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The Gains in Silencing Dr. Laura's Views

September 25, 2000

Tammy Bruce's "Nothing Is Gained in Silencing Dr. Laura" commentary (Counterpunch, Sept. 18) sounds very much like the "Uncle Tom" faxes Schlessinger receives from self-loathing gay people and reads so gleefully on her radio show. No doubt "Dr." Laura will read all or part of it in support of her anti-gay crusade. Thanks, Tammy, for giving the nation's No. 1 public gay-basher more ammunition.

But there really is something to be gained in silencing Schlessinger: the lives and well-being of kids. My family knows from sad experience that Dr. Laura's theories on biological errors and deviancy can torment troubled gay teens or drive them to suicide.

Bruce may think this is OK in the interest of free speech but I think it is intolerable. If stopping "Dr." Laura allows one kid to grow up without damaging fundamentalist ideology weighing on his or her soul, then the price is well paid.

TREVOR O'DONNELL

Los Angeles

*

There is a big difference between the rantings of Laura Schlessinger and of Eminem: Schlessinger touts her opinions as based on science and religion (questionable science/her religion) and purports that her audience will improve spiritually and otherwise if only they will act on her opinions. She believes that her religious fervor gives her the right to impose her religious and "scientific" views on the rest of us. Eminem's rantings are undoubtedly offensive and obnoxious but make no claim to moral superiority.

Protesting Schlessinger's TV show is hardly demanding her silence. If Paramount cancels her show, she will still have a huge radio following; her right to free speech is well-protected. But free speech does not bestow the right to a TV show, and I sincerely doubt that Paramount would give [white supremacist] Tom Metzger one just because he has a right to espouse his religious and scientific views.

MARK CARLSON

Los Angeles

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I must say that I was delighted to see the article written by Tammy Bruce. I have missed her show on KFI-AM (640). Although I haven't always agreed with Tammy, I have respected her opinions. She is still a fresh voice against political correctness and the "slash and burn" tactics used by a variety of special-interest groups around the country.

As she says, it is a fine line we have to walk to maintain freedom of speech. But it can be walked if we (and especially our leaders/opinion makers) have the courage to be tolerant of those different in thought and appearance than us. My mom frequently says we should "celebrate our differences." Amen to that.

REID KENNEDY

Manhattan Beach

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The Counterpunch regarding the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and opposition to Laura Schlessinger is based on a couple of incorrect assumptions.

GLAAD's opposition to "Dr. Laura" has never been about her right to an opinion. It has been, and is, about Schlessinger's misinformation proclaimed as truth. This by a woman who exploits her irrelevant doctorate to lend credibility to the defamatory characterization of lesbians and gays. She is a woman who is in business to do more than offer an opinion; she makes a living by dictating life decisions under the guise of "doctor."

In truth, GLAAD's approach to Schlessinger has been thoughtful and thorough. It began with conversations with her, our soliciting letters from our community to her, and conversations with Premiere Radio and Paramount Television. Only after more than a year of attempts to educate (and Schlessinger's duplicitous response) did we see no recourse but to campaign that her outlet to spread more misinformation be denied.

Freedom of speech is just that--the right of each of us. I am exercising that right to oppose Schlessinger's words. Just because she has a paid platform for her speech does not make that speech more protected than mine.

JOAN M. GARRY

Executive Director

Gay and Lesbian Alliance

Against Defamation

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Bruce is correct: Everyone has the right to state their opinion. However, when you use data from discredited sources and present them as facts to back up your personal beliefs, as Laura Schlessinger does, then she has overstepped her "rights." Spreading lies and misinformation is not freedom of speech. This doctor of physiology (she does not have a doctorate in psychiatry or psychology) mixes in false facts with her opinions, making it difficult to discern what is true and what are her personal views. And that is why she is so dangerous.

KEN GILDIN

Los Angeles

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Please don't assume that the only ones objecting to "Dr." Laura's show are gay-rights advocates. Librarians, too, have become the victims of her vitriol. She portrays librarians as purveyors of pornography to minors. In direct contrast to her usual personal/parental responsibility stand, she seems to think it's a librarian's job to monitor what children check out or view on the Internet, even to the point of keeping adults from doing research on appropriate topics. Her hypocrisy is appalling.

I don't support censoring her, but you can be sure I will boycott her sponsors.

JUDY ANDERSON

Orange

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