Duck Dynasty dad Phil Robertson expressed his honest opinion that homosexuality is a sin and that he doesn’t understand how any man would prefer the anatomy of a man to the anatomy of a woman. A&E, the network that carries one of the most popular cable TV shows, indefinitely suspended Robertson as a way of denouncing his opinions. That caused an immediate controversy to erupt from both sides of the debate. Many condemned Robertson for comments they believed were archaic and derogatory, but many praised his courage to speak his mind in an age controlled by political correctness.
After days of the heated debate over Robertson’s comments about homosexuality, it was obvious that the controversy would not go away and A&E announced it was reinstating Phil Robertson and the popular A&E show, DuckDynasty, would go on!
So, who won? Everyone! Phil Robertson won because he is seen as a hero to those who reject the growing acceptance of homosexual lifestyles and the increasing support in same-sex marriage in America. Duck Dynasty won because the controversy created the type of nationwide buzz that usually leads to an increase in viewership. The number of people who will rally to support DuckDynasty will greatly exceed those who will boycott the show. Those who condemn Robertson’s opinions are not the people who were watching Duck Dynasty in the first place - so their boycott is essentially meaningless.
And A&E won, too! The fans of Duck Dynasty and those who view Phil Robertson as a champion of free speech may bring additional support to the show. The fans of Duck Dynasty who considered A&E’s suspension of Robertson an act of violating his precious First Amendment rights will continue to support the show, thus vicariously supporting A&E – so A&E wins with those who actually condemned the decision to suspend Robertson.
The lesson we learn from this is simple and obvious! Controversy sells! Controversy promotes the media and promotes the target of the controversy and it is the audience that makes everyone a winner.
While there are a few controversies that do not always yield winners on both sides, more often controversy mobilizes both sides of a debate and that inspires loyalty and generates new interest. So, why not be controversial? Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Madonna, FOX News, MSNBC and countless other performers and media outlets have and will continue to reap the benefits of controversy. And who gets the sole credit for supporting controversy – the audience.
Interestingly, in the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty, it is the audience that will blame either A&E, GQ magazine, Phil Robertson or the media for blowing things out of proportion, but it is the audience that fueled the controversy to the point where everyone is a winner!
As consumers of all aspect of the media, understand that you – the audience – play a major role in inspiring the creation of and the perpetuation of controversies.
And since controversies sell – why not introduce as many as possible?
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/29/duck-dynasty-star-girls-should-carry-a-bible-cook-and-marry-when-they-are-15/ - do we think Phil is honestly "just this person" or is this controversy, followed by more "uncovered" video, simply a plot to keep hyping Duck Dynasty merch and viewing for the new season? I'm not a "conspiracy" guy but it's possible Phil, and A&E, are playing everyone for suckers.