Things aren't going for A&E quite like the cable outlet's politically correct executives expected. They've turned a formerly obscure guy who looks like a ZZ Topper into a national hero.
The firestorm created by the suspension of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson for, in A&E's words, expressing "his personal views" on homosexuality, based on his evangelical Christian faith, is becoming a milestone for the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and religion.
Odds are a lot of the people defending Robertson's right to speak his mind without reprisal from A&E have different views and represent other faith traditions. Even so, they recognize that in defending Robertson's rights, they protecting their own.
Standing up to the bullies
So far, commercial sponsors of "Duck Dynasty" are standing with the Robertson family against A&E's PC bullying. Cracker Barrel, for example, wavered initially, but backed off in the face of a huge storm of protests.
Similarly, executives with Under Armour, DD's biggest commercial sponsor, made clear their corporate disagreement with Robertson's views, but said they will continue with the show.
Under Armour's position is commercially prudent and constitutionally sound: Robertson can speak his views, just as Under Armour can make clear its contrary opinions, but without having to also alienate millions of DD viewers who are potential customers.
The real conflict
Writing in The Atlantic, Larry Alex Taunton points to the fundamental issue behind the DD debate:
"Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance, and acceptance is not the same thing as an endorsement ... does this mean we have become a nation of bullies, forcing conformity while calling it tolerance?"
To appreciate fully how right Taunton is about PC bullying masquerading as tolerance, watch this presentation by Robertson earlier this year in California.
Editor's Note: Morning Examiner will return on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Hugh Hewitt: The next crop of cardinals will tell much about the Pope.
Gregory Kane: The new McCarthyism snags Duck Dynasty.
James Jay Carafano: Bangladesh is a chance to right the fight against Islamism.
OpEds/Douglas MacKinnon: Duck Dynasty flap may be a Boston Tea Party moment.
OpEds/Melanie Sturm: Iran and Obama's "Lie of the Year."
In other news
The Washington Post: Healthcare.gov contractor's past record wasn't considered.
The New York Times: Sardines turning on each other in jammed jets.
New York Post: De Blasio flak "shacking up" with Spitzer.
Chicago Tribune: Complaints increasing over Essure birth control device.
Boston Herald: Hats off to Dukakis' enduring helmet.
The Weekly Standard: Obamacare is falling apart before our eyes.
National Review Online: Hiding the hacking at healthcare.gov.
American Thinker: Has A&E awakened a sleeping giant?
The Federalist: The enigma of capitalism and its future.
Talking Points Memo: Obama support hits record low.
American Prospect: Kerry's Middle East grind.
The Huffington Post: There is no principled debate with conservatives about suppressing the right to vote.
The Nation: Who didn't kill JFK?