From: Kate

 By Mark McGuire, staff writer

 BOLTON LANDING -- You can't say Jerry Springer enthusiastically leapt to the
 defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. When asked, he just sort of flinched and
 did what he had to do.

 "I don't personally like her views... but she has every right to be on the
 air," Springer said Tuesday. "If we start any form of censorship because we
 don't like someone's views... then we are all in trouble."
 Despite coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum, it's not
 surprising that bad boy Springer would back up the righteous Dr. Laura, the
 radio physiologist-playing-psychologist who's coming to syndicated
 television this fall (locally on WNYT Ch. 13).

 Schlessinger's anti-gay diatribes (actually only a small part of her show)
 have sparked a backlash in the gay community, which has targeted the show by
 pressuring its potential advertisers. Several, such as Proctor & Gamble,
 have already backed out.

 "As we see other advertisers announce that they will not pursue sponsorship
 of the show, we praise them for their commitment to fairness and to
 inclusive rather than divisive television programming," said Joan M. Garry,
 executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, in a
 statement Monday.

 Springer, interviewed Tuesday before he moderated a panel discussion on
 judge shows as part of the 39th executive Conference of New York State
 Broadcasters at The Sagamore, has to back up Schlessinger. If such an
 assault on advertisers is successful, who's not to say that Springer's
 raucous talk show -- entering its 10th season -- could be next.
 "Abhorrent views fall by their own weight," Springer said, "not because we
 silence them."

 But is there a line? Is it OK to air anti-gay television? Then what about
 anti-black shows, or talkfests which target Jews? No? Then what about the
 free exchange of ideas?

 Dr. Laura would have had a perfect opportunity to discuss this at next
 month's gathering of television critics in California.
 But she's not on the schedule, apparently ducking the event. So much for
 personal responsibility.

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