The day after she engaged in the racially charged rant which eventually led to her deciding to step down from her radio show, Schlessinger apologized for having "articulated the "n" word all the way out - more than one time." But as the Rev. Al Sharpton pointed out, the repeated use of a racial slur wasn't the only problem with her comments - the "whole line" of her remarks "was extremely disturbing."
Tonight on CNN, we found out why Schlessinger neglected to apologize for some of those additional comments - she doesn't think there's anything wrong with them.
During an interview, John Roberts pointed out that while much of the media attention devoted to Schlessinger's comments has revolved around her repeated use of a racial slur, "there were some other things that you said during that broadcast that other people found even more troubling than the n-word." Rather than apologize for those comments, Schlessinger kept digging:
Roberts brought up her comment that "I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don't get it," and noted that "some people thought that was really a racist point of view." Schlessinger replied, "I don't. I think that was an observation."
Roberts then raised Schlessinger's remark that "without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for Obama simply 'cause he was half-black... it was a black thing." Roberts raised a Columbia University professor's statement that Obama did not receive a substantially larger portion of the black vote than John Kerry got in 2004.
Schlessinger did not respond to Roberts, instead attacking her original caller for her purportedly "racist statement that whites are afraid of the black man taking over America," and pointing out that she had responded to that statement by pointing out that whites had been responsible for Obama's election since blacks make up such a small percentage of voters. She then attacked Roberts for not having played the caller's statement. Incidentally, the exchange Schlessinger was describing came on the other end of the commercial from the one that Roberts brought up.
Defending indefensible statements wasn't all Dr. Laura did on CNN.
Roberts opened the interview by repeatedly challenging Schlessinger's contention that her First Amendment rights had been violated:
ROBERTS: You said that you're leaving your radio show to regain your First Amendment rights. How did you lose them?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, I think everybody in the media risks that. I'm not the only one. I don't see myself as a victim in particular. It's the atmosphere in America today where there is very little debate and just the attempt to silence voices that somebody disagrees with.
ROBERSTS: But does this go beyond being disagreed with? You said something that was very offensive.
SCHLESSINGER: Well, yes. And I was trying to make a point about the hypersensitivity of racial issues. And I made it the wrong way. I instantly realized I had blown it.
ROBERTS: But you seem to be, and correct me if I'm wrong, Dr. Schlessinger, saying that you've taken yourself off your radio show because other people are not allowing you your First Amendment rights even though you were wrong to have said what you said.
Roberts also caught Schlessinger in a falsehood when she tried to defend herself by attacking Nancy Pelosi. Schlessinger was forced to apologize "for being inaccurate":
SCHLESSINGER: My decision was not based on this incident. My decision has been percolating for about a year when I realized more and more that -- like Nancy Pelosi saying we should investigate people who have a problem with the mosque being built at Ground Zero. Investigating these people?
ROBERTS: That's not what she said.
SCHLESSINGER: And I'm just pointing out --
ROBERTS: Well, what she said it would be good to have the same transparency --
SCHLESSINGER: You know, it would be good if I could finish a sentence.
ROBERTS: I'm sorry. You're being inaccurate in what you're saying.
SCHLESSINGER: All right.
ROBERTS: I'm just trying to correct the record.
SCHLESSINGER: Well, I apologize for being inaccurate.
ROBERTS: She said in the same way that there should be transparency behind the mosque funding, there should also be similar transparency behind the people who are opposed to the mosque.