Transcript: Exclusive Newsmax Interview With Dr. Laura

Wednesday, 18 Aug 2010 06:54 PM

By David A. Patten

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We had heard one report that you actually only informed your producer of your decision to leave your radio program just a minute or two before that Larry King broadcast. Is that accurate? Tell us how you came to that decision.

Oh no that's not accurate. I don't have a producer. I have a partner in my company, Jeff Rich, who has syndicated my show from the beginning, and then went to ABC. And he's been so busy with a million other things but he came back to work with me again. Friday morning is when I made the decision and I called him and told him, and I said he had to figure out how to make this happen properly. So he rolled the ball from there.

I wanted to jump back to the original incident on your program that led to this decision, or appeared to lead to it.

No, that didn't lead to this decision. It was kind of the last straw, but it's not because of the incident at all. A woman called and said that she was black married to a fellow who was white, and that his friends were racist toward her. I asked her like I do every other caller give me two really good examples of being racists. Because people call and say this person is being unkind. 'Well, give me two big examples of them being whatever.' And usually you find out one of two things: one, they're being treated poorly. Or two, they're being hypersensitive. And so my job is to figure out which it is so then I can help them better. So I was trying to probe the issue of her sensitivity toward race, and the first thing she said is, well, when they come over and we're having discussions they ask me about a black point of view. I said well, that's not racist, that's just a question, give them an answer. She didn't like that because she clearly wanted me to side with her, and that's when she said, what about the word. And I said well, I listen to HBO and rap music and I hear that word all the time, so I guess it's context. And that's all that it was about. And before you know it the special interest groups who were dying to silence me for a long time anyway jumped on that as though it demonstrated that I was racist, which is obviously ridiculous… I've been through this as every talk show has a zillion times before. But somehow on Friday, after 32 years on radio, 17 syndicated, I was just nominated for a Marconi, I was just listed top seven of the most important radio hosts in all of radio history, ratings are great, everything's going well … I sat down at my desk and said 'I'm done trying to help people in a situation where my First Amendment rights don't exist, where special interest groups and activist groups can make a decision to silence you. It's not American, it's not fair play. I would like for people to just say, 'Hey, I didn't quite understand what you meant by that, let's have a debate at the LA public library.' You know, debating and discussing is kind of gone, attacks are in. You can see that in politics, you can see that everywhere. So I want to make it clear I'm not retiring. I'm not quitting. I'm stronger and freer to say my mind, and I have the freedom to speak my mind when I'm not in a venue where my advertisers and stations will be attacked. So I feel very liberated.

We've even seen some African-American commentators come out and say, 'You know what, Dr. Laura has a point here, because if it's wrong for white people to use the 'N'-word, it's wrong for African-Americans to use it as well."

The most important thing is I used the [N-]word in a neutral circumstance which was not an attack. I was explaining a reality. So that's what makes it so odd. But I made a mistake using the word because it hurts people's feelings. It wasn't until 36 hours after I issued my own apology, and I was never asked to apologize. I took myself off the air, I had 15 more minutes left for the hour. I took myself off the air for the last hour of my show because I was so upset that I had blown an opportunity to make a point by using the word. And then I some six hours later wrote an apology, sent it to LARadio.com, gave it in the morning on my radio show. There was no media furor. There was not event a media report about it. I just decided I had done something wrong. I policed myself, I apologized. It wasn't until 48 hours after the event that the media got into it and then it got all, you know how it happens. That was way too bad, but I want to make it very clear that 36 hours after I issued an apology for using the word in a neutral circumstance, I was accused of being a racist, for goodness sake!
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Where are our First Amendment rights headed if we as Americans are no longer free to speak out on these issues?

Well, when you have Nancy Pelosi saying she's going to investigate the people who feel profoundly, deeply, that a mosque should not be on Ground Zero, I think you can see where the First Amendment rights are going. It's bullying and it's scary. We're going in the direction of Russia, for goodness sake, where if you say the wrong thing you're toast. I find it very alarming. I do not find it as a bipartisan issue, I really don’t… I don't see the flip equivalent of Media Matters.

You told us before we went on air you feel kind of liberated by this decision, kind of freed to voice your own opinion now. Tell us how that's going to translate for your millions of fans all around the country.

Well, I can't tell you I'm certain yet. Before eight o'clock this morning I had two job offers. So I think there's going to be plenty of opportunities. Right now what I am focusing in on, we have a brand new Web site up today, it's real pretty, it's one picture of me doing exercising and I look flubby – I have to change that picture – but anyway other than that its gorgeous. We have a YouTube channel, I'm going to be doing more public speaking, obviously I'll be freer to do TV interviews and say my mind without 'We're gonna get her.' The blogs, the Newsmax column -- goodness knows where this is all going to go. I'm the kind of person, I'm kind of very gutty. I'm excited to see what all the options are going to be. I have four and a half months to figure that out. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the day when I can actually have lunch … because I work from noon to 3.

Do you see any parallel between the reaction to your situation and the whole Shirley Sherrod kerfuffle?

At this point, I'm just focusing in on what I have experienced. I want my First Amendment rights back. I can't have them while I'm on radio without the threat of attack on advisers, advertisers, and stations by talking heads and organizations that want me silenced. I'm looking forward to my opportunities. I've got a great book coming out in January called "Surviving Shark Attacks on Land." It's about betrayal and revenge. So I'm really excited about that. I've got a million things that are coming up, most of which I don't even know about yet. I'm 63 years old, and I'm still like a kid waiting for Christmas, you know, I want to see what's in my stocking. And I'm just very optimistic because there's been so much support and enthusiasm and appreciation for my standing up. I'm good."


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