The Wittenberg Trail

As word spread of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson's reinstatement on the show Friday following his suspension over statements about homosexuality, fans and foes of the move made their views known.

Advocacy group Faith Driven Consumer, which campaigned vigorously that Robertson’s suspension be dropped, issued this statement.

“Today’s decision by A&E to reinstate Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty is in direct response to the powerful and engaged voices of millions of Faith Driven Consumers, as highlighted by more than 260,000 signers of the IStandWithPhil.com petition," the group wrote. “However, the question remains, has the Faith Driven Consumer community truly been heard?

“Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent. Today, in the network’s statement of their core values – centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ – Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity. Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and world view held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers?"

GLAAD, the advocacy group whose vocal condemnation of Robertson’s controversial comments to GQ magazine contributed to A&E’s decision to suspend the “Duck Dynasty” star, warned both the network and its reality star that they were none too pleased, and would be watching carefully the show's next steps.

“Phil Robertson should look African-American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists," GLAAD said. "If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A&E has chosen profits over African American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers.”

The Robertson clan steered clear of the controversy in an exclusive statement released to Foxnews.com, saying they were "excited to keep making a quality TV show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support. We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through 'Duck Dynasty' and our many projects that we are currently working on.

"The outpouring of support and prayer has encouraged and emboldened us greatly."

In a statement released late Friday afternoon, A&E said, “While Phil's comments made in the (GQ) 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 misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’"

The network added that “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.”

“Duck Dynasty” is a huge money making enterprise for A&E which is co-owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp. According to Forbes magazine the show has generated $400 million in merchandise sales and $80 million in ad sales for the first nine months of this year. (From Fox News website)

But the question is, should he go back?  And what about the family, should they continue? What confession of faith do they make by continuing or by stepping away? Just curious about your thoughts?

Views: 32

Comment by James Robertson on December 28, 2013 at 3:17pm

By not backing down, Phil showed that his faith is a conviction rather than a preference. By staying with A&E he shows steadfastness in faith. Leaving would create a perception the attacks affected his faithfulness and allow GLAAD to proclaim that they prevailed.

Comment by James Robertson on December 31, 2013 at 1:50pm

Comment by James Robertson on January 1, 2014 at 12:12pm

Comment by James Robertson on January 4, 2014 at 12:19pm

With Its Credibility Already In Tatters

...MSNBC decides to "double down" on its worst PR loss of 2013:

THOMAS ROBERTS: Well as we look at that, because look at this, the Duck Commander company itself, it's worth a reported $400 million through the sale of duck calls, other items that they produce. We've got 11.8 million viewers tuning in for the premiere of season 4 Ladd. So this family earned $200,000 per episode that season and they represent and they speak to a large swath of the country. Primarily the stereotype almost that you just pointed out. But how do you try to combat that? Because, obviously they're within their rights to go ahead and do this. This is all legal.

LADD EVERITT: Well, look, I mean I think the Robertson family is banking on being able to market firearms, you know, by issuing some of these very extreme political comments and hoping that it appeals to basically a swath of far right-wing Americans that they assume are their main customer base. I'm hoping that backfires. When you poll gun owners in this country, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of them are very moderate in their views. And I think many of them will not embrace the type of, you know, misogynist, racist, anti-gay comments that Phil Robertson is making. And my hope here is that this strategy, if it is indeed a strategy, will backfire on them.

What's the undercurrent-thesis behind this otherwise inexplicable tirade?

  • Guns are evil.
  • Those who sell them are Merchants of Death who must be opposed.
  • The Duck Dynasty folks will soon use their marketing muscle to sell guns.
  • Whoopee! They really are a bunch of evil backwoods bigots straight out of Deliverance! Can we get some shots photos of them buggering trespassers?

Does anyone actually watch MSNBC, or are there just a lot of unwatched sets piled up in a basement somewhere, tuned to the channel in an attempt to fool the ratings agencies?

Comment by Dave Gosse on January 25, 2014 at 11:33pm

A&E Launching Two-Faced Counterattack Against "Duck Dynasty" Robertsons
Quack! Earth Needs Men Who Stare at Ducks and Women

By J. Richard Pearcey
Monday, Jan. 20, 2014

The ducks are back. Twenty-two days after global media corporation A&E suspended Phil Robertson for freely speaking his mind on the obvious and superior God-given attractions that men rejoice to discover in women, the 5th season of Duck Dynasty premiered with back-to-back episodes Wednesday at 10 p.m.

In that span of three weeks and one day ago, the men and women of the Robertson family successfully repelled A&E’s suspension, GLAAD’s upset, Twitter’s blocking, and Cracker Barrel’s cave-in, not to mention the absolute wrath of relativistic media.

All of which suggests a memo to Time: Men are not obsolete. And to feminists: Moms, dads, and families are bonafide blessings. And to homosexualists: Wake up and smell the diversity. 

2014 Says: Controversy Not Over
Yes, the ducks have returned. But you do not have to be a fortune-teller gazing into 2014 to know this controversy is far from over.   

For one thing, A&E has said so, even while admitting defeat. For another thing, the Robertson family has said so, even while celebrating victory.

The network showed its hand when it announced in the Hollywood Reporter December 27 that “A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.”

The next sentence reveals that A&E has also mobilized to unleash a velvet-gloved counterattack: “We will also . . . 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.”

This is mediaspeak for: “We will bury you.”

A&E thereby positions itself as promoting “unity, tolerance, and acceptance” and invites the conclusion that those who disagree are on the wrong side of these “values.” It’s rhetorical camouflage and may deceive some, but will the hunters of West Monroe be fooled by it?

The Robertson family also knows the struggle is not over. Mom Korie Robertson, wife of Duck Commander CEO Willie, said as much New Year’s Eve on Fox when the couple was interviewed by Bill Hemmer and Elizabeth Hasselbeck.

When asked about what to “expect from the Robertson family” in 2014, Korie said they hoped to continue going public with their message:  “At the end of the day we sit down and thank God for our blessings. . . . Hopefully we can spread that message. . . . As a country, if we can come back to that a little bit, maybe we’ll have a great 2014.”

A&E's Public Service Contradictions

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