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Laura Schlessinger: My Rights Were “Assassinated”

A commentary

Jim Burroway

January 19th, 2011
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I haven’t even begun to talk about Sarah Palin’s utterly contemptible attempt to cast herself as a victim as Tucsonans were burying six of our dead. The reason is simple: I simply can’t wrap my brain around the kind of narcissism that prompts someone to release a video ostensibly addressing the tragedy that was 95% me, me, me, me, me.

Impromptu shrines are still popping up around Tucson.

But this lesser outrage presents a smaller portion that is more easily digestible. Laura Schlessinger appeared on the Today show yesterday to complain about the reaction to her use of the n-word last August. CNN’s Anderson Cooper was upset that she misrepresented CNN’s coverage of the controversy. I can understand that; he has a personal stake in that portion of Schlessinger’s comments.

But what I find deplorable (and, again, unbelievably narcissistic) is her use of the word “assassinated.” She said that the incident forced her to go on Sirius radio where she could “have the freedom of speech without being assassinated.”

There are victims, and there are “victims.” To help lessen the confusion between the two, what do you say we reserve the word “assassinated” for those who have actually been assassinated. Can we at least agree on that? I think a lot of people here in Southern Arizona would really appreciate the effort.



January 19th, 2011 | LINK

No, because the idea is the use words with heavy connotation and feeling. If people think, they might come to a different conclusion. You have to keep their emotions high to control them.

Razzle dazzle them.

January 19th, 2011 | LINK

Anderson was great at exposing her there.

I’ve heard that tape before. It’s quite obvious to me that she, at the time, was trying to incite some reaction, given her God given right above others.

Jim, about Sarah….don’t waste your time. She is passe. It will only feed more into her ego.

Priya Lynn
January 19th, 2011 | LINK

Jim said “what do you say we reserve the word “assassinated” for those who have actually been assassinated.”.

I agree, great post as well.

Bernie said “Jim, about Sarah….don’t waste your time. She is passe. It will only feed more into her ego.”.

Its highly doubtful that Palin will be reading Jim’s post.

January 19th, 2011 | LINK

Well said, Jim. And you go, Anderson Cooper!

Ben in Oakland
January 19th, 2011 | LINK

As Jon Stewart said,

Let’s reserve calling people Hitler for people who actually are Hitler.

January 19th, 2011 | LINK

Priya, You’re absolutely right! She’s probably fomenting plans for the AL Governor(the one who just made those asinine comments at his inaug.) on how his 1st amendment rights have been violated and how he’s the victim. Sorry, what was I thinking.

January 19th, 2011 | LINK

Again, the Freedom of Speech pertains to the freedom from censorship from the government; freedom of speech relative to ones employer would fall, at best, under labor law, or the standards and traditions of the enterprise.

In the former, it is narrow, especially where the product is broadcast media (where the speech is the product).

In the latter, I speak to lattitude given to professors in universities to encourage the marketplace of ideas that are vital to the on-going business of the university environment.

And working in this industry Ms. Schlessinger knows this perfectly well (and you can be sure she consulted attorneys) — this is nothing less than willful misleading of the public and she should be called out by respectable journalists. If Cooper is failing to do so, then he should go back to “serious school” and quit letting his interviewees slip in bogus facts.

Timothy Kincaid
January 19th, 2011 | LINK

To give a small benefit of the doubt. Laura looked as though she was searching for a word and perhaps what she meant was “character assassination”.

I do think she was foolish for using the n-word. And she is invariably ungracious in the slightest criticism directed her way.

But I do think that others could have made her point (that the n-word seems to have a double standard) without receiving the amount of condemnation that she received.

David Malcolm
January 19th, 2011 | LINK

I went and listened to the original recording of her n-word comments. It’s funny how as adults we have certain words now that we can’t say.

While I certainly don’t think it’s an appropriate word to use in polite speech, I think when talking about it you should be able to discuss it without having to childishly revert to first-letter-words.

If a straight person wants to ask me if the word fagg*t offends me, I’d rather them just say the word than spell it out or something like that.

Throbert McGee
January 19th, 2011 | LINK

To help lessen the confusion between the two, what do you say we reserve the word “assassinated” for those who have actually been assassinated.

Can I vote that we also reserve “bashing” for acts of literal bludgeoning and beatings, to lessen the confusion between victims of physical assault and victims of name-calling?

(Assuming, of course, that we want to avoid conflating the two categories of “bashing victims” in statistics and news reportage.)

January 20th, 2011 | LINK

Throbert — hear, hear… tack on “homophobe” (which, gratefully, has much gone out of fashion).

Dr. Joe Kort
January 20th, 2011 | LINK

I love the ending where Anderson says, “Take your own advice and stop whining” as well as take responsibility for your own actions. That is exactly what she tells people.

I absolutely believe this woman got what she deserved.

Timothy Kincaid
January 20th, 2011 | LINK


Here at BTB we try to avoid misuse of “bashing” and “homophobe” and “hate” and a whole host of other words which have meaning and which we prefer to keep undiluted so as to give that meaning power when they are used appropriately.

Throbert McGee
January 20th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy: Just to be clear, I didn’t mean to accuse BTB of overusing “bash” (or “homophobe” or “hate”) — but I do think that Our Community in general throws these terms around too loosely.

Timothy Kincaid
January 21st, 2011 | LINK

I quite agree. That’s one of the observations that the authors at BTB have in common and while our political views, personal lives, and perspectives are VERY diverse, we all share a hesitancy to villify or demonize others or put them to readily into “camps” and let that guide our thinking.

Donny D.
January 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:
“To give a small benefit of the doubt. Laura looked as though she was searching for a word and perhaps what she meant was ‘character assassination’.”

I think you’re right.

“I do think she was foolish for using the n-word.”

She would have been foolish if she’d used it a single time to make her dubious point. She was somewhere between reprehensible and vile for hostilely and repeatedly chanting the word at her black caller.

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