Will somebody please tell me why major news media outlets are hosting ‘experts’ to continuously debate the “rights” of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson??
I’ll tell you why-or rather, if only because nobody at CNBC knew how to put the issue into real perspective: its because Duck Dynasty has, in just one year, become a $400 million annual revenue business. That’s right, the real story, not the reality TV version, is the brouhaha that has since taken over any remaining intellect on the part of CNN’s programming team (as well as other “major networks”), is about money. Do-Re-Me. $400 million a year’s worth.
That’s right; in case you’ve taken a sabbatical from the trending twitter headlines and the every-day assault of “breaking news”, Duck Dynasty generates $400 million a year in revenue. Using standard industry metrics, these back-woods jerkies have a brand that is worth at least $2billion..Even if counting using bitcoins, that’s not chopped liver.
It is not about any so-called debate as to whether Phil Robertson’s constitutional rights have been violated; A&E, the network that airs this top-viewed show that is not much other than the modern version of Beverly Hills Hillbillies, is a corporation whose business is business. Like any other entertainment company, they pay for content that entertains, but they reserve the right to cancel those payment agreements if they, in their sole determination, determine it is not in their best business interest to continue to broadcast said content. This happens when too many members of the audience voice their displeasure and protest, and in turn, causes sponsors/advertisers to cancel their agreements in conformance with standard clauses.
Let’s put this into perspective. The Ducksters attract the world’s biggest retailer’s audience. We’re talking about Walmart. But wait, there’s more..Walmart is the store du jour, every day of the week for a vast majority of our country’s underemployed, “economically-disenfranchised” and financially-challenged. We’re talking tens of million of people in a country whose divide between well-off and well, simply just “plain, old-fashioned f*cked” folk becomes ever wider. This includes a vast population of card-carrying rednecks such as the personas the Robertson family works hard at emulating, but not terribly hard to capture the imagination of Sarah Palin.
Along the way, they’re raking in $400 million a year (or at least their ‘brand’ is courtesy of multiple licensing, advertising and sponsorship deals on top of merchandising deals).
Which brings me back to the opening rhetorical: why are seemingly intelligent news organizations dedicating so much air time to this issue? More important, why are they framing it as if A&E’s corporate decision should be misconstrued for being anything more than a corporate decision?
Is it because programming execs are focused on maintaining the highest standards of journalism, and reporting stories that have a meaningful impact on society? Do these media czars really and truly believe that this issue even deserves consideration for being a ‘constitutional rights’ debate? Help me by emailing me and telling me this can’t be true!
Or, have the lunatics taken over the asylum and we can attribute this latest insert into the news cycle for the latest rendition of an industry that is merely focused on serving up crap that advertisers are happy to underwrite, simply because the diners are zombies who happen to like eating crap and the other low-priced items those advertisers happen to sell?
Catering to the notion that Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson deserves a platform by which to conduct a national debate on the Tea Party’s most favorite topic “Freedom of Speech” , one that they are equally beloved and deservedly maligned for, is a preposterous argument. But only preposterous if the overwhelming majority of those who promote that view are truly as ignorant and uninformed as the many millions of people who live under despot rulership and have no means by which to achieve basic freedoms.
By the way, the Ducksters and the folks at A&E are salivating because this ‘incident’ has just added a 2x factor to the value of the Duck Dynasty franchise. The major news networks will simply be remembered for their irresponsibility for profiling this most current example of human stupidity, while the Ducksters laugh all the way to the bank. Amazingly, they will turn this incident into mail-box money for the next generation of folks who walk like ducks, and quack like them too…as evidenced by a great film clip: