« The Midwestern Conservative

For love of money

by Greg Belfrage

Things get very busy around the holidays, so its entirely possible you may have missed the total surrender of A&E Networks last week.

A&E has been embroiled in controversy since suspending Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. The network placed Robertson on "indefinite hiatus" for stating his bibical view on homosexuality during an interview with GQ Magazine.

The backlash from fans was swift and immediate. One Facbook page, Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty, gathered 1.7 million followers in a matter of hours. 

Ratings following Robertson's suspension took an immediate hit, dropping 13 percent overall and 22 percent in the key 25-54 demographic.

The resulting pressure was enough to cause A&E Networks to fold. The network released the following statement last Friday:

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 principles.

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 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. 

I nearly laughed out loud at the hypocrisy of the network's response. A&E preaches sexual tolerance to the masses while the network practices the worst kind of religous intolerance.

A&E is still trying to position itself as a strong supporter of homosexuality. However, they threw homosexual advocacy groups under the bus as soon as the future of Duck Dynasty was threatened.

When push came to shove, A&E showed which god they most idolize...Money. 

Greg Belfrage is heard mornings 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.