There's been a lot of opinion posted, broadcast and printed over the dispute between Phil Robertson and the A&E Network. So why not add a few more electrons to the mix.
First off, this is not about the 1st Amendment. Go back and read the actual text of the Constitution. (FWIW, I've thought that Obama should do the same, but that's for another post. But it did let me get in a swipe at The One.) It's a prohibition on governmental restrictions on free speech. Nothing in it prohibits individual or corporate restrictions. So while the concept of "freedom of speech" is definitely in play, let's leave the 1st Amendment out of this.
Which leads to the question, just what is the basis for this confrontation? It's plain and simple. The corporate entity A&E finds that the speech of a contractor, Phil Robertson, is offensive to its corporate sensibilities. As a result, it wishes to alter the terms of the contract between A&E and Phil.
That's it. There's no "censorship". There's no trampling of liberties. It's a dispute that deals with the contract over a television show.
However.....there's more to it in terms of viewpoints. What is happening is that A&E is saying "we don't want to provide content that features people with a certain viewpoint with which we disagree." And they are perfectly within their rights to do that. Any network can air what it chooses. Logo is a totally gay network, proudly proclaiming it. MSNBC is a progressive mouthpiece. What we now have is that A&E has come out to say that they don't want Christian values on their shows.
Fine. Works for me. A&E used to show some great television. Then it lost it's way. Some have speculated that A&E scheduled "Duck Dynasty" as a way for the coastal elites to have folks to chuckle at and to feel superior over. Those rubes in the swamp...they don't eat arugula, they don't read the NY Times, they don't vote "the right way". But it didn't work out that way.
Turns out, there are tens of millions of Americans for whom the Robertsons resonate. And they don't like what A&E has done. In other words, to satisfy their progressive social leanings, they have alienated a huge marketplace.
The Robertsons have shown that they are savvy businessmen. A&E owns the name "Duck Dynasty". Now the question is....what network will run the sequel show? Anyone for "Duck Empire"?