening.  So, I think this is why there is little outrage.

I suppose the right thing is to court martial Private Bradley Manning.  I pray this ends with a firing squad, and they ask me to participate.

Betraying your country because you are an unhappy person just shows you how mundane an appearance evil can make.

Phone Company Blamed for Exposing Affair

Gabriella Nagy, a married woman with two children, ages 6 and 7, was cheating on her husband with another man.  So that she and the male bimbo could talk for hours behind her husband’s and children’s backs, she got a cell phone under her maiden name.  The monthly bills came to her marital home. 

Her husband decided to use the same Internet company and home phone service.  The company attempted to save the family some money by consolidating the bills and mailing a “global” invoice to the Nagy home that included an itemized bill for Gabriella’s cell phone service.  Her husband discovered several hour-long phone calls to a single phone number, called it, and the guy on the other end confirmed the affair.

The husband, without a discussion, left her.

This cheating woman had the ultimate nerve to sue the company that sent the consolidated bill and exposed her extramarital affair.  She says she was so distraught that she lost her $100,000 per year job and cried uncontrollably.

Listen to what this twerp had to say: “It was a mistake.  But I didn’t deserve to lose my life over it!”

WHAAAT??  What have her children and husband “lost” over this?  “This” is a massive, insensitive, thoughtless, self-centered betrayal!   The deepest part of Hell, according to Dante’s Inferno is reserved for those who betray the ones they’re supposed to love and honor.  That is because the very fabric of humanity is dependent upon trust.  What does she think she deserves for taking her time, affection, attention, and family income and splurging it on a honey instead of her husband and children? What did she expect her husband would do when he found out his wife was naked with a man other than the one who committed his life to her and fathered her children?  What did she expect would happen when everyone found out that she made the company unknowingly collude with her and then complain that their money-saving action opened the curtain on her bad behavior?

She doesn’t think she deserved to lose her lifestyle over this.  Is she kidding?  Talk about being narcissistic.

She’s suing the company for under a million dollars to teach them a lesson?

That’s gall.

It’s About Time, Pope Benedict

The Catholic Church has been under attack (some call it persecution) for the world-wide travesty of Catholic priests molesting boys (mostly), or turning a blind eye to the priests who do.  The stories of offending priests molesting hundreds of children over decades are mind-boggling, and often, the priests were just moved along to some other location to molest again.

The more recent scandal if widespread molestation of children by priests throughout Europe has been a kind of “last straw” for many who have watched the Church blame the media, pro-choice groups, and pro-gay marriage advocates for the scandal.

Well, bless Pope Benedict XVI.  Just recently, he blamed the sins for the clerical abuse scandal on his own Church, and not on a campaign mounted by outsiders.

“The greatest persecution of the Church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside, but is born from the sins within the Church,” the pontiff said, according to the Associated Press.  “The Church needs to profoundly re-learn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness, but also justice.”

The AP goes on to say that despite the Vatican’s initial, defensive response to hundreds of clerical sex abuse reports in Europe, Benedict has promised that the church would take action to protect children and make abusive priests face justice.  He has already started cleaning house, accepting the resignations of a few bishops who either admitted they molested youngsters or covered up for the priests who did.

It’s about time!  It is about time that this crimson line be crossed, and the Church ferociously weeds out its molesters and those who stood by (who, in my opinion, are more horrendous than the perpetrators).  The Church should have its own internal Inquisition – without the torture, but definitely with the firings – and fingers should be pointed and steps should be taken to eliminate this rot from their midst.

I’m hoping that Pope Benedict will walk the talk.  Meanwhile, I give him major props for saying the right thing.

John Edwards’ Co-Conspirator in Betrayal

By this time, you all know that former Presidential hopeful John Edwards is not longer hopeful about too much.  According to press reports, Elizabeth Edwards has left him.

After the Clintons and many other high profile power couples’ personal issues with marital problems and affairs, I think we’re all pretty numbed and crass about it all.

This blog is not about affairs – it’s about another form of betrayal. 

Andrew Young was a former aide of the Edwards’ who was personally intimate with them and a co-conspirator in John Edwards’ tacky affair and secrecy surrounding his illegitimate child.  In fact, in addition to harboring the bimbo in his home, Andrew Young tried to take the credit for this baby to keep his boss in the limelight in a more positive way.

All of this has now hit the fan, and these three are no longer speaking.  Andrew Young has written a “tell-all” book, “The Politician,” which goes on sale this week.  He maligns Elizabeth and John and even goes so far as to say that they both conspired to use her cancer diagnosis to promote John’s campaign for President.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it just sounds so disgusting that I can’t wrap my mind around it. 

What a despicable character Andrew Young is!  First, for benefitting from his relationship with the Edwards family (with privileges, opportunities, trust, bonding, financial compensation, power and friendship), and then making money by betraying their confidences when he was a definite co-conspirator in everything they did (which he now criticizes).  People who do that are scum.

Years ago, Eddie Fisher also wrote a tell-all book about the women he was intimate with, including Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor.  Why they, or any of the other women, had anything to do with that toad is beyond me, but they did.  He did a “kiss and tell” book.  Disgusting.  All to make a buck.  He betrayed the tender confidences of women who once cared about him.

I ran into him while he was on his book tour, and we were both appearing on a television interview program.  He dared to come up to me to cheerfully introduce himself.  I cut him short, saying I knew who he was, and that he was a disgusting human being and obviously not a gentleman for the book he wrote and now was hawking.  He looked stunned, and that made my moment!  I turned my back on him and then slowly, deliberately walked away.  He was trying to say something to me, but I just didn’t care.

Instead of buying Andrew Young’s book demonizing Elizabeth and John Edwards, spend that money on buying some good children’s books for your local school library.

Moral Nearsightedness

Earlier this month, I took a call that I thought was a perfect example of how “moral nearsightedness” is overcoming American society.

This twenty-something young woman was pregnant out-of-wedlock, “shacking up” with her alleged fiance (they are living with his father), and the fiance doesn’t have enough income to support a wife and child.

But that’s not why she called!!

In fact, when I pointed out the irresponsibility and immaturity of conceiving out of wedlock with a guy incapable of supporting a family, I got back:  “Well, that’s not my question!” (And, by the way, she didn’t want to have a wedding until after the baby was born and she got her figure back in order to wear a white gown).

Her question actually related to her mother.  Apparently, her mommy came to visit and “got it on” with the fiance’s dad….all night.  There were other children (of other family members) in the home when this was happening.

That’s as far as she got when I said: “It’s genetic.”
She responded with:  “What?”
I repeated and expanded: “It’s genetic…having no moral foundation for decisions.  Like mother, like daughter.”

Now that may sound harsh to you, but truth often is, and there was nothing I could do to change anything about this situation.  She was already “shacking up” and pregnant; her mother already had humped the maybe future father-in-law.  Her question was going to be about confronting her mom about this outrageous behavior.  I couldn’t bear to hear her even go there, considering she was the pot and the kettle all by herself.

It’s a shame both of our eyes point only outwards.  It would be a far, far better thing if one of them turned inwards.

Using the Web to Get Revenge

In a recent radio interview, I discussed the issue of “webtribution,” a term coined by Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal to describe people who use the Internet to get revenge – i.e., publicly to hurt another human being with whom they are not happy.

The Internet is anonymous, immediate, and gratifying in the moment.  In human history, vengeance is not unfamiliar – people haven’t changed that much.  Their means of delivering pain has evolved from poison, duels, clever rumors, and Machiavellian manipulation to the world wide web.  In some ways, damaging someone’s reputation is akin to murdering them, as their reputation is devastated world-wide and forever, making it difficult for them to function in private relationships as well as in the community and at work.

To quote The Wall Street Journal:  “Most of us have heard of someone posting naked photos of an ‘ex’ online.  Or writing nasty reviews for a restaurant or book, not because they dislike the product, but because they dislike the person who created it.  Or signing up an acquaintance for [unwanted] e-mail advertising lists.” 

My opinion is that it should be illegal, as it is immoral, to post information or opinion about people without identifying yourself.  Obviously, it is also cowardly.  Google and all other such carriers should not permit anonymity.  That would immediately change the complexion of what is posted, and I don’t think they’d lose business, except from those who use the Internet for evil (terrorists of the international and interpersonal kind). 

Spitzer’s Call Girl Complains

I have some comments to make about Ashley Dupre, the highly-paid prostitute who notoriously humped disgraced ex-New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Angry about the negative perception of her, Ms. Dupre wrote on a blog post:  “Let me say this:  most girls, to varying degrees, of course, want to be pampered and have nice shoes, designer handbags and gorgeous clothes.  I know many women who target guys with money and use them to get these things.  They toy with them, flirt, go on dates, have sex and then drop hints about that new dress…or being short on rent money – and the guys deliver it.”

Whoa, missy!  Trying to make yourself look better by making comparisons to other devious skanks just doesn’t work that well.  Everyone in the universe would like “nice things,” but some people are satisfied with richer things in life – like love and family – while others simply work hard at a legitimate job that doesn’t exploit or damage other people’s families to get those things.

One comment listed on the New York Post website in response to this story was quite interesting:

“She’s a cheap trick trying to cover the fact that she sold her body for a few thousand bucks.  There IS a BIG difference.  Implying that a relationship is like prostitution is like implying that hunting and killing game is no [different from] hunting and killing people.  She’s trying to spin the simple fact that relationships are give-and-take to say that all that are give-and-take in any way are the same, but giving and taking in a long-term social and intimate relationship is NOT the same as a business transaction for sex. She would have done better to say that a piece of ham in a supermarket is ‘no better’ than she is being the more closer comparison to buying a piece of meat for consumption.”

I have a simple question to ask women who are defensive about their behaviors:  would you teach your daughters to do this?  It is amazing how the answer to this will definitely be a quick and disgusted “NO,” but then, these women are quick to rationalize.

Ashley Dupre is a disgusting creature, not only for being a “paid-for” sex machine, but mostly for being an unrepentant destroyer of some other woman’s family.  It is the unrepentant part that really gets me, and should get you, too.  As a foolish young woman with warped values, we could all “get” (i.e., understand) her behavior, but here she is, older and after the fact, and she still has no conscience about her actions.

It is the lack of conscience in this woman that ultimately judges her.