Laura Schlessinger, of “Dr. Laura” fame, is taking a break from her weekly column in the Santa Barbara News-Press following accusations regarding her son’s allegedly sordid Myspace.com profile and her own provocative comments regarding military spouses.
Although the self-help specialist-turned radio show host’s spokesman and Strategic Public Relations and Reputation Management Counselor Mike Paul would not comment on why Laura Schlessinger was taking a hiatus from her column, the announcement followed the discovery of her military son’s Myspace page – which featured drawings of rape, child molestation and torture. The sabbatical also came on the heels of a public backlash against inflammatory comments Laura Schlessinger made two weeks ago regarding soldier’s wives and their responsibility to not place a burden on their enlisted husbands.
An e-mail to the News-Press’ public relations firm and calls to the newsroom were not answered as of press time, but Paul said that Laura Schlessinger’s hiatus is not permanent.
“She took a short break,” Paul said. “That’s all I have to say about it.”
A week and a half ago, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Deryk Schlessinger, Laura’s 21-year-old son serving in Afghanistan, allegedly posted cartoon images of child pornography, photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths and a photograph of a military detainee – bound and blindfolded – with the title “My Sweet Little Habib” below it onto his Myspace page. The profile, which was credited to Deryk Schlessinger and contained numerous photos of him, was shut down after the Pentagon intervened over a week ago. According to the Tribune, Deryk Schlessinger’s alleged Myspace included statements such as: “Godless crazy people like me [have become] a generation of apathetic killers.”
Pentagon officials said they have launched an investigation into the matter.
Laura Schlessinger – who was hosting her nationally syndicated radio show from Fort Douglas base in Utah – also sparked media controversy recently after her comments directed toward military wives were transcribed in national newspapers and picked up by scores of bloggers.
“You’re not dodging bullets,” the Tribune quoted Laura Schlessinger as saying. “So I don’t want to hear any whining – that’s my message to them.”
In her blog three days later, Laura Schlessinger apologized for any confusion and said her comments were taken out of context. The radio show host said she was only advising spouses not to a worry or demoralize their fighting husbands.
“I am a military mom,” Laura Schlessinger said. “I whine to my husband every day about how scared I am for my son and how helpless I feel to protect his body and soul. However, I never whine to my son when he is able to call between missions. That, and only that, is my point.”
Laura Schlessinger began writing for the Santa Barbara News-Press last year, shortly after the paper’s top editors resigned in protest of owner Wendy McCaw’s alleged interference in the newsroom. In her tenure at the News-Press, Laura Schlessinger has defended the paper against accusations, commented on other local news outlets and even criticized the Daily Nexus’ own Wednesday Hump sex column.
“I must say, however, that [former News-Press executive editor Jerry] Roberts working at the Daily Nexus [as Publications Director], which typically presents its own version of vulgar sexuality (check out the “Wednesday Hump” section www.dailynexus.com) looks bad – whether or not he works in the finance or editorial end,” Laura Schlessinger stated in her May 13 column.