How Badly Can You Spin a Quote? Let Me Count the Ways!


Phil Robertson 'Happy, Happy, Happy'
(Photo : )
Phil Robertson 'Happy, Happy, Happy'


Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson answered a question about what he feels is sin in an interview with GQ Magazine. (see earlier story) The vast numbers of "reputable" media outlets that have spun his comments to leave vital parts out in order to get readers/viewers/clicks is astounding!

The Quote:

What Robertson said, when asked "What, in your mind, is sinful?" was, "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men." Then he paraphrased Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers-they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

Phil went on to say, "We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job. We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus-whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"

The Media Spin:

  • ABC News said, "Comparing homosexuality to bestiality wasn't the only inflammatory comment that came out of Phil Robertson's interview with GQ magazine, but it was the one that has gotten the most press."
  • Bustle (who says in their "about us" section, "So welcome to Bustle, where there's room for all of us.") said,"It's not surprising that the Duck Dynasty clan is sticking to its patriarch, following Phil Robertson's anti-gay comments that landed him in suspension at A&E. (Robertson compared homosexuality to bestiality in an interview with GQ, and claimed to not understand the concept, since "It seems like, to me, a vagina - as a man - would be more desirable than a man's anus.") After all, the family that is intolerant together, stays together!" (It seems like that room for "all of us" just got a little smaller!)
  • CBS News said, "'Duck Dynasty' patriarch Phil Robertson is off the hit A&E reality series indefinitely after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers, the network said."
  • Liberty Voice's headline reads, "Duck Dynasty Star Phil Robertson Victimized LGBT Community,"
  • The Huffington Post said, "Not only does "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson fail to understand what it's like to be gay, but he also thinks homosexuality is a sin comparable to bestiality" in one piece and "When 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson's GQ profile hit the stands this week, readers learned that Robertson is extremely anti-gay when he made comments about homosexuality being "sin" and likened it to bestiality." in another.
  • The NY Daily News said, "'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson took aim at homosexuality in an interview with GQ. Equating same-sex relationships to bestiality, he called homosexuality 'not logical' - and was subsequently suspended from the reality show by A&E Networks"
  • The Week skimmed over the homosexual comments to focus on Phil being racist, saying, "Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson insulted African-Americans, too. Everyone is focused on his anti-gay remarks. But the suspended star also tried to whitewash the injustices of the Jim Crow South."

Yesterday, Fox News was covering the suspension on their live broadcast and this writer repeatedly heard how Phil was "comparing homosexuality to bestiality" so many times that I was compelled to write an email to Fox to ask if anyone on the broadcast had actually read the interview with GQ and why they were "cherry-picking" from his comments while calling themselves responsible journalists. (Note: I never got a reponse!)

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has even gotten in on the fray, saying, "PETA wants A&E to do more than suspend one of the characters on 'Duck Dynasty' for damning gays. We call on the channel to challenge the entire crew of duck slayers to ignore Sarah Palin's self-serving slap on the back for spewing hate speech and deny that they are as anti-gay as they are anti-animal. All people who consider themselves followers of Christ should follow all His teachings-and that includes showing mercy, compassion, and kindness to all of God's creation, human and nonhuman alike. What's 'sinful' is hating people and animals. PETA asks everyone who consider themselves to be Christian to reject hate speech and call for this show's cancellation."

So why all of the spin? My guess is it's because headlines like "Phil Robertson Says Practicing Homosexuality is Like Practicing Bestiality" will get much more attention than something like, "Phil Robertson Answers Interview Question About Sin and Condems Sexual Sins Found in the Bible." The truth of an entire quote is apparently relative when you're talking about views/clicks. Sadly, more and more media outlets are leaning more towards the spin than the truth when spin will make more money.

Today's follow-up is no better. The Duck Dynasty family issued a statement saying, "The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil's unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family." The news outlets have spun this to make it a "We're quitting" statement.

  • TMZ - "'Duck Dynasty' Family Says ... WE WON'T DO THE SHOW WITHOUT PHIL"
  • USA Today - 'Duck Dynasty' family: No show without Phil

And on and on it goes. I'm reminded of the insurance commercial that had the female character saying, "The can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." As a society, we like to believe that what we read in newspapers and see on TV news is true and factual. This incident has proven beyond doubt that that is not the case.

Editorial: All views expressed here are my own and don't reflect the views of or Music Times LLC.



Tags : Phil Robertson Duck Dynasty

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