Remember when censorship was about banning a book or an idea? Today, the First Amendment covers even Larry Flynt's uncovered magazine.
Although the Founders specifically prohibited Congress from making any law that would limit press freedom, court decisions have expanded that right to include virtually any kind of expression -- except one.
The etymological evolution of the word sodomy to homosexuality to the simple term gay has brought with it the very intolerance and bigotry that gay people deride when it's directed at them. Gay rights groups seek to intimidate anyone who voices opposition to their beliefs and agenda. If occasionally a person, such as current radio and soon-to-be former TV talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, expresses her religious views and is willing to have her opinions discussed and debated, she is censored with a fervor our book-burning ancestors would have admired.
Last week, Paramount Television announced that it was canceling Schlessinger's syndicated TV program due to poor ratings and lack of sponsors. Schlessinger charges gay groups, specifically the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), with dishonesty and censorship. She tells me that GLAAD asked Paramount management to allow an opposing point of view should the subject of homosexuality ever be discussed on her TV show. That was a reasonable request and Paramount and Schlessinger agreed.
On 130 shows, homosexuality was never discussed, but even before the TV show debuted last fall, GLAAD lobbied sponsors and created a Web-based assault (www.stopdrlaura.com). Because Schlessinger had said on her radio show that homosexual behavior was deviant (a position the medical community held before it was similarly intimidated into political correctness), she had to be made an example.
Schlessinger subsequently apologized for any hurt she might have caused, but that wasn't enough for GLAAD. Sponsors canceled. The TV show was moved to the wee hours of the morning in all major markets, which insured low ratings.
Schlessinger tells me, "(GLAAD) tried to destroy my career. Gays pay lip service to diversity but what they mean is they get to speak and no one who disagrees with them should have the same opportunity."
Why does she think she was a target, and the gay rights groups mostly ignore rap upstarts like Eminem, who spew hateful anti-gay lyrics? "Because I favor the Defense of Marriage Act (which gives states the right to restrict state-sanctioned weddings to male/female couples) and Eminem doesn't speak about it," Schlessinger says.
Where are the groups that have supported free expression in broadcasting and the arts against all sorts of challenges? On television, the gay lifestyle is celebrated and gay characters abound. When some groups protest explicitly sexual content on TV, they are told to turn it off, or change the channel. Why wasn't the same said to people who don't like Dr. Laura Schlessinger?
Four years ago, GLAAD protested Internet filtering software that prevented homosexuals from accessing material of specific interest to them. Why shouldn't their action against Schlessinger be considered a type of filtration system, keeping people who want to see her on TV from doing so?
On CNN's Larry King Live Monday, April 2, Schlessinger said her TV show addressed many issues. "(GLAAD) were trying to pigeonhole me, as though my whole life were surrounded by what their whole life is surrounded with. (E)ach show I would say we had about 10 different subjects; multiply that out. There are a lot of issues to talk about that impact families."
Gay rights groups are experienced intimidators. They've tried censoring me. They feverishly oppose discussion about people who have come out of same-sex relationships and slander those who manage to get through their jamming system, saying people who abandon homosexuality weren't really homosexual in the first place. They also deny the testimony of people who claim to have been cured of homosexuality by producing someone who once claimed to be cured but now says he was really a self-hating gay. Yet many people who have been converted to heterosexuality remain so. They are rarely heard from because most broadcasters are afraid to air their stories.
Add to that the effective infiltration of the media, academia, religion and psychiatry by gay rights activists and their sympathizers and you see how this issue has been turned around in a single generation.
Schlessinger says she's happy to be on her highly rated (up 15 percent, she says) radio show and will continue to write books. But those of us who care about real diversity ought to lament the loss of this countercultural voice in the vast wasteland of television, where, increasingly, everyone says and believes the same thing and God help those who don't.
Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services.
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