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Ducking Fairness

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The A&E suspension of Phil Robertson is outrageous, unjustified, and a threat to free expression and fairness.The key issue isn’t freedom of speech: the First Amendment ​in ​no way protects us from consequences if we say something untrue or irresponsible in a public forum.

The key issue here is the misrepresentation of Robertson’s remarks. He didn’t say anything “vile” or “hateful.” The most controversial remarks involved two propositions that aren’t in any genuine sense controversial: first the contention (in medically precise language) that most men instinctively prefer a female’s intimate equipment to the male rear end and, second, a reasonably accurate paraphrase of the New Testament Book of ​1st ​Corinthians.

I​t’s bad enough when public figures face a lynch mob mentality for edgy, provocative remarks. It’s even worse when a public figures faces the nooses, pitchforks and torches based upon an irresponsible mischaracterization of his words.

Neither paraphrasing scripture nor expressing a personal preference for female over male body parts constitute the crossing of any known red line in public discourse. A & E’s shameful over-reaction crosses every red line of sanity, decency and fairness. It amounts to nothing less than grotesque media malpractice.

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Comments (47)

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  1. Richard Beckman  •  Dec 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Please read further in GQ where Phil says “We never, ever judge”, then continues to specifically mention homosexuals. Please check it.

    • Al  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:01 am

      “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

      …and mention drunks, terrorists and other ‘sinners’. So what is your point?

  2. Patrick Glazener-Cooney  •  Dec 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you Mr. Medved for an excellent evaluation of the issue over Phil Robertson’s statements!!!! You are right on in describing A+E’s gross response!!!!

  3. Brett W  •  Dec 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I’m a more middle of the road to left kind of guy, and even I think this is insane . A&E is far to worried that a minority of people might get offended, what about this man’s belief’s, in all honesty I can see why people might get offended by Mr. Robertson’s comments, comparing bestiality with homosexuality, but if you don’t share or appreciate his point of view, don’t watch the show, I have a felling that their target audience, the people who are regularly watching the show, agree with his point of view or they don’t care, to chastise a man for his religious belief’s is wrong and un-American , freedom of speech!!!!!!

  4. Doug B.  •  Dec 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I tried to call in today, but could not get through. I am a 57 year old gay man getting married next month to the man I have shared my life with for the past 25 years. I am sick to death of being compared to drunks and liars. Michael Medved has lost all respect, trying to defend the ugly comments of Mr. Robertson. I feel bad for young gays who have to hear this crap. At least I am used to it.

    • Rodd Hardmann  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Mazel Tov on your impending nuptials. That said- if you’re “sick to death of being compared to drunks and liars”, maybe you should keep your private life private. You know… like the REST of us. You keep saying you want to be “accepted”. Then try acting in an “acceptable” manner by NOT trying to cram your whole Gay Agenda- and that’s exactly what it is- down our throats.

      I happen to be the exact same age as you; have been married 33 years, and have never ONCE told anybody of my sexual orientation. EVER- except one time when a gay man made a pass at me. That’s what a “private matter” is, which is obviously not something most gays have learned.

      I also seriously doubt that you really care what people think anyway, so this is a waste of my time and yours. It’s not like people who don’t agree with your lifestyle are being invited to your wedding or anything unless you’re related to them and have no choice.

      • Lauren  •  Jul 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm

        Never once told anyone about your sexual orientation? Does this mean you never once bought any form of pornography or made a pass at a woman? I have a feeling that you have advertised your orientation more often than you realize.

    • Dale  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

      ” I am sick to death of being compared to drunks and liars.”

      I’m sick to death of whiners who disparage a Christian’s beliefs. Phil Robertson didn’t threaten anyone, he expressed his views just as you and I did!

    • Sam  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Get over it. Your gay?, good, your queer.

      • Doug B.  •  Dec 21, 2013 at 9:07 am

        Pretty ignorant stuff you spout. Being married IS a public issue. People who don’t agree with my wedding ARE being invited to the reception, so you are wrong there too. My state does not permit us to be legally wed, so we are going next door to New York. The comments of Mr. Robertson disparaged me and a whole group of people like me and my partner. Your bigotry comes through loud and clear. The only ray of hope in this whole issue is the fact that people who disagree with my lifestyle are generally old and will be dead soon.

      • Doug B.  •  Dec 21, 2013 at 9:09 am

        Wow Sam. What a way with words you have. And your spelling is superb. You must be held in high esteem by a select group of people.

    • Seattle Sam  •  Dec 21, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Mr. Robertson did not compare gays and drunks any more than I do by saying that compulsive shoplifters and murderers are criminals.

      • Doug B  •  Dec 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        We were right in there with persons who practice bestiality. Mr. Robertson is a bigoted old fool.

      • Bob  •  Dec 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        Yes, and so many of us who are guilty of some of those sins are right there with persons who practice bestiality and yet why are we not offended by Mr. Robertson’s references to biblical content. It is because we don’t scream for validation of our behavior and rage at anyone who won’t accept it. You want to enforce your definition of “correct thought” on someone. You have judged Mr. Robertson and called him a bigoted old fool, when instead of expressing hate for those with whose behavior he disagrees, he expressed love. Perhaps you are the bigot. I feel hate in your speech and tone. That is what bullies do.

    • Bob  •  Dec 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      What Mr. Robertson said is not going to curtail your marriage to the man you love nor any of your civil rights. He did not compare your behavior to other behavior. He simply quoted a list of sinful behavior some of which most of us are guilty. A high percentage of people who have had sexual relations out of marriage could also be offended. Are you in a favored class of sinners? What makes you so special? So now that you have decided to be offended about what a man thinks you want to punish him. This is not a first amendment issue but is is a freedom of expression issue. Are you going to be a Bully too?

      • Doug B.  •  Dec 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

        Mr. Robertson has every right to spout his comments anytime he likes, and I have the right to reply, which I did, and will continue to do. After gay marriage is the law in all fifty states, what will you do then? Join those who shriek against interracial marriage? I doubt it. You will find another issue to annoy you, and make you feel superior. Very sad.

  5. Ole  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 1:03 am

    So for me this is all about hypocrisy at it’s finest. Where was everyone defending IMUS a few years back for his comments on the “nappy haired” basketball team. I didn’t see one person rushing to his side saying “oh free speech he should not have been fired.” To me there is no difference in what IMUS did to what Phil Robertson has done. If you are going to stand behind one person for using their right of free speech, stand behind all of them.

    • Rodd Hardmann  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Imus got tons of support. You didn’t hear about it because the media hates conservatives and is scared to death of the likes of “Rev.” Al Sharpton, whose blathering tirades drowned out any support.

    • caroline  •  Dec 22, 2013 at 4:59 am

      i did stand behind him actually.

    • caroline  •  Dec 22, 2013 at 4:59 am

      its racist and not rite but he has the rite to be a racist. if he looks like a jackass then he looks like a jackass.

  6. James Cullen  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 1:57 am

    The controversy over Phil Robertson’s statements in his GQ Magazine interview about homosexual behavior bears the danger of conservative Christians overlooking the most important big-picture issue involved here, which is not free speech and not just political correctness. This primarily is another attack in the consistent, aggressive campaign of intimidation and intolerance by homosexual- advocacy intimidators, and their allies in the liberal media, to have true Biblical Christianity marginalized in American society as a vile, hateful religion.

    The left’s talking points on this subject usually include the words “hate” and “vile” to describe any true Bible-believing Christian who speaks out on the subject of homosexuality. This tactic is designed to immediately demonize and silence the true Christians. If this tactic is repeated successfully enough times, gradually the Bible will be effectively considered revised to invalidate its teaching on homosexuality. One such gay advocate on Fox News’s Kelly File on 12-19-13 accused Phil Robertson of “hiding behind his religion” in spewing “vile” “hate.”

    The clearly implied point the gay-advocacy intimidators are pushing is that Christians who believe and preach the actual words of the Bible about homosexuals are spewing vile hate. And here is the key point: The Obama Administration and liberal government officials are seeking ways to criminalize that belief and that preaching as a hate crime, by laws, regulations and in the courts.

    In this case the liberal media’s usual attempt to misinform and manipulate low-information sheeple takes the form of promoting the lie that Phil Robertson “equated” homosexuality with bestiality.

    Some other Christians and Christian churches posture as morally superior to the Bible and deliberately ignore its words with respect to homosexuality, and to ignore natural law. This gains them favor with the avant garde secular left. They approve gay marriage and the idea that homosexual acts are just as moral as traditional marital sexual acts.

    It must be noted that Phil Robertson in the same GQ interview did make some insensitive and inappropriate comments about black people, suggesting that they were more happy and better off in the Jim Crow era than now. But that is not the focus of the gay-privilege intimidators, who may, however, use it to try to discredit Mr. Robertson’s accurate Biblical comments about homosexual acts.

    • Annie  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      You sir, (James) are too smart for this forum. However, Robertson’s comments about Blacks, just might (just a little maybe) have been taken out of context. Ask Mr. Medved about the statistics of the success of Blacks in the 50’s and 60’s, in a number of social measures.. Of course Jim Crow was awful, but look at their predicament now! Which is worse, it’s an honest question.

  7. colton craft  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 8:36 am

    My name is Colton craft, I was listening to Mr. Medved on CNN this morning and I completely agree with every word that came out of his mouth regarding Phil Robertson. A&E set this man up for failure. Which in my eyes is pathetic, people have nothing better to do with themselves than criticize others for their beliefs and views on different topics. A&E has really disappointed an enormous amount of people, and I as well as many others will boycott the A&E channel until they either apologize to Mr. Robertson for asking him for his opinion on a topic that honestly has no reason to even be asked, then immediately publicizing his remarks and criticizing him on it. Or just let this all pass, let the show continue with ALL of the characters in the show. Why do people ask such questions just to bring someone down? Why?? If someone could explain that to me I would love a logical and intelligent explanation. People these days are so jealous of someone doing better than others and they let that get to them and want to immediately bring them down. This is getting completely out of control! Leave people alone and let them be who they are. If you don’t want to hear something then don’t ask them a question. Worry about other more important topics…not a successful family who has belief’s that are from the bible which they were raised to believe! I’m a Christian myself and couldn’t agree more with what Mr. Robertson has said

    Colton Craft

  8. Ed Chandler  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

    This mornings comments on CNN were the most complete and fair analysis of the Phil Robertson situation I have heard on TV. Thanks, Mr. Medved, for speaking out in such an intelligent way.

    • colton craft  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Ed chandler I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Jeff  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Ed, you are correct.

  9. Pam Marshall  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I imagine Obama and his minions are THRILLED that there is such a brouhaha over the comments made by Mr. Robertson. Particularly now that he has made another imperial edict concerning Obamacare.

    • JBL  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:39 am


  10. Toni Winget  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 10:32 am

    It doesn’t matter what side you are on. It only matters that we DEFEND our freedom of speech.

    We will never begin to understand each other unless we are allowed to talk freely.

  11. FR John a GREEK ORTHODOX PRIEST  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 10:35 am

    What Mr Robertson said is what the Christian bible and the 2,000 year Old Eastern Orthodox church has always taught , it’s obvious from basic anatomy that the creator made male and female body parts compatible in procreating the race and homosexual and lesbian desires are the result of the fall as is ALL SIN. FR John H, NYC

  12. Rickster  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Which is why I hate the left & democrats so much. They start every discussion with the premise that they are 100% correct and why are YOU wrong. When you present your side of the issue – you do not engage in an exchange of differences they simply begin to call you names until you stop.

  13. Johnhorse  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

    From what I have read MOST that posted on this Forum Back Phil Robertson.I am beginning to to think Phil was set up BY A&E I’m NOT sure Why but that is what it looks looks to me.What ever they thought they were going to gain TOTALLY BACK FIRED and I for ONE will look up ALL WHO Advertize on A&E and Boycott them as well.The Producers on some of these stations and the stations as well are taking Politically correctness WAY Over the line and it is time for WE THE PEOPLE to PUSH BACK.Our Constitution is MORE at Risk EVERYDAY,and to Kill this Cancer that has infected our Constitution it is going to take a Good Shot of WE THE PEOPLE to STOP IT NOW OR OUR NATION IS LOST.TIME TO STAND UP for OUR CONSTITUTION.

    • Dallas Kipp  •  Dec 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      I think you are on to something. A & E knew what Robertson was about when they hired him. It now looks like they set him up just waiting for something like this interview to come down so they can jump on it and show their Liberal allies how tough they are on Christians. Yuk.

  14. JBL  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Mr. Robertson has every right to state his views. And unless there is something in his contract to the contrary, A&E has every right to suspend him if it disagrees with those views. But what did the network expect him to believe about the gay lifestyle? And did they really think the rest of the family would continue with the show without him? On the other hand, how many of those hating on A&E’s action called for Martin Bashir’s head when he made those hateful comments about Sarah Palin? Like MSNBC, A&E is making a business decision. If you don’t like it, don’t watch A&E.

  15. NEIL KLEIN  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 11:53 am


  16. Fish  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I am a Christian, I believe in the Bible, What Mr. Robertson said is correct. I personally believe as Mr. Robertson, God will judge them. I do not care if they live together or even have a so called marriage, I know what a real marriage is. What gets my goat is LGBT community continually cramming the agenda down my throat, no pun intended. I totally agree with Mr. Hardmann above, and as Johnhorse said, IT IS TIME TO TAKE A STAND

  17. showmevagabond  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    The Arts & Entertainment network’s first intention was to use Duck Dynasty as a laughing stock example of low voltage southern mentality that might make its target audience feel better about themselves. Lo, when the show became a huge money-making hit the network had to sweep its original intentions under the carpet and jump on the horse for the ride. Now faced with an instance where a star of the show reveals personal beliefs that have always run contrary to network beliefs, the network is forced to come to the defense of its core constituencies. What A&E – and most everyone else on the left -fails to realize is there are many, many more of us than out there then there are of you.

  18. Jeff  •  Dec 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Mr. Medved was outstanding on CNN this morning. It was refreshing to hear a civil conversation. What a skillful job of not allowing the host to assert inaccurate premises.

  19. Don  •  Dec 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Phil simply said sin is sin He did not rate it A&E on the other hand picked a certain sin out and ran with it trying to make an issue out of something that bothers them,maybe they should ask God what sin is I am sure He would be very informing on these matters,perhaps try opening up the Bible and see what God says about it ,then try suspending God, won’t work

  20. Lee  •  Dec 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Phil did nothing except state the truth about what most, at least 98%, of men prefer and quote part of the bible. He got in far more trouble, much more quickly, than the MSNBC host who suggested that someone should poop in Sarah Palin’s mouth. That’s what happens when the country bows down to PC nonsense.

  21. caroline  •  Dec 22, 2013 at 4:57 am

    i’m a non-religious gay person and i still think this suspension is a horrible idea.
    i like how as a society we’re totally ok with someone like miley cyrus parading around dry humping everything on national television, but the second someone says something we see as immoral we suddenly have standards.

    let them say what they want.

    i dont get offended because i don’t agree with them and therefore i dont think it applies to me. i just can’t take it seriously, i find it ridiculous. its a waste of time to get upset over, let alone suspend a show and waste all this time talking about it.

    people like to forget what this country is about.
    freedom of speech…unless i don’t want to hear what you have to say?

  22. caroline  •  Dec 22, 2013 at 5:01 am

    most importantly freedom of religion.

  23. Mark  •  Dec 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I think this is a rehash of the old sweet coke scam. Straw man A&E took them away before they got boring. They will NOT cook the golden goose/duck.
    Sorry to poop on the party. I should wait till one of them conspiracy shows to point this opinion out. Its still a free speech bonanza.

    • Mark  •  Dec 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      We will never know if I was right but we do know that if your a star you right your own ticket. Someone with average rating gets the boo for making wavest, but “all is forgiven to those that succeed” (Poet/guitarist Bob Pringle/the disappointments). That’s show biz. Nothings new.

      • Mark  •  Dec 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        correction : gets the boot for making waves.

  24. jguy  •  Dec 23, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Looks like a freedom of speech issue to me…..BUT one can expect what one
    says to affect their “work” life. He is free to say what he did but he must know
    there can be consequences. Look at Jesus….He said what he said…and talk
    about consequences….how about crucifiction?
    I am not a Duck Dynasty watcher because the full beard look is repugnant to
    me….I dont know why..but it is. I dont like these alligator swinger…
    macho reality? shows that seem to me to be basically designed to make white
    guys look like idiots by magnifying the respectful but nonintellectual pursuits
    of seemingly “only” white males. NO THANKS.

  25. Gary Liniger  •  Dec 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    A&E was within their rights to suspend Robertson. Albeit A & E was in error in doing so. What Robertson said was the same old stuff folks who believe in the bible speil all the time. It did no harm to anyone. Why can’t two views be allowed in this country without all the rancor?

    I did laugh at someone who said that A & E suspended Robertson because A & E did not want to offend the huge gay and black audience that watch Duck Dynasty.

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