Tag Archives: Free Speech

I Will Not Be Silenced

Something very scary is starting in this country – in the land of the free that you and I all love – so you need to pay attention.

Four months ago, I said I was ending my terrestrial radio show at the end of the year because I wanted to regain my First Amendment rights.  A lot of intellectuals snickered and said I didn’t know what I was talking about – only the government can take away First Amendment rights.  I was only being threatened by non-government organizations like Media Matters.

Well, where do you think fascism and censorship start? 

They start when one person or one group of people demands another person or another group of people be silenced.

On Monday, I did a lot of interviews.  In every interview, I talked about how free speech on radio is in jeopardy, in danger of being regulated – censored – by people who are offended – personally and politically offended – by opinions with which they do not agree.  Rather than debate the issues, certain people in this country are suggesting the opinions which offend them should simply be silenced.

You’ve heard how CNN fired Rick Sanchez because he voiced his opinion about Jon Stewart being a bigot.

You’ve heard how NPR fired Juan Williams because he voiced his personal opinion about Muslims and 9/11.

And you say, “Well, that’s still not the government censoring opinion.”  Well, listen up, because that’s only the beginning.

On November 17, on the floor of the United States Senate, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) proposed that the FCC pull the plug on Fox News and MSNBC.  He said:

“There’s a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, ‘Out. Off. End. Goodbye.’  It would be a big favor to political discourse; to our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people….”  That’s what a United States Senator said.  Censorship:  a big FAVOR to the American people.

Two days after Senator Rockefeller dropped that bomb, Al Sharpton joined the fight for censorship.  Al Sharpton, on his radio show (where he has the right to free speech), said “the FCC needs to give guidelines of what is permittable or permitted” to say on radio, and the FCC should “set standards” to make sure “groups of Americans” cannot be offended.

And on Monday, on MSNBC (which, if Senator Rockefeller had his way would NOT exist – I simply exercise my American right not to watch it), Al Sharpton on “The Ed Show” [with Ed Schultz] talked about…ME…and how terrible it was I should still be on the air, and that it was unfortunate I was going to satellite radio where I can’t be REGULATED.

Then, Al Sharpton said this about Rush Limbaugh:

“I’m in Washington tomorrow….we’re going to the FCC.  We’re not going to let this go.  He [Rush Limbaugh] is not on uncensored satellite.  He’s on regulated radio.”

That’s a threat!

Do not kid yourselves.  My mother grew up in Fascist Italy and taught me all about it.  This is scary.  Satellite is uncensored.  Radio is regulated and, according to Al Sharpton, regulated means the FCC can censor someone because their opinions are offensive.

  1. I’ve offended people throughout my career.  When I said:
  2. Abortion that is not for the purpose of saving the life of the mother is killing a baby, some people were offended.
  3. Interracial adoption (indeed, any adoption) is a blessing, some people were offended.
  4. Interracial dating and marriage is fine, some people were offended.
  5. Parents should not excommunicate their gay offspring, some people were offended.
  6. Children are best served by a married mommy and daddy, some people were offended.
  7. Women who “shack up” out of wedlock are “unpaid whores,” some people were offended.
  8. Activist groups are largely tyrannical, destructive groups who cause people to be angry and to isolate themselves, some people were offended.
  9. The feminist movement (especially the National Organization of “I Don’t Know What Kind of” Women) betrayed women’s nature, some people were offended.
  10. Unmarried women should not “make babies,” intentionally robbing them of a daddy, some people were offended.
  11. Getting drunk, going off with some guy, getting naked and getting it on is not date rape, some people were offended.
  12. Wearing low-cut, tight, revealing sexy clothes and flaunting your sexuality to men, who respond approvingly is not harassment, some people were offended.
  13. Feminist women who treat their husbands poorly and then complain when husbands stray or leave when it is largely their own doing, some people were offended.
  14. Focus “studies” courses in colleges and universities are breeding grounds for intolerance, anger, and hate, some people were offended.
  15. Children who are out of control due to medical and/or psychological conditions, age, or poor parenting should not be present at wedding ceremonies, some people were offended.

Apparently, I just can’t help but offend people! 

But these are my opinions. And this is America.  And we should all have the right to express our opinions or else this will cease being America as it was envisioned and created. 

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

The Thought Police Are Coming For You

I’ve been sitting “shiva” for the past four weeks after I issued my apology for using a word on this radio program that I should not have used.

I’ve let the hounds of fury misinterpret and misrepresent my apology, as well as my decision to end my syndicated radio program at the end of the year.  I’ve been asked why didn’t I strike back?  Frankly, with folks like Al Sharpton and Howard Stern and Wanda Sykes and organizations like Media Matters, the NAACP, and the Urban League (to name only a few) pelting me with insults, calling me a racist, saying “good riddance”…..it was hard to get a word in edgewise.

But after my vacation, I’m all refreshed, and now it’s time to start putting a little civility back into this debate and clear up a couple of misconceptions.

First:  I am not leaving my radio program to be free to say the “N word.”  A lot of folks out there have reported that that is my intent!  That when I said I wanted my First Amendment rights back, it was for the right to say that word.  Can you believe that?  That’s wrong!  You won’t hear that word out of my mouth.

Second:  While I said something that offended some people, I took ownership of it.  I apologized (as you folks who listen to me every day know) and accepted responsibility – something others who are now attacking me have not done in their own lives, or don’t do until their PR agency tells them “You better!” so they go into rehab and all is forgiven.

Just this past week, Wanda Sykes was on Larry King.  Wanda Sykes (I call her an “offensive comedienne”) was the one who last year “joked” in front of President Obama that she hoped Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys would fail.  I find that incredibly offensive – i.e., to wish someone sickness and death.  She never apologized for that, and she was never asked to apologize for that.  She referred to Rush Limbaugh as the “20th hijacker” – again, I find that offensive and she never apologized.

Well, on Larry King, Larry asked her to “weigh in” about me.  I don’t know why Larry would do this, or why Wanda is an expert on me, but that’s TV.  It’s all about ratings.  So Larry asked Wanda about me, and this is what Wanda said (I’m quoting):

“I didn’t know that black people ever called her show or even listened to her show.  Black people don’t listen to Dr. Laura.  That’s a white people thing.  That’s a white people thing.”

Personally, I find that an offensive comment, and perhaps even a racist one.  It makes an assumption about a group of people, and that’s what racism is.  More importantly, it’s an inaccurate comment.  Contrary to Wanda’s uninformed opinion, I get calls and letters every day from people of all colors.

Now, I don’t see the Urban League, NAACP and Media Matters trying to shut down Wanda Sykes, who represents blacks badly, and I don’t see them demanding advertisers boycott her TV shows or asking stations and networks to punish her.  But you do see those organizations mobilizing to shut me down, shut down Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart – shut us all down, because we say something that apparently offends them.  No, it’s really about disagreeing with them.

I was very pleased to see this posting on the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications website.  This was put there by UNC Professor of Journalism Leroy Towns, a professor and research fellow.  On August 19 – two days after I appeared on Larry King – Professor Towns wrote this:

Make Sure Your Attitude is Politically Correct

Here’s further evidence the right of free speech is being replaced by The Right Not to Be Offended.

Talk show host Laura Schlessinger used the N-word (that’s the media-inspired euphemism for the real word) several times in her radio show. She immediately came under attack from the ultra-liberal group Media Matters and from critics in the media.  So she apologized and quit her radio show.

[Now even Professor Towns got the facts slightly wrong.  I apologized.  Then I was attacked, and then I announced I am leaving my radio show.  Now back to Professor Towns.]

That wasn’t good enough for Media Matters, according to the Associated Press:

”Media Matters’ Ari Rabin-Havt said the apology wasn’t accepted because his group was concerned about Schlessinger’s overall attitudes toward race, more than just the N-word.  And those attitudes weren’t addressed in the apology, he said.

There you have it.  Got attitude?  The thought police are coming for you.  Posted by Leroy Towns.

“The right of free speech is being replaced by the right not to be offended.”  That’s pretty serious stuff.  And it doesn’t start with the government.  It starts when small interest groups – groups that are supported and aided by political parties – decide they are the guardians of what is “politically correct.”  That’s how it started in Germany.  That’s how it started in Communist China.  That’s how it is right now in Iran.

So when I speak about leaving syndicated radio at the end of the year to regain my ability to speak freely, it is so I can speak freely without worry of saying something that will offend or disagree with some group of people (disagreement is offensive to some groups of people) and then having the collateral damage of advertisers, agencies and radio stations being threatened and attacked for supporting me.
 
So, I will stand on my own, ready for the slings and arrows, because I’m committed to helping you folks do and be better in your lives.

I want to emphasize one more time that what I’ve been dealing with for the past 30 years in the public arena are activist groups and politically motivated individuals taking exception to my differing point of view, who reframe it as “she’s offensive.”  Whether it’s my opinion on abortion, day care, “shack-ups,” intentionally having babies out-of-wedlock, time and again, people pretend to take offense at my opinion, but, in reality, merely want to shut down an opposing point of view.
 
And I promise you, I may be standing on my own, but I won’t be shut down.