So what’s really going on at A&E? Has the network partnership between Disney and Hearst seen the light regarding “The Duck Dynasty” controversy? Have these giant media corporations capitulated to public pressure by rescinding and apologizing for attacking the faith and free-expression rights of the show’s Christian star, Phil Robertson?
Or does A&E just want to have its profitable cake and gorge on it, too?
According to the latest news reports, A&E has announced it will resume production on its No. 1 cable show, effectively rescinding its suspension of Robertson.
That’s good news. But for all those who protested against the suspension, a little discernment is in order.
First of all, A&E had no idea what it was doing when it first produced the “The Duck Dynasty.” The TV geniuses in New York who conceived this show thought they had found a family of Louisiana rubes at whom Americans would laugh themselves silly. That was the network’s first mistake. Instead, they found a family Americans found both entertaining and admirable because of their Christian convictions.
The second mistake A&E made was capitulating to pressure from homosexual special-interest groups who found Phil Robertson’s commitment to the Bible over social fashion to be the unpardonable sin. In suspending him, A&E profoundly insulted the fan base it had helped Robertson attract and jeopardized the profit center it inadvertently discovered.
Now A&E is hoping it quelled the controversy by striking a happy medium.
- The show never went off the air. In fact, through the holiday season, the network ran a marathon of past episodes.
- Production of new shows was never interrupted and is scheduled to resume this spring.
- The network is hoping that its strong and unfair words of criticism of Robertson will placate its homosexual activist friends who sought to censor the show’s stars and marginalize their religious views.
- No apology was offered to Robertson for the way his own network demeaned him and attempted to humiliate him for his Christian worldview.
The way I see it, Phil Robertson was attacked by A&E and others for espousing his honest and sincerely held Christian beliefs.
If no apology is offered to him, the damage is done – not just to Phil Robertson but to all Christians.
It’s just a matter of time before the next Christian speaks out about his or her biblical beliefs and comes under fire.
Here’s the phony statement issued by A&E in its effort not to kill the duck that laid the golden egg: “As a global media content company, A&E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals [sic].
“That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the ‘coarse language’ he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’ We at A&E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.
“But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A&E Networks also feel strongly about.
“So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.
“We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.”
One can only imagine the kinds of PSAs A&E viewers will be subjected to as part of this “grand compromise.”
In other words, this is no time for celebrating a victory for free speech and free expression of religious views.
Those American ideals are still under attack.
It is, however, a time for Jews and Christians to stand up to those inevitable attacks the way Phil Robertson did.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact [email protected].