Following Laura Schlessinger's announcement that she will end her radio show in the wake of widespread criticism for her use of a racial slur, Michelle Malkin and other conservatives have responded by praising Schlessinger and her comment that, by quitting the show, she will regain her First Amendment rights.
The phony-right wing accusation that the Justice Department has "a hostility" to pursuing voting rights cases on behalf of white voters against black defendants has always maintained a tenuous relationship with reality. After all, the very voter intimidation case underlying the charade involved the Obama Justice Department successfully obtaining an injunction against a member of the New Black Panther Party for carrying a nightstick outside a Philadelphia polling station, whereas the main source of the allegations is a longtime GOP activist who has acknowledged lacking firsthand knowledge of the claims he made to support his accusations. According to transcript of the August 13 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights meeting that Media Matters has obtained, Republican vice chairwoman Abigail Thernstrom further exposed the absurdity of the charges against the department, calling a key allegation supporting the bogus charges "simply impossible to believe."
Advancing his unsubstantiated allegations before the commission in July, GOP activist J. Christian Adams accused Julie Fernandes, a Justice Department lawyer, of saying that "cases are not going to be brought against black defendants for the benefit of white victims." Adams made clear during his testimony that he had no firsthand knowledge of Fernandes actually saying that. The next day, Adams took his accusations to Fox News' Megy Kelly, as Kelly and Adams pushed the notion that Fernandes handed down "a mandate" that "the law not be enforced" because she believed it would "not encourage turnout." Kelly added that, if true, Fernandes would be "sanctioning voter fraud" in order to "encourage minority turnout."
Kelly -- a driving force behind Fox News' promotion of the trumped up scandal -- again trumpeted Adams' allegations during a July 8 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, saying Adams "said that it is well-known that if the DOJ would let these other attorneys within the voting rights section talk, they would confirm that she has instructed lawyers within the voting rights section not to bring a voter intimidation case or a voting rights case if the defendant is black and the victim is white" (via Nexis). Former DOJ official Hans von Spakovsy also forwarded the allegations in a July 21 blog post, where Spakovsky cited "sworn testimony" that Fernandes "instructed Voting Section lawyers that no cases would be brought against any black or other minority defendants no matter how egregious their violations of the law."
However, during the August 13 Civil Rights Commission hearing Thernstrom said: "It is simply impossible to believe that Julie Fernandes said anything remotely like 'We are not going to enforce civil rights laws when blacks are defendants.' " Thernstrom has previously said that the commission's inquiry "doesn't have to do with the Black Panthers" and that conservatives on the commission wanted to use the case to "topple the administration"
From the transcript obtained by Media Matters:
VICE CHAIR THERNSTROM: It is simply impossible to believe that Julie Fernandes said anything remotely like "We are not going to enforce civil rights laws when blacks are defendants."
I mean, she cannot have said that. Maybe she said something that some people interpreted as saying that. But she surely didn't announce that. I mean, unless she is some sort of moron - and she certainly could not have been speaking for the Department if she was a moron.
From the August 18 edition of CBS' The Early Show:
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From the August 18 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
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From the August 18 edition of CNN's American Morning:
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From an August 17 Associated Press article:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the talk show host who apologized for repeating the N-word several times in an on-air conversation, says she plans to give up her radio show when her contract is up at the end of the year.
The conservative advice maven made the announcement Tuesday on CNN's "Larry King Live," saying she wants to "regain her First Amendment rights."
From an August 17 FoxNews.com article:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday she will end her radio show and not renew her contract at the end of the year.
She told CNN's "Larry King Live" that she wants to "regain my First Amendment rights" after coming under fire for using the N-word on her radio show last week.
Schlessinger said the N-word 11 times to an African-American caller who was complaining of racist comments from family friends.
From an August 17 New York Daily News article:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who came under fire for repeatedly using the N-word while on-air with a caller, is ditching her show at the end of the year "to regain my First Amendment rights," she announced Tuesday night.
The 63-year-old Schlessinger used the racial epithet 11 times in 5 minutes while trying to make a point about racism on her Aug. 10 show.
From an August 17 Washington Post article:
Radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger tells CNN's Larry King that she will not renew her contract, which is up at the end of the year.
"I have made the decision not to do radio anymore," Schlessinger said. "The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what is on my mind."
Dr. Laura has been under fire for repeatedly using a racial epithet on a recent segment of her show.
From an August 17 post to The Wall Street Journal's SpeakEasy blog:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced on "Larry King Live" Tuesday that she would not be continuing her radio show after her contract with Talk Radio Network expires at the end of the year.
The radio personality told King, "I've made the decision not to do radio anymore. The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights."
Over the past week, Schlessinger, 63, has been under attack for using the n-word 11 times in five minutes on August 10, when she was trying to make a point about racism to an African-American caller to her show. When the caller pressed Schlessinger about her free use of the racial epithet, the host responded: "Oh, then I guess you don't watch HBO or listen to any black comedians. My dear, the point I am trying to make ... [is that] we've got a black man as president and we've got more complaining about racism than ever. I think that's hilarious."
This evening, Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced that she will be ending her radio show at the end of the year following a firestorm of coverage that ignited after Media Matters posted audio of a racial rant in which she repeatedly used a racial slur. Michelle Malkin reacted in an August 17 post to her blog:
She's a broadcast and publishing legend. She's battled political correctness for years. Tonight, the incomparable Dr. Laura announced that she's ending her daily radio talk show -- in order to allow her to speak her mind more freely.
More power to her.
From an August 17 MSNBC.com article:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger says she's shutting down her 30-year-old syndicated radio program at the end of the year so she can get her "First Amendment rights" back.
Her announcement on "Larry King Live" comes just a week after she repeatedly used the N-word while taking a call on the air from a black woman who wanted to discuss her interracial marriage.
She told King, "My contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year and I've made the decision not to do radio anymore."
"The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights," she told King, according to E! Online. "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, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."
She's not retiring or quitting, she said, but rather, hopes to be "stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country."
From an August 17 ABCNews.com article:
Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced tonight she is ending her radio show, a week after she broadcast a five-minute-long rant in which she used the N-word 11 times.
Schlessinger said on "Larry King Live" tonight that she has decided "not to do radio anymore" so she can say the things she wants to say.
"The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights," she 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 the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."
She told King she will not renew her contract, which expires at the end of the year. She said she told her bosses 10 minutes before she went on the air.
She was trying to make a philosophical point, she said, but added, "I didn't help her [the caller] by making that point."
Schlessinger ignited a firestorm of criticism after Media Matters posted audio from an Aug. 10 conversation she had with a black female caller. The caller was complaining about her white husband's friends and their use of the N-word.
In an interview this evening on CNN's Larry King Live, Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced that when her radio contract expires at the end of the year, she will not seek to renew it. Schlessinger said that she was ending her show in order to "regain my First Amendment rights." According to Schlessinger, in the wake of her racial screed last week, highlighted by Media Matters, "my First Amendment rights have been usurped by angry, hateful groups."
Schlessinger was fifth on TALKERS magazine's 2010 list of "most important radio talk show hosts in America," behind only Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage. According to Schlessinger's website, more than 200 affiliate stations broadcast her syndicated show. During her CNN appearance, Schlessinger stated, "I'm number three in most listened to talk show hosts in America."
On August 10, Schlessinger launched into a racially charged rant, during which Schlessinger -- in her own words -- "articulated the 'n' word all the way out -- more than one time." Schlessinger also told an African-American caller that she had a "chip on [her] shoulder," and suggested that "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race." The next day, Schlessinger apologized.
On August 12, Media Matters posted full audio and transcript of Schlessinger's rant, which had apparently been expunged from her website. We also documented her history of incendiary remarks. Schlessinger became the subject of a firestorm of media coverage. She responded by slamming the media that "rebroadcast" her rant.
On August 16, Media Matters released a joint statement with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Women's Media Center, and UNITY Journalists of Color, condemning Schlessingers comments and stating that "This week, we will hold these advertisers accountable and find out exactly where they stand." Today, Motel 6 announced that in the wake of her comments, it would be severing its relationship with the radio host.
At the top of her interview with King, Schlessinger said of her rant that she "was trying to make a point to help" the African-American caller with "her hypersensitivity." She added that she was "trying to make a philosophical point," but that she was "wrong."
Schlessinger then announced:
I'm here to say that my contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year, and I've made the decision not to do radio anymore. The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights. 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. I'm sort of done with that. I'm not retiring. I'm not quitting. I feel energized, actually -- stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.
Following Laura Schlessinger's racially charged rant, Media Matters called on advertisers to drop sponsorship of her radio program. Responding to a Tweet from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that linked to a Media Matters action alert on Schlessinger, The Home Depot wrote today on Twitter that they "are not a sponsor of that program":
However, a Home Depot advertisement aired during the August 12 edition of Dr. Laura's radio show as broadcast on KSFO:
UPDATE: This is apparently a pattern.
Last year, Media Matters reported on companies and organizations that had run ads on the hate- and conspiracy theory-filled programs of Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Rush Limbaugh despite appearing on a 2006 list of advertisers that reportedly didn't want their ads broadcast during Air America programs.
One of the companies we listed for Limbaugh's show was The Home Depot, which promptly insisted that it doesn't "support the Rush Limbaugh radio show."
Exactly one year ago today, we posted audio proving that The Home Depot had in fact advertised on Limbaugh's show.
Today, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Media Matters for America, Women's Media Center, and UNITY Journalists of Color joined together to hold Dr. Laura Schlessinger's sponsors accountable for the host's recent racially charged rant.
The organizations released the following joint statement:
On August 10, Dr. Laura Schlessinger launched into a racially charged rant on her radio show, during which she repeated an offensive racial slur 11 times in six minutes. While she attempted to apologize for using the epithet, the racist diatribe on Tuesday's show extends far beyond the use of a single word.
This incident provided listeners a window into Dr. Laura's true beliefs about race in America. She said, "I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don't get it." She accused an African-American caller who questioned her use of racial epithets of having "too much sensitivity" and "not enough sense of humor." Schlessinger told that same caller, "Don't take things out of context. Don't double N -- NAACP me."
It's clear the airwaves are no place for Dr. Laura's hate speech. By choosing to sponsor her, Dr. Laura's advertisers are not only funding her offensive radio show, but are implicitly endorsing its content. This week, we will hold these advertisers accountable and find out exactly where they stand.
UNITY Journalists of Color represents the following Member Associations: National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Asian-American Journalist Association (AAJA), Native American Journalist Association (NAJA).
From the August 13 edition of ABC Radio Network's The Mark Levin Show:
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From the August 16 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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