LESLIE CRISS: Freedom for all – or for none

By Leslie Criss / NEMS Daily Journal

Dr. Laura is done in December. Well, not really. She’ll be retiring from her nationally syndicated radio show, but will still share her vast knowledge of the human condition through her books, her blog, her website and on her YouTube Channel.
The conservative talk show host is leaving the airwaves, she says, because she wants her 1st Amendment rights back. Excuse me? I’ve listened enough to know radio pundits from the extreme far right to the extreme far left and everywhere in between exercise the heck out of their 1st Amendment rights loudly – often obnoxiously and often spewing venom – ad nauseum.
What Laura Schlessinger wants is the right to be able to say whatever she wants without affording those not of one accord the same right. Two weeks ago a woman called in to her radio show seeking advice. The African-American woman married to a Caucasian man was upset that her husband’s friends and family use the Nword.
We all now know what Nita Hansen got from Schlessinger – a tirade in which she used the offensive and hurtful N-word 11 times. Hansen was also told she was “hypersensitive” to racism. Shouldn’t we all be?
The talk show host apologized in the days following. Her “I’m so sorry” was coupled with her protest that saying the N-word 11 times did not constitute racism. I don’t buy that and neither, apparently, did others.
Some significant sponsors, who don’t cotton to such misuse of freedom of speech, pulled their financial support of Schlessinger’s show. And while making an appearance on “Larry King Live” last week, Schlessinger attempted again to explain why it was perfectly fine to say what she said. Then she announced she’ll not renew her radio contract in December. In stating her wish to regain her 1st Amendment rights, Schlessinger said, “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 a time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates and attack sponsors.”
I’m thinking Schlessinger might want to do a little soul searching. I’m thinking she might want to ask around, find out how many people think using a word that’s hurtful and offensive to a whole lot of humanity is “helpful and useful.”
No matter your party, no matter your politics, certainly it’s clear as crystal what this woman seeks is a 1st Amendment tailored to protect her speech exclusively. Even if her words hurt.
“A word uttered cannot be taken back”
– African Proverb
Contact Leslie Criss at (662) 678-1584 or
leslie.criss@djournal.com.