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Protests, Phone-Jamming, Denouncements & Demotion:  Dr. Laura campaigns heat up.
 

Stop Dr. Laura  demonstration WHILE many Canadians await the pending release of guidelines from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council regarding Dr. Laura Schlessinger's radio call-in show, developments continue in the effort to prevent her from moving to television in the fall as well as have her present radio rhetoric either 'toned down' or removed.

Canadian gays and lesbians have been organizing to identify all radio stations here which currently air the show, with a view to taking action such as jamming the call-in lines in order to cripple the broadcast.  In the lead camp is Montreal's Michael Fein, who brought attention to the issue by e-mailing radio station CJAD with complaints.

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Rick Moffat, Program Director of that station, was interviewed by Richard Burnett of Montreal's gay press about ten days ago.

"I've been getting more emails about the Dr. Laura issue than about the Expos," Mr. Moffat told Hour magazine.  "Dr Laura gets more than four to five times more complaints than any other show.  And I will tell you one complaint [citing Schlessinger is hateful] has resulted in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission getting tapes of Dr. Laura from us."

Mr. Burnett reported that CJAD refuses to be swayed by listeners or advertisers, and that although the Program Director disagrees with her he's not in the habit of monitoring the views of his editorialists.

Meanwhile, stateside, some advertisers have dropped the Dr. Laura radio show.

Nathan Loveless, 8, joins a friend in holding up the flag at the Chicageo protest, while Nathan's dad, Mark (off-camera) speaks to the protesters.  Mark says he and Nathan are protesting today because Dr. Laura's rhetoric is "inflammatory."  Source: StopDrLaura.com
StopDrLaura.com reported in late March that More.com and Amica Insurance pulled their ads from Schlessinger's radio show after receiving complaints.  Amica is the oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in the US, while More.com offers health, beauty and wellness products online.

And just a week later BoxLot.com, the world's largest privately-held Internet-based auction company, announced it will no longer run advertisements on Dr. Laura's radio show, either.  "As far as I'm concerned, there won't be any future advertising done on her programs, either television or radio," Tom Watkin, the company founder, told StopDrLaura.com

A Vermont radio station was reported last week as dropping the show entirely, while rumours abounded in San Francisco about Dr. Laura being demoted to a weaker signal AM station.

Radio Digest's Bill Mann reported in his April 7th column "sources tell me KGO may soon drop the controversial, gay-alienating talk radio dominatrix" and that San Francisco was "about to become the first major radio market to take another conservative droneologist, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, down a notch or two.

"[The] program director makes no secret of the fact that he gets tons of anti-Dr. Laura mail - and not all from gays.  It's also common knowledge that many of KGO's regular listeners instantly tune out when the L.A.-based yenta's tiresome anti-abortion soapbox comes on," Mr. Mann wrote.

But developments have not been one-sided.  The religious right organization Family Research Council took out a one page ad in the Washington Times April 11th claiming "the thought police are out to silence Dr. Laura's First Amendment rights" and supporting her for "courageously speaking the truth about immoral, unhealthy and dangerous aspects of homosexuality and the hope afforded by the ex-gay movement."

In opposition to the Stop Dr. Laura movement, a website in support of her was launched recently.  SupportDrLaura.com was created by US Air Force veteran Dan Sherman who exhorts viewers to 'Go Take on the Gay.'  Mr. Sherman agrees with Dr. Laura that gays and lesbians are 'biological errors' and believes that people can become heterosexual at anytime should they so choose.  The site links to another of Mr. Sherman's which describes his communications with extra-terrestrials.

After CBS security went away, protesters Stuart Paul (right) and Medgar Marceau (left) reclaimed the front door of CBS.  Medgar was asked where his first name came from, and he said his parents named him after slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.  Source:  StopDrLaura.com
As well, the question of whether stopping Dr. Laura represents censorship, and if that in itself is acceptable, is increasing in prominence.  An online poll currently being conducted by the US National Gay Lobby reveals 77% of respondents answered 'No' to the question of 'Do you oppose censorship, even of our enemies?'  Nineteen percent had answered 'yes' at the time of uploading this story.  The poll began about a week ago.

And on April 4th CNS, a religious right news network, announced that "on March 22nd, the [Paramount] network made the decision to go forward with its plans to produce a Dr. Laura Schlessinger television program, despite the best efforts of these radical, intolerant, and hateful Leftists to stop them."  Further news reports indicated that Dr. Laura had actually gone into Paramount's television studios to begin preparations for broadcasting in the fall.

The battle to stop that planned broadcast, however, continued this weekend with simultaneous protests in Chicago and Dallas.

On Saturday a diverse group of some 200 people - gay, straight, young, old, black, white - were at the headquarters of a CBS affiliate in Chicago which had earlier announced its intention to air the show.  Slogans included 'No Compromise with Hate,' 'Dump Dr. Laura,' and 'Dump the Quack or We'll be Back.'  The entire sidewalk in front of CBS headquarters was filled for an hour and a half with speeches and picketing.

Best coverage of the protest, with an extensive collection of photos, is by StopDrLaura.com's John Aravosis, online at About.com.