- - Wednesday, December 25, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Last night for the first time, I watched an episode of “Duck Dynasty” and enjoyed it. That’s good news because I saw an entertaining reality show in which I really liked the characters, all of whom seemed “real.” That’s bad news because I put another viewer in the A&E “win” column in the midst of all this mess. I don’t agree with A&E’s stance on the issues here (“Huge backlash mounts over suspension of ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.” Web, Dec. 19).

People should be able to say what they want about what they believe in. Mr. Robertson answered a question posed to him without considering what people might think. As I read all the press and think about what has happened here, I’ve come to a conclusion: This is not really a free-speech issue. The First Amendment was written so that government could not infringe upon the freedom of its citizens to say whatever they wanted about the government without the fear of reprisal. In fact, the first word of the First Amendment is “Congress,” as in: “Congress shall make no law … .” This is a prohibitive amendment, not a supportive one.

The “Duck Dynasty” furor is really a free-market issue. A&E bowed under pressure from an advocacy group, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and suspended Mr. Robertson because the network believed it was the best business decision. A&E failed to realize that “Duck Dynasty” has a bigger following than GLAAD has members. Now they have to figure out how to walk back the suspension and save face — and then save their other networks. We’ll see how that works out.

LYNN BEAMON
Owings Mills, Md.

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