Following cable network A&E’s impetuous suspension of reality star Phil Robertson, fans of “Duck Dynasty” and free speech advocates sprang to his defense. Robertson was placed on an indefinite hiatus after expressing a biblical view of homosexuality during an interview with GQ Magazine.
Public response was swift and overwhelmingly in support of the Louisiana preacher and founder of hunting supply manufacturer Duck Commander. The Western Center for Journalism sent more than 40,000 petitions directly to network executives in the days following the controversy.
In an about face announced Friday, A&E rescinded Robertson’s suspension and has welcomed him back to the most popular reality program on cable television. Of course, the huge groundswell of support likely played a pivotal role in the decision.
This development can be considered a win for conservatives who continue to battle political correctness any time they express a view not approved by the left. It is a shame that Robertson, who merely paraphrased a passage of 1 Corinthians in his assertion that homosexuality is a sin, has been labeled a bigot and his comments derided as hate speech.
Fortunately, sanity has prevailed. Although the network’s statement reaffirmed A&E does not share Robertson’s views, it also concluded the “Duck Dynasty” clan has become so popular because “they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness.”
In the near future, the network indicated it will engage in a public service campaign to reflect those values.
It is obvious A&E acted impulsively in pandering to homosexual lobbyists who demanded swift and decisive action. In retrospect, it seems the network has felt the repercussions – if not logically, at least financially.
Numerous boycotts of the network have been announced in recent days, which led to a serious ratings nosedive. Even a recent “Duck Dynasty” marathon could not prop up sagging viewer numbers.
In an advertiser-driven industry such as broadcast television, getting executives’ attention by targeting their bottom line is far more effective than appealing to their better judgment.
–B. Christopher Agee
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