What the Duck? A Network is Surprised When One of its Reality Stars Says Something Bigoted

There’s a lot of nonsense all over this scandal, so let’s get it over quickly.

Cable network A&E suspended one of the “stars” of its quasi-scripted reality show, “Duck Dynasty,” for saying something insensitive about homosexuals. Phil Robertson, 67, made the comments in a GQ interview.

How A&E Faltered

“Duck Dynasty” is a show centered around a Louisiana family running a business selling duck calls ending episodes with a pre-meal prayer. So that’s a white, religious, southern family working in the hunting industry. Somehow A&E is surprised when one of them expresses bigoted views. I’m sure there must be some kind of morals clause in the contract with the network, but it looks like A&E failed to make sure the cast understood what it means. Maybe Phil thought he was being moral. The bottom line is A&E knew what it was getting and took this risk. They could have managed their “talent” a little better and not found their very profitable show at risk.

How Phil Faltered

I’m not buying it that he’s just some ignorant hillbilly.  He’s aware that his views on the subject are controversial, and that people would raise a stink if he expressed them in a larger forum.  He knew better.  I’m not ruling out the possibility that this is a publicity stunt.  Look how Chik-fil-A cashed in against the backlash against the outrage against its anti-gay support.

Outrageous Outrage

There’s some self-righteous anger in the outrage.  Some folks measure themselves by how angry they get over things that offend them.   This happens on the right and the left.  If you’re more pissed off about something trivial that means you’re a better supporter of the cause than everyone else, or you love Jesus more than everyone else.  If you didn’t faint when you heard the news, you don’t really care much about freedom/equalty … for shame.

Keep in mind that nobody is going to somehow change their position on gay rights based on what this “reality” star says.   Make your point that his views are antiquated and bigoted — (so Robertson’s side does not own all of the airtime on the scandal) — then move on.   Spending all day organizing a letter writing campaign against Duck Dynasty or planning a march to West Monroe, Louisiana, is a waste of your effort.  That time is best spent elsewhere.

Reaction from Political Hacks

Those that complain about the First Amendment here do not understand the First Amendment.   Your freedom of expression is (somewhat) protected against action by the government.   When you say something stupid, businesses and individuals can say or do things back to you that hurt your feelings or cash flow.  You know, that free market that lets us choose not to support folks spreading intolerance.

Yet here we are.

Sarah Palin: “Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

Senator Ted Cruz: “If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson.  Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that he was suspended from his job.  In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him — but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree.”

Governor Bobby Jindal:  “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with,” Jindal said. “I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive.  But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.  In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

Is it their willful ignorance, or are they appealing to an audience that thinks the First Amendment protects people from private & personal sector consequences when they express hateful views.  A&E is a business that doesn’t want to lose customers because of what one of its employees said.  It is attempting to mollify any offended viewers by offering up a punishment for Phil, hoping the offended will continue watching and buying merchandise.


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