Dr Laura and Free Speech Cartoon

Bearman Cartoons Dr Laura Free Speech

Today’s editorial cartoon was inspired by national radio host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who announced on Larry King last week that she was going to quit her show at the end of her contract (in four months) because she felt her free speech was being limited.  Seems few would accept her apology on the air for not only dropping the n-bomb multiple times during a call but actually told a black female caller that maybe she shouldn’t have married outside her race if she was “hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor.”

Now one thing I agree with Dr. Laura in her announcement to Larry King was when she used the phrase, “Debate don’t Eradicate” when it comes to speech you don’t believe in.  I think people tend to focus too much on what everyone else is doing and not enough on dealing with their own racist beliefs.  So if I can call you out as a racist before you can do it to me, I win because no one wants to defend themselves after being called a racist.


A.  Read the transcript of the call.  Not once did the caller ever get to finish any point because Dr. L constantly cut her off and didn’t listen to her entire example or point.  I get that radio hosts have to move things quickly but don’t complain about having your speech limited when you are in the power position.

B.  READ the TRANSCRIPT.  The arrogance that some people have that they assume with the power the hold.  Oh my.

C.  She was planning on not extending her contract prior to this incident.  So this just looks like grandstanding to me.

D.  She mentioned to Larry that even without radio she still has her website, podcasts, YouTube, books (and not mentioned were her speaking engagements) so is her speech really being limited?

E. Just because you have a 1st Amendment right to Free Speech in the United States, do NOT mean I can’t have an opposing opinion.  Yet people only think Free Speech applies to themselves and not the other guy.

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83 Responses to “Dr Laura and Free Speech Cartoon”

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  1. Karl says:

    well, of course there are those pictures of a younger Dr. Laura floating around on the internet, sans clothes. Now that’s showing your rights…and your wrongs….lol

  2. lisleman says:

    I first heard this story on the internet. I don’t watch Larry much at all. I also read an article in the paper about it. Having listened to the recording of the show I didn’t find her use of N-word that awful. When you realize the context of discussing the different ways people use the word, it makes some sense that she said it. But I do think she completely missed the issue the caller called about.
    I believe the caller was complaining about relatives using the word in her “mixed” family setting and the “Dr.” just wanted to talk about comedians usage of the word.

    It’s good that she is not another type of doctor.

    Cartoonists have some reason to be involved in free speech discussions

  3. SpilledInkGuy says:

    Reading is … for later. Anything under the transcript banner sounds … like reading. Which … is for later. Because I’m exceptionally tired. Nice picture though, Bearman! 🙂

  4. Friggin Loon says:

    Hmmm, maybe she’s just a bitch not a racist?

  5. jynksie says:

    What I find even more amusing (in the sarcastic way), is here we have Dr. Laura going off on an “N” word tangent, complaining that while it was “wrong” to say, her first amendment rights are stifled. Along comes Mamma Grizzly Sarah Palin to stand up for Dr. Laura because the good doc. feels victimized for her ignorant choice of words… what if Dr. Laura had continually muttered Sarah’s favorite word we should never use, Reta(h)ded (*phonetically spelled in Bostonian)!

    People are okay with a word being used if it’s not being used against them, or someone they identify with, but god forbid the moment comes when they are faced with ignorance aimed their way. How -gay- is that I ask you?!? (<--and how wrong was that choice of a word, hmmm?) I will say this about the "N" word, I won't and don't use it out of a simple respect that it's offensive in such a way I actually grasp the depth of why. What I won't and don't accept is the fact it can and is used among those who tell others not to use it. If the word is to be laid to rest, then NO ONE should be using it. The excuse that its a term of endearment within certain aspects of a society is the lamest, most two faced, ignorant excuse I'll ever lay witness too. Freedom of speech is about the right to express yourself, if you do so in an ignorant and thoughtless manner, then you should be ready to handle the ramifications for it. It's not about the word, so much as it's about carrying yourself with intelligence and dignity, banning words that are offensive is stupid. In fact, if you want to say ignorant words, I'll defend your right to say them, but I won't defend your stupidity for using them!

    • Bearman says:

      That is an excellent point about Palin and “retarded”. Now I wish I would have thought of that for a cartoon.

      While I don’t accept the use of it by anyone, I do feel there are things that can be said within a particular group that can’t be said by others. It’s kind of like saying, I can make fun of my family but you better not. There is a level you don’t understand where it comes from sometimes when you are not a part of the group.

      Love your last line as well.

      • jynksie says:

        I’d have to respectfully disagree with your “do as I say, not as I do” approach to behavior. If the black community wants the respect of having that word be washed away from use, then they also need to set the example.

        If Timmy is on the playground and see’s some kids playing “kickball”, but is told he can’t play because it’s wrong for him to do so, it’s just going to leave him confused. You can’t just say “some people can Timmy, some people can’t, it’s just how life is.” It sends the wrong message when your trying to right a multicultural wrong.

        • Bearman says:

          I tend to agree with you but I see the other side.

          Now in the case of the caller in this case, she said she doesn’t use it at all and doesn’t think anyone should so at least on her part there was no hypocrisy.

  6. Dan says:

    Karl –

    Should I send my optometrist bill directly to you? Those pictures have now burned my eyes!!

  7. gallowaygrave says:

    Such a pity that the freedom of speech was never directly linked to the obligation to accept responsibility for actions, either in word or speech?

  8. No, I think that you said it all in your last sentence. She had all the right in the world to say what she said. And people have the right to be offended and insulted. And sponsors have the right to pull out. This is one awesome aspect of America baby!

    • Bearman says:

      Exactly. She has every right to say these things but she also needs to expect that the marketplace of ideas will have a say.

      And the excuse of leaving b/c of pressure from those who disagree on her advertisers is kinda bunk. Rush Limbaugh is as conservative as you get, has been accused of racism, has lost sponsors, but still seems to have plenty of sponsorship. So that’s why I say she is grandstanding on this issue.

  9. susi spice says:

    well obviously ive no idea who this Doc Laura is but from what I understand and reading the transcript, i feel inclined to say to Doc Laura and Sarah Palin “oh just shut the F&*^ up”.

    I think some other comments summarised what I would want to say in particularly the sentence above “i will defend your right to say those words but i wont defend your stupidity for using them”

    My group of friends is, in terms of both religions and ethnicities, like the UN – from everywhere and anywhere. Amongst ourselves its like we have given each other unwritten permission to joke around about each other’s backgrounds etc but there is a line. We may joke around and tease about customs or practices and stereotypes etc but there is a fine line that we all know not to cross.

    Its all subjective depending on the context in which the words are being used as well as the intent, WHO is saying them.

  10. I didn’t realize that Dr. Laura was still on the radio. I know she has been bashed over the past couple of decades for some of her conversative viewpoints, but still, she should’ve realized that with her being a conservative, there was no way in hell that anyone was going to let her get away with saying the ‘N’ word. Now if she was a liberal, then probably she would’ve gotten away with it.

    • Bearman says:

      She may have gotten less flack indeed b/c by definition liberals aren’t racist..bwaahhahah…yeah right.

      However, the conversation wasn’t about the appropriateness of using it in a joking manner. I think it would have been less of an issue in that circumstande.

      The issue was about a woman feeling that her husbands friends continue to make her uncomfortable and Dr. Laura immediately assuming they were doing it in good fun and the woman should just get over it.

      • Very bad assumptin to make. I have a co-worker whose in a mixed racial marriage, and she’s told me about some of more less enlightned comments that she and her husband have endured from members of her own family over the years.

        There are certaing things in this world (unfortunately) that people will give static on that should not be taken as a jest, and mixed marriages are one of them.

  11. Bo Lumpkin says:

    I don’t think people should use a word like that because it is insulting and offensive. I also don’t think anyone should use profanity of any sort because I find it insulting and offensive. There is big difference in being free to say something and it being in good taste. I strongly believe in freedom of speach but I also believe that some common decency ought to be used.
    The second point is… don’t be overly quick to jump all over someone for something when you do (or have done) the very same thing. People do make mistakes and even though I try my best to not be offensive… I ain’t gonna watch every word I say. I talk too much for that.

  12. I find it interesting that this woman clearly has a reputation for making her callers uncomfortable.
    Yet they still call her.
    Of course the situation you’re talking about.
    I think she’d already decided the woman was hyper sensitive at the beginning of the call.
    I heard nothing racist in that conversation.
    But she did take the stance of militant white girl

    • Bearman says:

      Not saying it is racist but when a woman takes the stance of militant white girl when talking to a black woman, it has to be apparant that her views will be questioned at the least and called racist by some as well.

      • Bo Lumpkin says:

        Before we get to bandying about too many labels may I ask a question? Isn’t Dr. Laura Jewish? I would reckon they know a thing or two about prejudice.

        • Bearman says:

          Don’t know if she is or not but I am not of the belief like some that any minority whether it be race, sex, or religion can’t be some form of “-ist”

      • By all means, her views should definitely be questioned.
        She should then stand by what she said and defend it.
        She clearly has no problem doing that. lol
        Im just saying i dont personally view what was said as racist
        You should hear some of the things chefs say to each other.
        This is all very mild in comparison. lol

  13. Nate Fakes says:

    There’s appropriate words and non-appropriate words, and when you’re in the media spotlight, the inappropriate words shouldn’t be used – if ever – especially. Dr Laura sounds upset that people are upset over her comments, but I don’t know why she’s surprised.

  14. lynn says:

    i don’t have a problem with her use of the word, once. i take issue with the fact that she had to drive her point home with saying it 16 times in a row the way she did. i thought that was irresponsible in her position and to me, proved her to be the pompous ass she is. doesnt’ matter to me if she’s on or off the air. i never listened to her show anyway.

  15. Lisa says:

    I read transcript. Everything is about Obama these days. The Conservative talk shows are baiting listeners’ paranoia. Laura saw her chance and used that poor woman to bring up Obama. Perhaps Jade was being over sensitive, but I sort of doubt it. It would be insulting to be reminded you’re different from the others.

    But Dr Laura has also done a terrific marketing ploy if she was planning to give it up anyway. More books will sell and whatever else she has up her sleeve will be more noticed by the tons of white folks who are grabbed by her words and ‘advice.’

    Terrific comic, she looks like Jay Leno’s demented sister.

  16. MJ says:

    Oh man I want a radio show! What a hoot!

  17. Tony says:

    These days we seem to have the right to free speech until we say something politically incorrect or something others don’t like to hear. There are a few radio hosts like that here too. They love to push their opinions but as soon as a caller says something that they don’t agree with they talk over the top of them or cut them off completely.

  18. George says:

    I think Laura got what the caller was saying extremely twisted and went off on some horrible tangent that left her with egg on her face. I guess, being Black, I totally understood what the caller was saying about her spouse’s friends.

    The odd thing is, is that I agree with one point that Dr. Laura made. You must be prepared for a lot of negative comments and innuendos when you marry a different race. It just comes with the territory. It doesn’t make it right, but you’d better get ready for it. Cause even during the most heated marital argument, the thought of race is gonna be somewhere in the background, but hopefully won’t come out verbally.

    I’m not gonna miss Laura at all, but I hope that the next time she asks someone to call in, she’ll actually take the time to listen to them.

    • Bearman says:

      Different race, different religion, different language. Sure they all have potential issues but it takes a strong couple to draw a line with their friends and family as to what is or is not acceptable. This husband seems to be slacking.

      • George says:

        Yeah, I agree that the husband should have better decorum, but what is the underlying basis of their relationship? I wonder if they “play with each other racially” in the privacy of their own homes. I know mixed couples who are that comfortable with one another that they can make certain comments to each other without getting riles up. I just wonder.

        • Bearman says:

          Even if that is the case it was obvious she had a problem with his friends/family doing it as they didn’t have the same relationship.

  19. DadaHyena says:

    My mom listens to Dr. Laura all the time. I could never figure out why people call the show just to have that old jerk gripe and tell them how stupid and awful they are.

    I pretty sure that Dr. Laura is the evil twin of Witchiepoo from “H.R. Pufnstuf”.

  20. jammer5 says:

    This isn’t the first time this has happened. In March 2000, a coalition of gay activists launched StopDrLaura.com, an online campaign with the purpose of getting Paramount to cancel the show prior to its premiere. She had called homosexuality a “biological error”, and that led the gay community to call for a boycott of her show. Paramount canceled the show. She claimed then her 1st amendment rights had been violated. There’s a clear pattern here of her abuse and subsequent misuse of what 1st amendment rights actually are.

    Then there’s Sarah, telling her to “reload”, whatever that means, and also stating Laura’s rights had been violated. So we have two women, who haven’t a clue what the constitution stands for, whining like school kids nobody picks. And their followers yelling, “Ya, go Laura! Go Sarah! We love you!” And the band plays on.

    • Bearman says:

      Maybe Paramount should have let her have her show but only after a week of shows (moderated by someone else so she couldn’t control the conversation) on gay/lesbian issues.

  21. bschooled says:

    Nice work Bearman! I rarely watch Larry King anymore (only because I’m on a Nancy Grace kick right now-don’t judge), but I caught part of this show. And I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    You caught her likeness well, B. It’s all in the bug eyes…

  22. I can’t even deal with Dr. Laura. However, she looks kind of like Babs Bush in this picture. Hi-larious.

  23. Sheila Deeth says:

    I can always trust you to remind me what’s going on in the world. Excellent cartoon, and neat conversation… It certainly slowed down my plan to run round the internet catching up on friends, but well worth catching up on.

    • bearman says:

      See…just make sure I am the first stop of the day when catching up and I am sure your other friends will understand..haha


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