'Crossfire' Debates 'Duck Dynasty' as CNN Viewers Side with Robertson

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 08:46 PM

By Greg Richter

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CNN's "Crossfire"  co-host Newt Gingrich suggested that in the spirit of Christmas everyone should "be charitable" and stop trying to figure out who is "going to offend us next."

But with "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson's words against homosexuality fresh on everyone's mind, that wasn't likely.

"It is Christmas, and to me this guy looks like Santa Claus, but he was leaving a lot of coal for a lot of people in our country," co-host Van Jones said.

Penny Young Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, argued that Robertson, the head of the family featured in the A&E reality show, isn't polished, "And we like that about him."

But fellow guest L.Z. Granderson didn't buy the "unpolished" excuse, pointing out that Robertson, despite his grizzled look and rough persona, has a master's degree in education.

"This isn't some idiot out of the backwoods," Granderson said.

A&E suspended Robertson from the show indefinitely on Wednesday after he was quoted in a GQ article saying that homosexuality is a sin and compared it to bestiality.

Though Robertson used some indelicate language to make his point, Gingrich noted that his opinion isn't different from Pope Francis, who was just named Time magazine's "Man of the Year."

Jones said the whole incident is evidence that society as a whole needs to "up our skills." Jones grew up in Tennessee and had to learn much the same lesson when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and had to communicate for the first time with people very different from himself.

Both hosts and panelists from the right and left agreed that A&E had a right to suspend Robertson and that the issue was not, as Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, argued, a violation of Robertson's First Amendment rights.

As the show ended, a poll of viewers showed that only 28 percent agreed with A&E for suspending Robertson. A total of 72 percent thought A&E was wrong.

GOP operative Karl Rove, appearing on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,"  agreed that Robertson doesn't have a first amendment right to a TV show, but he does have a right to express his religious views.

Still, Rove admitted, Robertson's choice of words was "crude and offensive."

A&E shouldn't be surprised, though, Rove said, because it is impossible to watch show without knowing Roberston is a deeply religious evangelical Christian and an older person with more traditional views "expressed in Southern ways."

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