Don't 'Duck' free speech

Reality-show star sticks to his beliefs, and a TV network punishes him for it

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Free speech seems nearly dead, and political correctness is killing it. Look no further than Phil Robertson, the wildly popular star of the runaway hit reality show Duck Dynasty.

  Rick McKee/ Augusta Chronicle
Rick McKee/ Augusta Chronicle

In an interview in the January edition of GQ magazine, Robertson – who never has made his Christian values a secret – emphasized his belief that homosexuality is sinful.

The cable network A&E, which broadcasts Duck Dynasty, said in a statement that Robertson’s views do not reflect those of the network. “The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely,” A&E said in a news release.

The people who suspended Robertson for his biblically based views have insulted a good portion of the show’s fan base, and this country. Basically, mainstream media are trying to outlaw conservatism and Christian beliefs. How sad and frightening that, if you don’t heel to the media’s views of morality, you can be ostracized, punished, suspended or fired.

Cable networks that enrich themselves through reality shows love nothing more than to exploit quirky, down-home folks for a quick buck. Then, at the slightest whiff of embarrassment, networks want to censor their stars’ belief systems.

Sorry, TV execs – you can’t have it both ways. By making a TV show out of the Robertson family, you bought a ticket into their lives. Now you have to take the ride. Shame on A&E for exploiting this family and then stabbing them in the back at the first sign of trouble.

A&E’s hypocrisy is gigantic. How many hundreds of hours of footage do you think the network has filmed of Robertson espousing similar beliefs? But that footage likely fell to the cutting-room floor in favor of the “reality” the show’s producers wanted to sculpt.

Now Robertson’s views emerge unfiltered, and suddenly A&E is shocked? We’re not buying that for a second.

There is a growing backlash to all this, and A&E – if it doesn’t already – will sorely regret it ever happened.

The fourth-season premiere of Duck Dynasty drew more than 11 million viewers, making it the most-watched nonfiction cable TV episode ever. The Robertson family, self-made millionaires in their own right, can survive perfectly fine without A&E – and, after this controversy, maybe even flourish further.

Could A&E say the same if it’s without the Robertsons?

Perhaps that’s why the network left its admonition of Phil Robertson as an open-ended suspension from the show “indefinitely.” Newsday TV critic Verne Gay has pointed out that the word “indefinitely” is meaningless – one week? One year? Also, it gives A&E the open-ended opportunity to grovel back to its biggest cash cow after it realizes that it’s alienated a huge chunk of its viewership.

“We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm,” the Robertson family said in a statement Thursday, posted on the duckcommander.com website. “We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.”

This is not over.

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deestafford
27412
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deestafford 12/21/13 - 01:07 am
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This incident shows the great divide in the country...

This incident shows the great divide in the country on those who believe the Bible and those who feel that sin changes with the times. There is a great deal of talk about tolerance. Let's look at tolerance:

--Tolerance usually means the acceptance of something bad. It maybe a child's behavior, bad manners on the part of someone, someone drinking,a squeaky fan belt, a rude waiter, or a myriad of other negative things. You seldom if ever hear of someone tolerating something positive.

--With good marketing and advertising something once negative becomes tolerated, exalted and is considered "good". "Good" has become "bad'' and "bad" has become "good" as a result of tolerance.

--One generation will consider something perverted or evil. The next generation may tolerate it. The next one embraces it. That is what has happened with homosexuality.

--In the guise of "tolerance" Christianity is being suppressed and its beliefs and principles are being made a mockery by the media, the entertainment world, and the leftist politicians up to and including the President of the United States.

--The US is not suffering from intolerance. The country is being overrun by the bigoted and the broadminded. Tolerance it an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil and prevents us from showing anger or inflicting punishment.

--Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. We must be intolerant about these things. Intolerance is the foundation of stability.

We must understand the US is in a culture war to the death. The Barbarians are inside the gates and they don't listen to reason. The attacks on Phil Robertson show this. This is not about freedom of speech or whether or not A&E has the right to fire him. It's about what happens when the religious principles are stood up for by a God-loving, Christian man who represents the vast majority of the country and not the 3% who are homosexual plus their allies.

OJP
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OJP 12/21/13 - 01:46 am
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This is not a free speech issue.

The First Amendment protects the marketplace of ideas from government interference. Ideas are presented, evaluated, and judged. A newspaper not understanding this is frankly unbelievable.

What would it be called if the government stepped in and forced A&E to continue to employ this person?

specsta
6505
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specsta 12/21/13 - 04:58 am
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20
ACES, Please!!!

ACES wrote - "The people who suspended Robertson for his biblically based views have insulted a good portion of the show’s fan base, and this country."

Robertson's Biblical views had nothing to do with his suspension. This man, with his thoughtless expression concerning gay lifestyles and his verbal caricature of "happy, singing blacks" picking cotton in the fields brought damage to A&E's brand, and they have every right to protect their brand.

There isn't very much that's Biblical about expressing hate, intolerance and racist ideology. For ACES to try and simplify Robertson's comments - and A&E's reaction to those comments as an attack on Biblical values - is ludicrous.

Robertson certainly has the option to exercise his free speech rights - but he must understand the consequences of damaging the brand that A&E has worked to build over the years.

This is about a company protecting their business, plain and simple.

DanK
779
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DanK 12/21/13 - 05:39 am
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Responsibility and freedom

Robertson is an employee of A&E. Any employee has a responsibility to his employer to present a positive image to its customers. And an employer has the right to discipline or fire employees who do not maintain their standards.

Robertson has not been prosecuted. He can express his immense ignorance without fear of being jailed. He can go on spouting his prejudices as long as others will listen. But no one is obligated to give him a soap box to stand on, and no company is obligated to pay him to proclaim his opinions.

This guy is your typical ignorant person who uses religious quotes to justify his obtuse opinions. He and his family do not choose to follow other portions of the bible. It is just selective quotes here and there that happen to coincide with his opinions.

According to Robertson, homosexuality leads to beastiality, which leads to promiscuity. Well, I suspect the vast majority of promiscuous people are not homosexual, and I suspect that most people who consort with animals have never had a homosexual encounter.

This is not an issue of free speech. He's free to say anything he wants. And it is not an issue of religion. Anyone can practice and espouse their religious views freely.

But with freedom comes responsibility. A company that pays a person is free to terminate him for saying things that do not coincide with the values of the company.

The fact is, 60% of Americans are supportive of gay rights and 55% of Americans do not agree that homosexuality is a "sin." And A&E is perfectly within its rights to discipline or fire employees who do not represent the company in a positive image to their viewers.

robert2410
1628
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robert2410 12/21/13 - 06:52 am
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Funny how folks on the left
Unpublished

Funny how folks on the left are all about the rights of companies when it is something they agree with. Normally they are screaming about how evil and unfair corporations are. You progressives are not consistent about anything as far as I can tell. Actually let me rephrase that, you guys are straight up liars really.

owensjef3
5639
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owensjef3 12/21/13 - 07:08 am
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Once again the chronicle
Unpublished

Once again the chronicle sides with racist ideology. Always on the wrong side of history and always trying to appeal to the worst kind of people. Why you take a side on this?

robert2410
1628
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robert2410 12/21/13 - 07:16 am
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You really consider the
Unpublished

You really consider the Robertson's the worst kind of people owensjef?

Bodhisattva
6145
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Bodhisattva 12/21/13 - 08:16 am
8
14
What the?

The Chronicle rants at MSNBC for not firing Martin Bashir fast enough for impugning the brain trust of the right wing Sarah Palin, but a suspension for the king of the rednecks is silencing free speech? The guy grew up in a parish that rotated with 4 other Louisiana parishes that led the nation in lynchings per county. I guess they might have skipped that in Louisiana history books when he was growing up. We must silence the speech of the left because it's offensive, but the right wing should be free to say whatever it wants or the PC police have come to town. I get it now. It's called hypocrisy. The Chronicle is getting better and better at it.

etlinks
20728
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etlinks 12/21/13 - 08:33 am
16
1
Good for PHIL for giving a

Good for PHIL for giving a honest opinion, I hope the rest of the Robertsons walk away from A&E.

Riverman1
83572
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Riverman1 12/21/13 - 08:45 am
20
3
Phil Is Not An Employee

I don't buy that Phil is an employee of A and E. There are contract obligations on both sides. Can actors in movies express personal, often anti-Christian views? The Robertson's do their own show and can take it elsewhere. If A and E doesn't like the show as they do it, they don't have to buy it. Anyone who watches the show knows the Robertson's are not the kind of people who will kowtow to a buck. They will end up much better off. Uncle Sy may even get a new cup. That's what I'm talking about.

owensjef3
5639
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owensjef3 12/21/13 - 08:58 am
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12
Who cares
Unpublished

Who cares

owensjef3
5639
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owensjef3 12/21/13 - 09:02 am
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Bod you caught this hypocrisy
Unpublished

Bod you caught this hypocrisy , I remember that piece.

ymnbde
9698
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ymnbde 12/21/13 - 09:05 am
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2
the toy aisle tantrum throwing gaymale lobby

and their tv exec parental enablers
no gay man's freedom of association with whomever he wishes
is either abridged or denied
and freedom of orifical association with that person, too
by what anyone says
Phil simply spoke what millions believe already
and those millions do not make anyone sit in the back of the bus
they don't make anyone drink from separate water fountains
they don't make anyone attend separate schools
they don't make anyone do anything
they simply believe something different, and without allowing for differences
then what is a "diversity" for?
and if gays can't be gay without preventing others from being themselves
then they should just grow up and grow some...

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 12/21/13 - 09:12 am
18
2
DanK stated "According to

DanK stated "According to Robertson, homosexuality leads to beastiality, which leads to promiscuity."

Actually if you go back and read his quote you will see that Phil did not say homosexuality leads to bestiality as you have accussed. He implied that homosexuality, like bestiality along with other things he mentioned like drunkenness, adultery, etc. were sin. He did not compare homosexuality to it, but included it in the definition of sin (which was the question he was asked, what is sin?)

avidreader
3186
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avidreader 12/21/13 - 09:13 am
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1
Riverman!

I'm with RM on this one. It's just business.

seenitB4
86808
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seenitB4 12/21/13 - 09:18 am
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2
You got it right AC

With this statement..

Sorry, TV execs – you can’t have it both ways. By making a TV show out of the Robertson family, you bought a ticket into their lives. Now you have to take the ride. Shame on A&E for exploiting this family and then stabbing them in the back at the first sign of trouble.

EXACTLY!

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 12/21/13 - 09:20 am
8
1
Business decisions work both

Business decisions work both ways. Seems Douglas County where the show is filmed is taking a stand.

http://www.douglascountysentinel.com/news/local/article_a2b03444-69ea-11...

carcraft
25754
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carcraft 12/21/13 - 09:23 am
13
3
The hypocrisy of the left is

The hypocrisy of the left is unbonded,freedom of choice as long as it doesn't envolve insurance, weapons, employer health insurance and school choice (DC voucher program Obama cancelled) and joining a union! Free speech is advocated by liberals as long as the truth about Obama isn't discussed, traditional Christian beliefs aren't brought up, a liberal sacred cow isn't poked like homosexuals (unless it is a Muslim doing it and that sacred cow trumps the homosexuals sacred cow, or maybe it is fear) . Keep your laws off our bodies unless it is a conservatives mouth. Then lacking ideas the liberals resort to name calling. It is like arguing with a four year old. I will put the Brain trust Palin's accomplishments up against the lier in the White House any day. Calling Obama a lier isn't name calling, it is doing what the left claims to move, speaking truth to power!

carcraft
25754
Points
carcraft 12/21/13 - 09:30 am
3
2
Should read "love "not move

Should read "love "not move

ymnbde
9698
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ymnbde 12/21/13 - 09:36 am
7
2
Christians should get their own TV networks

we've fallen asleep at the wheel for so long
that all roads are bumpy, and tv execs are horrible drivers
per the above comments
no one has asked the government to step in... jeez
it is still legal to fire a Christian for expressing their Christianity
and illegal to fire a gay for expressing their gayness...
there were just as many poor whites in the cotton fields when Phil was young as blacks... unless you know some white and black people that actually had to pick cotton to eat, you have not lived a life diverse enough to comment on the reality
you're simply judging another's real live based on your perceptional life
and that is the seed from which bigoted actions sprout... be careful
He did not say that homosexuality led to beastiality
that is a lie, and the writer is obviously as ignorant as he accuses others of being
racist idealogy, owensjef? my goodness the only active racism in this country today is by liberals and their control of the school system and their conspiracy to prevent the education of black children... anyone choosing to follow a liberal agenda is complicit in that racism... you are the new kkk, the new jim crow
so Phil Robertson is responsible for lynching? More whites were lynched than blacks.
What sins of your fathers are you willing to be sacrificed for, BOd?
my goodness... Iran is getting the means to destroy Israel
the deficit is $17 trillion and growing
the health care system is being taken over by the same people who run public education... and all the country is atwitter over what someone said
about gays
really, the national liberal media is so cognitively adolescent

grouse
1635
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grouse 12/21/13 - 09:45 am
0
0
Undisguised hypocracy
Unpublished

The Chronicle lambasts Martin Bashir for comments he made about one public figure. This fake redneck spouts off ridiculous rhetoric insulting a whole group of Americans and The Chronicle runs to his defense. Never mind, too, that this person has rather checkered past himself, yet his Biblical sins are ignored. On top of that The Chronicle knows darn well this is not a freedom of speech issue. Had he been jailed for his comments, The Chronicle would have every right and the responsibility to cry foul. I seriously doubt -- having worked there -- that any reporter, editor, or other employee interviewed by, say, the Metro Spirit, denigrated the Augusta National or Mr. Morris himself, would not be employed there very long...

carcraft
25754
Points
carcraft 12/21/13 - 09:46 am
10
1
OJP Gee what if the

OJP Gee what if the government steeped in and forced you to buy an insurance product you didn't want? Or what wouid happen if the government forced a business to bake cakes for something it didn't believe in? What if the govrrnment forced a business to give an insurance policy that violated it's proncipals? Frankly I hope Phil and the gang tells A&E they don't give a Duck and leave. They need A&E like a dog needs fleas.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 12/21/13 - 09:50 am
0
0
Quote
Unpublished

From the Bashir editorial: "It’s time to stop tolerating such intolerance." I would remind The Chronicle that in the not-so-distant past, racial discrimination was justified by cherry-picking the Bible...

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/21/13 - 09:53 am
10
4
hmmmmm...I agree that A&E has
Unpublished

hmmmmm...I agree that A&E has the right to do what they want with him, although it may be cutting off their nose to spite their face, but what I find interesting is the number of liberals who are NOW defending A&E, when a few months ago were boycotting Chick fil a.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 12/21/13 - 09:53 am
0
0
skipping to the bottom: The
Unpublished

skipping to the bottom: The folks at Duck Dynasty have made a good living off of A&E - and if they can't behave in public- or on a network then so be it. It's not like they have real talent anyway. If they want to spout homophobic or racist comments then perhaps they are better suited for the swamp.

Truth Matters
6745
Points
Truth Matters 12/21/13 - 09:55 am
6
6
Obama and vouchers don't have

Obama and vouchers don't have jack to do with this story.

Truth Matters
6745
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Truth Matters 12/21/13 - 10:06 am
3
8
"....what I find interesting

"....what I find interesting is the number of liberals who are NOW defending A&E, when a few months ago were boycotting Chick fil a."

This writer just re-exposed what all honest people can admit: there is a double standard. No surprises here. Tomorrow those who generally side with progressive thought will call it out on conservatives and then conservatives will do the same. In fact, I may have more to say later after reading more comments.

I will say that the descriptive language comparing homosexual and heterosexual copulation was way over the top for such a good Christian man in polite company. And other Christians I know thought the same.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 12/21/13 - 10:26 am
7
4
"I will say that the
Unpublished

"I will say that the descriptive language comparing homosexual and heterosexual copulation was way over the top for such a good Christian man in polite company."
TM, that is your opinion and you are welcome to it. As with other things very body has one. Phil is also welcome to his opinion. Hopefully they tell A&E to shove it.

carcraft
25754
Points
carcraft 12/21/13 - 10:16 am
5
1
Well other than limiting

Well other than limiting freedom and choice you are correct truth matters. Lets see government will fund abortions so women have a choice but comes to choice in educating their kids. Hummmm just more hypocrisy!

deestafford
27412
Points
deestafford 12/21/13 - 10:19 am
10
2
Let me point out some things that the ignorance...

Let me point out some things that the ignorance of the liberal posters have as to the racial aspects of Phil's comments.

As one who has worked the fields with blacks and have been around them on construction jobs---they do sing! Why do they do it? It establishes a rhythm for the repetitive work. I have seen brick layers start of with a slow, even song and gradually increase it over time and the pace of the brick laying would increase to match that of the song/chant. Also, think about radios and boom boxes not being around and the singing was entertainment to make the work go easier.

Let me educate the liberals a little more about the racial feelings of the Robertson family. Do y'all know that the Robertsons have an adopted mixed race grandson? Would they have done that if they are racists? Once again, the flags of ignorance and bigotry on the part of liberals have been hoisted high on the flag pole.

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