The First Amendment protects against government interference in the exercise of free speech. The First Amendment does not govern how a private media company makes intenral programming decisions. The Governor of Louisiana does not appear to understand the distinction:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) rushed to the defense of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson after he was suspended from the reality show by A&E Wednesday for a series of remarks he made about gays and non-Christians in an interview with GQ Magazine.
Jindal issued a statement Thursday that suggested Robertson’s remarks should have been respected under the First Amendment and that they were less objectionable than the behavior of pop star Miley Cyrus.
“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV,” Jindal said. “In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment . It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”
Jindal appears to find nothing wrong/inappropriate with Phil Robertson’s characterization of homosexuals and homosexuality. He appears to have more of a problem with Miley Cyrus’ dance moves. Perhaps he should give up his job as Governor (he’s not exactly the most popular governor) and start his own television network that features nothing but Duck Dynasty 24/7 (and absolutely no twerking). But if he wants to keep sounding off on what does and does not conform to the First Amendment, he should consider reading and understanding it first.
Update: As Matt Yglesias has noted, and as I should have made more clear, the situation with Duck Dynasty implicates the First Amendment only to the extent that it protects the network’s decision to suspend the show from government interference. In other words, it’s Jindal, and not the tv network, that appears to have a problem with the First Amendment.