Top talk radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger tells Newsmax that the "bullying and scary" tactics of the left are a direct threat to the First Amendment rights of anyone who dares to speak out in defense of traditional American values.
The best-selling author and syndicated Newsmax columnist announced on CNN's Larry King show Tuesday night that she will leave the radio airwaves at year's end. But in an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Schlessinger says that, although the broadside over her neutral use of the N-word on her radio program was "the last straw," it was not the true reason she's decided to leave her long-time syndicated radio program.
Rather, she says those who viciously attack conservative talk hosts in the name of political correctness effectively have taken away her First Amendment rights.
"I've been through this as every talk show has a zillion times before," she tells Newsmax. "But somehow on Friday, after 32 years on radio, 17 syndicated . . . 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 activists can make a decision to silence you. It's not American, it's not fair play."
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The controversial discussion with a black woman married to a white man was an effort to determine the context in which others had made possibly offensive remarks to the caller, Schlessinger says.
"That's all that it was about," says Schlessinger, who writes a column for Newsmax magazine and blogs on its website, Newsmax.com. "Before you know it, the special interest groups, who have been dying to silence me for a long time anyway, jumped on that. And so it 'demonstrated that I was racist,' which is obviously ridiculous."
Schlessinger, who recently was nominated for a Marconi award and was named one of the top seven radio hosts in radio history, tells Newsmax she received two job offers before 8:30 Wednesday morning. But now, she says, "debate and discussion are gone, attacks are in."
Above all, the popular radio host made it clear she will be bigger and better than ever after her radio contract ends in December.
"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," she says. "So I'm very liberated."
As she did almost immediately after the on-air exchange, Schlessinger admitted she had made a mistake "because it hurts people's feelings . . . I used the [N-]word in a neutral circumstance that was not an attack. I was explaining a reality. That's what makes it so odd," she says, adding, "I just decided I had done something wrong. I policed myself and apologized."
The Rev. Al Sharpton has criticized her for not apologizing until the incident hit the media. But she actually apologized on her radio program and posted an apology on her website, DrLaura.com, on Aug. 11, well before the uproar began in earnest.
Asked her reaction to the media cudgel increasingly used to intimidate people from expressing their views, she pointed to the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for an investigation of people who feel building a mosque two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City is offensive.
"I think you can see where the First Amendment rights are going," she tells Newsmax. "It's bullying and it's scary. We're going in the direction of Russia because if you say the wrong thing you're toast."
Schlessinger tells Newsmax she will be doing public speaking engagements, TV interviews, and her Newsmax magazine column. In January, her latest book is scheduled to debut, titled, “Surviving a Shark Attack (On Land).” The topic is coping with betrayal and the urge for revenge.
She adds that she's looking forward to an opportunity to communicate her views without fear that activists will intimidate her advertising sponsors and affiliate radio stations.
"I want my First Amendment rights back. I can't have them while I'm on radio," she says.
Her fans apparently don't have to worry the top talk host will slow down anytime soon.
"Goodness knows where this is all is going to go," she says. "I'm the kind of person, I'm very gutty. I'm excited to see what all the options are going to be.
"I've got a million things that are coming up, most of which I don't even know about yet," she adds. "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 really optimistic because there's been so much support and enthusiasm and appreciation for my standing up. I'm good."
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