Columns

The Difference Between Outrageous and Controversial

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Russian television star Ivan Okhlobystin told a Siberian rally he would like to see all gay people “burned alive in ovens,” offering a useful contrast with the raging American controversy over Duck Dynasty.

Media executives might reasonably distance themselves from the Russian actor’s cruel remarks, but Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson never said anything comparable.  His controversial GQ interview merely suggested that most men instinctively prefer female body parts and paraphrased a New Testament passage including homosexuals in a long list of sinners.

A&E network may disagree with their top reality show star, but his opinions hardly count as so outrageous and disreputable that he must be taken off the air. No, the First Amendment doesn’t protect us from consequences of our own remarks, but the mischaracterization of Robertson’s comments as “vile” or “hate-filled” counts  as media malpractice.

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