Manufacturing Outrage

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There is often no difference between entertainment and politics. Consider recent statements by Phil Robertson, television star of the program Duck Dynasty, which airs on the A&E (formerly Arts & Entertainment) Network. During an interview with GQ (formerly Gentlemen’s Quarterly), Robertson made what some regard as offensive comments concerning homosexuality and racial history.

Heads of programming at A&E were supposedly shocked and soon distanced themselves from the commentary, assuring the indignant half of the country that Robertson was under suspension.

The usual American three-penny opera is currently playing out with the right/traditionalist/fundamentalist coalition claiming that freedom of speech is under attack. Its ringleaders at the moment are former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Opposing them are the left/progressive/enlightened elements who detect a patina of hatred if not an outright onslaught. They are led by GLAAD and the NY-LA elite alliance.

This news-channel brouhaha is as much a show as anything appearing on entertainment television. There are several reasons for skepticism.

Why was this interview allowed in the first place? Interaction between conservative talent and liberal publications is routinely avoided. Very few urbanites or metrosexuals would incline to the Robertson clan no matter what was said.

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