Dr. Laura Schlessinger somehow managed to deliver an apology that wound up trying to make you feel sorry for her.
The radio advice host — who used the “N-word” multiple times in dealing with a caller — is now being subjected to a proposed advertiser boycott by a variety of groups, among them Media Matters for America.
It’s been years, of course, since Schlessinger was in quite this kind of soup — back when she was hosting a TV talkshow that was being syndicated by Paramount, after she had made a number of unfortunate remarks about gays and lesbians. Among them, Schlessinger called homosexuality a “biological error,” which had a creepy eugenics sound to it.
Schlessinger gave an apology immediately after her remarks, but that of course didn’t stop the outcry against her, including broadsides from MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann — who accused her of “blind, ignorant racism” — among others.
So she delivered a lengthy mea culpa (audio and slightly different text are available via her website) that twisted it all around in an odd way that seemed to be an effort to engender sympathy.
Yes, she had screwed up, but Schlessinger still painted herself as the victim of “hate-filled diatribes” from “self-appointed activist types” who “breed hate, breed anger, breed destruction.” What she didn’t say — indeed couldn’t — was how naive and stupid her initial explanation was, that comics on HBO saying the word was analogous to the situation the caller cited. Who needs advice from someone who’s that out of touch?
While the apology should be sufficient, because of what she does, Schlessinger remains an awfully hard-to-resist target. After all, when you presume to tell people how to live, interact with others and deal with problems, you invariably open up your own behavior and miscues to greater scrutiny.
That said, Dr. Laura has been a narrow-minded scold who revels in verbally abusing her callers for years, and like Rush Limbaugh, it’s hard to believe her advertisers don’t know exactly what they’re getting.
Now (if you’re dumb enough to seek her advice in the first place), go take on the day.