Quote of the Day: I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to….Um….

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From Sarah Palin, five days after defending Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson for his anti-gay statements in a GQ interview:

I haven’t read the article. I don’t know exactly how he said it.

That’s a shocker, isn’t it? But no matter. For Palin, this is basically affinity marketing. It doesn’t really matter what Robertson said, only that he represents the kind of right-thinking real Americans that Palin fancies herself a spokesman for.

And as long as I’ve now broken my vow not to comment on this idiocy (or Pajama Boy or Justine Sacco), here’s something I’ve been idly wondering about. Since I’m not a real American, I don’t watch Duck Dynasty, but I’ve seen a few episodes here and there while channel surfing. And even from just a few minutes’ viewing it was pretty obvious that it was very heavily edited. These guys clearly have a lot of seriously un-PC views, and A&E is pretty careful to make sure that none of them end up on the air. They prefer lovable old coots to a bunch of backwoods culture warriors.

In other words, the lack of anything even remotely political on the show seems pretty plainly artificial. Right? So it surely wasn’t a surprise to A&E that Phil Robertson has the views he has. I’ll bet they have miles of tape that ended up on the cutting room floor because it was likely to offend someone.

Anyway, I’m curious: Am I off base about this? It was practically the first thing that crossed my mind when I first saw an episode of the show. Is it really as obvious as I think, or did I jump to a conclusion I shouldn’t have?

UPDATE: Actually, it sounds like I might have been off base about this. It turns out that the whole Duck Dynasty redneck schtick is much more an invention than I realized, and the show is tightly scripted (not just edited) before the season even begins. That said, it’s still a virtual certainty that A&E knew Phil Robertson’s views on hot button cultural issues perfectly well. In fact it seems more likely than not that this entire controversy was deliberately engineered by A&E to generate publicity. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me, anyway.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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