The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 September 2007

Dr Laura Schlessinger, Deryk Schlessinger MySpace Investigation


Army Wraps Up MySpace Probe, SLC Reporter At Issue

The US Army has wrapped up its probe into allegations that radio talk show host Dr Laura Schlessinger's son Deryk was responsible for a lurid MySpace page while serving his country in Afghanistan, according to a Santa Barbara newspaper.

On both sides of the debate, however, many questions remain unresolved, including the motivations of the reporter who first broke the story. His reports were subsequently picked up by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other publications, with the controversy briefly proving damaging for Dr Laura's career.

The Santa Barbara Independent is reporting that the Army is not indicating whether Deryk was innocent or guilty of the allegations, but left open the possibility that other soldiers had access to the page and might have added the offensive content. They have ruled out enemy sabotage, however.

Since he continues to serve in Afghanistan, any punishment must have been light, if imposed at all. Your Radio Equalizer covered this controversy extensively in May, when these allegations first surfaced.

From their report:

It seems the final chapter has an open ending in the Deryk Schlessinger saga, which began last May when Salt Lake Tribune reporter Matthew LaPlante discovered that the son of Santa Barbara resident Laura Schlessinger, a.k.a. Dr. Laura, was the subject of a military investigation.

Tipped off by a former schoolmate of the soldier’s, LaPlante reported that Deryk Schlessinger’s MySpace page was awash in objectionable material, from the aforementioned images to written entries such as “I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don't.”

When repackaged and localized LaPlante’s story on May 22, it became one of our most emailed and widely read articles to date. It was then also picked up by both the Los Angeles Times, who interviewed this reporter, and the Washington Post, among other newspapers. Since then, multiple people have called The Independent asking what happened to the investigation, and that public interest is the primary reason for this update.

While LaPlante apparently tipped off the Army about Schlessinger’s MySpace page, the Pentagon was already in the midst of shutting down soldier access to such social networking sites because of security concerns and bandwidth pressures. And one of those security concerns was that “our enemies” could be possibly behind objectionable material on soldiers’ websites, according to Army spokesman Robert Tallman. He was quoted in LaPlante’s article as saying, “It may be possible that our enemies are actually behind this. Our enemies are adaptive, technologically sophisticated, and truly understand the importance of the information battlespace. Sadly, they will use that space to promulgate and disseminate untrue propaganda.”

While the Army's vague public statements aren't likely to satisfy the lefty anti-Laura crowd (who went nuts when the story first broke), the real ongoing focus should be on the actions of Salt Lake Tribune reporter Matthew LaPlante, who moved well into the territory of journalistic advocacy by actually tipping off the military as to the website's existence.

One might assume a reporter would defend himself by saying he merely phoned the Army for a statement in the course of investigating a story, but LaPlante had a previous history of attacking her, to the point where the paper received a number of complaints from readers. That makes it difficult to trust his motivations. To defend LaPlante, the Tribune shrugged off this criticism, claiming it came from a campaign by Laura's fans.

But LaPlante didn't do himself any favors by refusing to appear on the FOX News Channel with Bill O'Reilly and Dr Laura in May, where he would have been given a chance to better explain his actions.

It's one thing to investigate a story based on a tip, that's what reporters do for a living. When one seems determined to ruin the career of another based on a political agenda or even a personal vendetta, that's another matter entirely.

In this case, it appears LaPlante was looking to capture the trophy for bringing down a major and decidedly un- leftist talk show host, which has been the particular aim of many in the mainstream media since the firing of Don Imus earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Dr Laura continues to raise money for war veterans and their families. On September 11, she will take part in an effort to support injured Marines. From a press release:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger to Perform in Circus Vargas and Take Pie in Face to Honor American Heroes on September 11

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Radio personality and best-selling author Dr. Laura Schlessinger will be a special guest performer in Circus Vargas when it honors America’s heroes at its 7:30 p.m. show, Tuesday, September 11 under the big top at the Laguna Hills Mall. All firefighters, police officers and military personnel will be admitted free and Circus Vargas will donate 100% of the proceeds from all tickets sold to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. In addition to performing in the show, Dr. Laura will be taking a pie in the face from the top bidder at intermission in auction to raise money for the fund.

The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund provides financial assistance to injured Marines and other service members injured while in support of Marine Units, and to their families. The fund provides a grant which may help with financial needs such as travel, childcare, lodging or problems resulting from lost family wages. Assistance is also given for long-term needs such as modified homes and vans. Since its inception, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund has provided more than $12 million in assistance to wounded heroes.

"I am happy to join Circus Vargas in honoring America's heroes on a day that has come to symbolize so much to our country,” said Dr. Schlessinger. “The work that the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund does is so important to help give back to the families that have sacrificed so much for all of us."

Though the Army may have finished its investigation, don't expect the left to let this one go anytime soon.

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  • Poor Brian. Once again, you demonstrate the hypocrisy of the regressives. You are always harping about "personal responsibility" and yet, despite the evidence that this was, indeed, Deryk's My Space page, you trid so desperately to shift the burden from Schlessinger to the sinister machinations of "others". Deryk wasn't a scumbag, you pleaded, but a victim!

    Because LaPlante opted not to go onto O'Reilly's Show doesn't mask an agenda, it shows his intelligence. Papa Bear is totally biased and, like you, will try to shoot the messenger. The truth of his reportage is obvious of his need not to have to defend himself to Billo or you! The reporter's agenda was obvious, Brian. He writes for a local paper and saw an opportunity to achieve national recognition. Isn't that a hallmark of capitalism, one of those things that you knuckledraggers typically praise?

    The reason Deryk is still in theatre is obvious. The Army needs bodies and he's willing to stay. But it appears thaqt the real negative result, at least for nancyhawks, is that you'll have to find sources other than My Space to live vicariously through brave and, in some instances, psycho and sociopathic men. Geez, first they take away, then public restrooms and now this!

    What's a poor closet queen to do?

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 01 September, 2007 13:53  

  • So typical. Drug addicts are scum who should be locked up forever - except for Rush Limbaugh, who is obviously a victim. People who evaded military service in Vietnam are evil - except for the neochickens now in charge of this disastrous war. Gays and lesbians are the devil's own spawn - except for Cheney's daughter. And now the poor little rightwing matchboy Deryk and his obvious paychopathy. Naturally, although all poor parents are responsible for their children's behavior, and certainly liberal parents are held accountable for their kids, the so-called 'Dr' Laura is a tragic heroine!

    By Blogger Unknown, at 01 September, 2007 15:21  

  • "Dr. Laura will be taking a pie in the face from the top bidder at intermission in auction to raise money for the fund."

    We can only pray there is lye and bacon grease amongst the fluffy frosting...

    Is there NO limit to the seediness and perversion that oozes from neoconservatism's every pore?

    Deryk's continued presence in the armed forces simply reinforces the fact that it's now standard operating procedure to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 01 September, 2007 17:32  

  • Deryk's continued presence in the armed forces simply reinforces the fact that it's now standard operating procedure to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

    hashhead's absence from that Armed Forces is proof that it is not standard operating procedure to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

    By Blogger John, at 02 September, 2007 02:59  

  • "...the so-called 'Dr' Laura is a tragic heroine!"

    "Dr." Laura is ON heroin if she thinks she's going to sell her tired, worn-out shtick to the American public again...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 02 September, 2007 20:56  

  • Actually, Brian, it is far from over.

    At some point this war will have to come to an end. As we lauched a preemptive war without justification and led to untold thousands of innocent deaths, you can rest assured that the international community will hold the planners, directors and actors in this war accountable, just as we held the Nazis and Japanese accountable after World War II.

    When that happens, there will not only be big targets but small ones. Do not be surprised when public confessors, like Deryk, are held to account for their actions as, it seems, to them, this isn't about defending the country but about yielding to their serial killer instincts.

    What will be interesting is how quickly people like you will distance themselves from their support of the war. I think, as we did to the citizens of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, we should parade you and your fellow nancyhawks past the mass graves of dead, make you smell and see the destruction and force you to personally bury them. Maybe, just maybe, you'd leaern something when you actually have a little blood and death on your hands.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 03 September, 2007 11:11  

  • I guess this fellow has real issues. Plenty of time for him to get in trouble as I recall it.just returned from a year in "stan"
    Kandahar more like a resort. Most of the time you wouldn't know there was a war going on.A filthy base, poorly run which looked like the bar scene in "Star Wars" with
    TGI Fridays, Burger King, designer coffee houses, hockey games and plenty of fattened and undisciplined US Army, Air Force and long haired unshaven NATO types in an embarrassing display of everything wrong. Most of us stayed a short as we could and went back to the fire bases where we felt better suited signed "Bones"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 July, 2010 18:47  

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