Monday, December 23, 2013

Ron Q. Quilang - Candidate for NV Senate - Unleashed an Attack Dog ... on my Wife!

The politics of A&E and GLAAD Come to Republicans in Nevada

 An Object Lesson on Why Employees With Tempers Should Not Have Access to Your Social Networking Connections ...
A Relatively Civil and Frankly Unimportant Online Dispute Turned Ugly When A Candidate's PR/Publicist/Strategist Attacked My Business and My Wife ... on Facebook

 I don't usually get "personal" in these blogs - these are about businesses, and my complaint is with the staff member of a Republican candidate for the Nevada state Senate.  To the extent that a political campaign is a business, this does "fit" - but more important, this is an object lesson on why employers should NOT let employees (especially those with tempers) represent them on social networking sites.  It is also an object lesson in the importance of being responsive to online issues.  Where Cracker Barrel quickly learned their lesson and repented, this candidate said "he'd look into it" hours before his attack dog attacked my wife on Facebook, over a minor dispute about a posting on a Facebook site, one that was neither vulgar nor offensive.

Here's the story ...

The politics of A&E and GLAAD Come to Republicans in Nevada - A Republican Candidate's PR Guy just attacked my wife on Facebook because the PR guy and I exchanged a few more-or-less civil words earlier today, but they turned out to be words he didn't like.  They weren't vulgar of offensive - he just didn't like them. So he attacked my posts, trying to damage my business - then he went a step further and attacked my wife.  Earlier, I had warned the candidate that his guy was freelancing his anger, but all I got was an "I'll look into it."

A few hours later, his attack dog bit.  So much for responsiveness.

For proof, here is a cut-and-paste from my Facebook page - note the first one is aimed at my wife, Lynn, who was not part of the conversation, nor is she part of my business, which Haynes is trying to damage.

Is that how you want your Republican Candidate to hire and manage his staff? Is this the kind of Senator you want - a man who says "I'll look into it" but does nothing to keep his staff from attacking not only a fellow Republican the PR guy didn't like, but attacking his wife as well?

I don't think so.  At least I hope not.

UPDATE - Andre' Haynes admitted to stalking my wife online in a Facebook Exchange - here are  his comment:  

Andre Haynes ·
If you apologize for the blatant disrespect and remove the post that you published on Ron Q. Quilang's page and the bog... then I will remove my post and no longer comment on your page or your wife's.
(Please note that his idea of blatant disrespect is posting a message on an open Facebook Group in which I was a member, a message with useful content on how to write campaign speeches and raise campaign funds ... the disrespect is that Andre' Haynes sees himself as a campaign guru and felt threatened by my comment - when he asked me to stop posting, I did, but now he wants me to apologize for engaging in free-market capitalism, while following Facebook's rules ... go figure)

Ron Q. Quilang, candidate for Nevada Senate from Las Vegas, has an attack-dog campaign manager named Andre' Haynes - earlier today, we exchanged a few more-or-less civil words (no cursing, nothing vulgar, no insults - just a disagreement) over what was after all only a misunderstanding, but soon I could see he had no principles, so I just let it drop. 

However, I did warn his candidate by Facebook IM that his attack dog had gotten out of his kennel (so to speak) and asked him to put a muzzle on Andre' before things got ugly.  The candidate said "he'd look into it" - but two hours later, his guy tried to bite me.

I'm just guessing here at the guy's motivation, but (I'm also guessing that Ron the Candidate didn't do anything to make him back off), because apparently, my decision to end the debate offended Andre' too.  And, because he really didn't like what I said to him, he started attacking my wife online.   

Shades of the far Left - attack the family.

Then he started going to dozens of Facebook conservative political discussion groups, attacking me directly and trying to hurt my business.

Shades of A&E and GLAAD.

As I said, I tried to get to Candidate Ron Q. Quilang to call off his dog (we traded IM messages on Facebook), but clearly, whatever he did was ineffectual, because he did nothing (nothing that worked) to stop his attack dog.

If this is the kind of Republican he is (not stopping his attack-dog PR/publicity guy from attacking family members while trying to ruin the reputation and business of a fellow Conservative Republican), then you need to think long and hard about voting for this guy.

If he can't or won't control his people, how will he represent us?

I would not have said anything about this (Reagan's 11th commandment) if Andre' had only attacked me.  But he attacked my wife.  That is out-of-bounds. It is harassment.  It is NOT a Conservative value.

Think very long and very hard before supporting Ron Q. Quilang.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Why Businesses Should Avoid Taking Sides - Humiliated Cracker Barrel Publicly Backs Down After TheyThumbs Nose at 200-Plus Million Current and Potential Customers

Why I Won't Be Eating At Cracker Barrel Again ...
My Cardiologist is Thrilled, But I'll Miss Their Great Food

Update:  Within 24 hours of this being posted (but I'm not trying to take credit - thousands also posted) - Cracker Barrel reversed itselfFrom a PR point of view, this was a sound move - trying to stop the damage in its tracks, and their statement on Facebook (scroll down for the text) was forthright-sounding, and it made no excuses.  But larger issues remain, and this won't go away.  For instance, why did Cracker Barrel decide to step into a huge cultural battle when it had no dog in the fight?  The only logical reason for this knee-jerk and un-motivated action is that the management instinctively sides with GLAAD - which is at odds with their corporate image ... or, that they were behind-the-scenes threatened by GLAAD and acted under that pressure.  Either way, they've lost the respect of millions of customers, and it will take more than a Facebook post to get it back.

Another note - this is a major loss for GLAAD, when a national corporation decides to listen to millions of customers rather than a small one-issue pressure group.  It could also pave the way for A&E to cut their losses and reverse their position before they lose the Duck Dynasty franchise entirely.  But so far ... nothing on that front.

For no practical reason I can discern - at least not one linked to discriminating against Christians - Cracker Barrel has just banned Duck Dynasty merchandise from their stores. They did this for a single reason: Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, dared to speak out about what the bible says about sin, and to affirm how he believes what the bible said.  When asked by an interviewer for a GQ magazine article - the Duck Dynasty patriarch didn't bring this up on his own - Robertson noted that in several places, the bible provides believers with a long list of sexually-related transgressions (sins) that can be committed by people, and both he and the bible say all of these sins were equally wrong, and no different in God's eyes than any other sins.  

These sexually-focused sins include every kind of sex except sex between a man and woman who are married, one to another.  This list includes sleeping with prostitutes (both male and female), extra-marital sex, pre-marital sex, homosexual sex and bestiality.  However, I think it's important to note that the bible doesn't single out homosexuality as an especially bad sin, and it didn't specifically link that sin to bestiality, and neither did Robertson. The media did that.

Oddly, Cracker Barrel decided to go public with this decision on the same day that Walmart announced that it had sold out of the same Duck Dynasty-branded products nationally, and on the Internet.  Like Cracker Barrel, and facing the same pressure, Walmart could also have chosen to pull the products. A company that makes $17 billion dollars in profits can afford to lose a bit on a few products.  After all, they have a great many Gay customers, at least some of whom will be suckered in by GLAAD's hyperbole and A&E's craven venality.  

However, the Bentonville retailer has a great deal of experience to standing up to - and staring down - "kill 'em all" one-issue pressure groups.  Looking at the demographic balance sheet - 200 million-plus bible-believing Christians vs. maybe 10 million Gays - they decided the risk of offending Gays over a trumped-up issue was worth the reward of selling out a profitable product line and - even more important - letting bible-believing Christians know Walmart stood behind the idea of free religious expression.  

By selling out that Duck Dynasty product line, essentially everywhere, and doing so within days of the kerfuffle erupting, Walmart's experience suggests that the Gnomes of Bentonville were correct in their balance-sheet decision to allow customers (not the company) to make the choice of buying or not buying Duck Dynasty products.

Walmart's commercial experience suggests that the Duck Dynasty-branded products are, at least currently, in huge demand.  That more-or-less proves that Cracker Barrel didn't pull the products because they were poor commercial performers. Casting about for a valid reason, it seems clear the Cracker Barrel executives pulled the Duck Dynasty gear because they believe that they have both the right (they do - we still have a free-market) as well as the self-appointed duty to punish Christians who dare to speak out about what their bible says, and what they believe about what the bible says.  

While that's legal, that's also pure, unmitigated religious discrimination.  If this discrimination had been focused on Jews or Muslims, it would have been called "hate speech," but against Christians, it's not a problem.  Ask yourself:  would any mainstream American company ever dare single out and punish - for his beliefs - a Jew or a Muslim?  Of course not.  But apparently, the Cracker Barrel CEO and his minions believe that Christians are fair game.  

Here's what they said:

"Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people.  These ideals are the core of our corporate culture."

Let's analyze that statement.  "Cracker Barrel's mission is Pleasing People."  Question - how many of America's 200-plus million bible-believing Christians feel "pleased" by this blatant discrimination against one of their co-religionists? The odds are that very few bible believing Christians would feel pleased. Admittedly, tens of millions of Christians are too disengaged to have any opinion, but that still leaves tens or even hundreds of millions of Christians to be offended.  

The very fact that the total audience numbers for Duck Dynasty are higher than the total number of Gays in America - and the fact that viewers of the show are just a small fraction of believing Christians - suggests that Cracker Barrel is on the wrong demographic side of this issue, and that millions of customers and potential customers will not proved to be pleased.  

Beyond that, of course, any reasonable person who's ever been to Cracker Barrel knows that their core business audience is far, far, far more likely to be Christian and Duck Dynasty fans, or at least individuals who resent discrimination against fellow Christians who's only "sin" was to express their belief in the words of the bible, than they are to be activist Gay supporters of GLAAD.  Consciously offending a significant portion of their core audience is just not a sound business decision.

Next, they said:  "We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people."  Again, let's examine this.

Does discriminating against Phil Robertson for honestly expressing his beliefs that are clearly spelled out in the bible equate with "fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment?"  Have they ever banned products from others who spoke out in favor of their religion?  Have they ever banned a Jew or Muslim for speaking out in favor of one of the more controversial tenets of their faith?  Of course not.

Now, because discriminating against Phil for his beliefs is - by extension - discrimination against all people who share his belief in the integrity of God's word as presented in the bible, how do those 200 million-plus self-professed Christians feel about Cracker Barrel's actions?  Honestly, many of them won't know and, even if they did know, many of them won't care. However, the same lack of interest holds true for the Gays. Only a small portion of Gay Americans subscribe to the GLAAD self-appointed mandate to crush anyone who speaks out in opposition to one of their shibboleths.  

Most Gays, like most Americans, are content to live their lives in a society that really doesn't care about Gays one way or another, and certainly doesn't discriminate against them they way they did 40 years ago.  Laws have been passed, and Supreme Court has overturned state laws that discriminate, even in the privacy of the bedroom. In short, those days are, for the most part, behind us.  

Further, as noted, some Christians who do learn about it won't care about the Cracker Barrel's actions, and a great many more of them won't ever learn about it.  As much as those of us who live and work in the blogosphere like to think otherwise, not every American is politically-aware. Still, while perhaps a simple majority of the 200-million-plus Christian Americans won't care, we can count on at least tens of millions of Americans who will deeply resent this.  They will not see the "fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment" in this action by Cracker Barrel.  

Nor should they.

Finally, the Cracker Barrel statement said:  "These ideals are the core of our corporate culture."  Clearly, that's not true - not unless Cracker Barrel views these ideals as applying only to politically-active (and aggressive) one-issue minority-privilege pressure groups like GLAAD, but that culture does not apply to the vast majority of Americans who don't threaten others when their perceived rights are trampled upon.

In short, the Cracker Barrel weasel-word-loaded statement has no substantive value.  It rings hollow, because their harsh and discriminatory actions speak far louder than their lame words of justification.

But what does this all mean?  A&E is already losing viewers - and, as I write this, it appears that A&E executives have killed their golden goose - the highest-rated show in cable history is in a death-spiral, because the Robertson family seems set on not participating in a program that doesn't include their Patriarch - and A&E has backed themselves into the corner by jumping through a flaming hoop to suspend Robinson without even talking with him.  

NPR did this when someone senior took offense at an honest statement by Juan Williams, long-time left-wing liberal commentator.  Williams is someone whose job was to offer left-leaning opinions - he was supposed to be opinionated. He was not someone whose job was read the news - and who is therefore supposed to be dispassionate.  

Here was his "sin."  As a man hired to offer opinions and commentary, Juan Williams honestly admitted that he had an irrational fear whenever he saw men dressed in Muslim garb gathered on a plane with him. He didn't say it was right - he certainly didn't call for actions against Muslims - he just admitted an honest fear.  For that honesty he was almost immediately fired.  

Almost immediately after he was fired, Juan Williams was given a better and higher-paying job by the supposed right-wing Fox News, where he was given the absolute freedom to present any views on issues, providing an intelligent and courageous counterpoint to the right wing slant of the network.

Also, almost immediately, the public outrage over Williams' firing led to a dramatic drop in donations to NPR, as well as attacks by even liberal media. They empaneled an internal review board and quickly decided that their CEO had acted precipitously, but not wisely, and terminated her contract.  Too late, of course, because NPR had already both lost an articulate member of their team, but their reputation for anything approaching fairness was badly tarnished.  

It may come back some day, but not yet.

I predict that the same thing will happen at Cracker Barrel, for roughly the same reason.  NPR is a non-profit and depends on donations from supportive listeners.  Cracker Barrel is a for-profit and depends on revenue from satisfied customers. Anything that cuts into that revenue stream threatens NPR and Cracker Barrel.

I also urge those of you who are currently Cracker Barrel customers who also either believe in the bible, or - absent that - believe in a man's right to state his religious beliefs without losing his job - to write to Cracker Barrel or call them and tell them what you think.  I suggest that you don't threaten them, or use vile language, or act anything other than professional.  Tell them, instead, how you feel about their actions, and how those feelings will guide your future restaurant-selection decisions.  Be polite, firm, and let them know.  This is far more effective than signing an online petition (those don't hurt, but they don't help as much as people often think.

Cracker Barrel is a publicly-traded company.  Executives leading that company - including the executives who decided to punish Robertson even at risk of falling profits - have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to preserve and enhance those investors' money.  If, as the result of their action, the company starts losing customers, market share, revenue and profits - and I predict it will, as it's already lost me - then the Board and the shareholders can be expected to ask some sharp questions. Because there are no good answers for a for-profit company to trade away profits, revenues and customer good-will to advance someone else's political agenda, I predict there will be fewer executives still working at Cracker Barrel after the board - or the shareholders - get through evaluating the results of this recent action.  

You heard it here first (I hope).

Update - Here's what Cracker Barrel said in apologizing.

"When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that's just what we've done.  You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren't shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened," the company continued then announced that Duck Dynasty products will be returned to its stores while apologizing for offending the shows conservative fans.

"Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you. We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different. We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family,"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bad Business - Duck Dynasty Dropped Over Freedom of Expression Issue

A&E Shoots Self in Foot - Having First Put Foot in Mouth ...

Ned Barnett, Adjunct Professor of Business, Marketing and Public Relations, UNLV & MTSU
Author, Finances for Non-Financial Marketers
and ten other books on PR, Marketing and Advertising

This blog-site tends to cover mistakes that businesses make in dealing with their consumers - so the blogs I post here are usually aimed at dumb practices by bricks-and-mortar or clicks-and-mortar businesses.  This blog is a bit different, but A&E is a business, and it has consumers, and in the past few days it has created a foot-in-mouth firestorm that is going to cost A&E millions of dollars of business and revenue - they will also alienate a lot of customers, and in doing so suffer a permanent loss of business.

First, a disclaimer.  From 1973 until his death earlier this year, my oldest and closest friend was Gay, and while he didn't advertise this, he made no secret of it.  He was also a member of a Christian Church, and prayed that God's infinite grace would save him.  It's impossible for an honest man to have a Gay man who was, for 40 years,  my very closest friend, my frequent business partner and my co-worker and also harbor ill-will toward Gays.  I hold no such animosity.

But, like hundreds of millions of other Americans, I also believe in the bible - and I have a good idea of what the bible says about sin in general, and that one particular sin (among all the particular sins).  Finally, I know that all people (including me) sin.  So anything you read here that you "think" is anti-Gay is either your mistaken impression or, more likely, my own poor choice of words.

Now, another (the last) disclaimer.  I have never watched Duck Dynasty - from what I've seen, I don't much care for reality TV, but beyond that, I'm not a hunter.  By choice, I don't tend to watch shows about hunting. I prefer target shooting.   I'm not anti-hunter, either - my son's a bow-hunter, and I'm proud of his skill - but hunting is just not my "thing." 

However, I am passionate about the First Amendment (I make my living as a writer and communicator).  In one sense, I do not see this as a First Amendment issue - a private company can fire or hire whom they please, and only government censorship is prevented by the First Amendment.

The idea that a man should be punished, publicly and financially, for expressing his own deeply-held religious beliefs, that is anathema in a country protected by the First Amendment's "free exercise" of religion clause.  In addition, that this man was punished for sharing his mainstream Christian beliefs that are spelled out repeatedly in the bible - in a country with a nominal majority of Christians - well, that says something deeply serious about the culture war against those persons of faith in America.  That's my other disclaimer, or caveat.

On with the show (so to speak).  Those two disclaimers aside, and more to the point, since 1975, I have routinely been called in by clients and employers to resolve self-generated crises, and this is a great example of just such a self-inflicted business and PR disaster.  A&E was pressured to take action when one of its stars honestly spoke of his honest religious beliefs - which is odd since he was hired because of those beliefs and because of the way he expresses them.  A&E, in promoting Duck Dynasty, called this employee a "bible-thumper" in their show promotion.

But they were pressured by well-organized advocates who speak for a minority of Americans, as is their right.  They have the same First Amendment freedoms as does Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, to say what they believe in the public marketplace of ideas.  However, unlike Phil Robertson, who asked for no censure or punishment for those who violate God's laws, leaving that up to God Himself, GLAAD insisted that any public figure who disagrees with them must be punished - including being deprived of their income.

The irony here is rich.  By asserting the right to demand that others be punished for disagreeing with them, GLAAD, by necessity, must grant the right for others to demand that GLAAD and its constituents by punished for speaking out their own views.  Either that or they're saying that only one set of views (GLAAD's) is legitimate of public protection, and that view can be found nowhere in the Constitution or in statutory law.

A&E, which is in business to make money, not to advocate for fairness or constitutional principles, felt the pressure from GLAAD, and decided to act.  However, they didn't have to boot Robertson off his own show - they could have just decried his position and moved on.  But they did choose to punish Robertson, and now, millions of their viewers will make sure that A&E pays the consequences for their one-sided and anti-religious stance.

The Problem

A&E essentially fired key program cast member Phil Robertson for something he said. Worse, they didn't fire him for anything he said on the show, but for something he said to a reporter from GQ, a magazine interviewing him.  Further, they fired him for speaking out about a topic that had nothing to do with the show.  What Robertson said was a bit crass, but I take it that "crass" is part of his style, part of what makes the show a financial and ratings success for A&E.

I have read the comments, which offer his perspective on what the bible says about all the varieties of sex a person can have that is outside of marriage.  Basically, the bible says that any extra-marital sex is bad, and lists a number of examples, from infidelity to bestiality to homosexuality to male prostitution. 

Here's the rub.  A&E has promoted Robertson and his show for their bible-thumping religiously-conservative and very outspoken views.  They attracted 11.8 million fanatic followers to the premiere episode of their current 4th season - a landmark viewer record for any cable program - and for A&E, that's a gold mine.  According to some sources, episodes of Duck Dynasty have been all five of the top-five A&E shows of all time.

In creating and promoting the show, A&E executives have all but egged Robertson on to become an outspoken redneck "character," and to do that for all for the almighty dollar.  Now, when Robertson does nothing more than express his belief in the bible - which very definitely speaks out against all manner of out-of-wedlock sex, including infidelity, bestiality, homosexuality, the temptations of lewd women (the book of Proverbs is filled with that) and male prostitution.  In this, he was acting in character as a bible-believing saved-by-Christ "bible thumper," exactly the character A&E bought and paid for - exactly the character who helped create the most profitable program in A&E history.

Had any member of the A&E leadership team bothered to check their cash cow, they'd have known that:

a.  He believes what the bible says; and
b.  The bible says that homosexuality is a forbidden sin

If anyone should have been punished (and nobody should) it should be the A&E executive who didn't bother to read his bible before unleashing the Robertson clan on America.  Phil was just doing what he's always done - and what A&E had been paying him handsomely for.  He was telling the truth as he saw it, citing the bible as his source of truth.

Apparently, speaking the truth about belief and about what's in the bible has become - if not against the law - then punishable here in the United States, which was once a bastion of religious freedom.

The Solution

Predictably, the Gay defense groups such as GLAAD immediately denounced Robertson for exercising his First Amendment rights of free practice of religion and free speech.  In their eyes, free speech of course applies to anyone who will speak out in favor of homosexuality - as it should, because advocating for rights and respect for homosexuals is absolutely protected speech.  However, in their eyes, that freedom only works one way.  You're free to support them, but if you oppose what they stand for, you should be pilloried, fired, banished, castigated and mocked in public.  That's their position, and they're entitled to it, but it does tend to make them look like hypocrites, and does make it harder for non-members to support their extreme and one-sided position.

GLAAD also showed themselves to be clueless about Christianity.  GLAAD's spokesman Wilson Cruz told the public that "Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe."

"What true Christians believe?"

If GLADD's spokesmen and leaders had just read the bible, they'd know that Phil Robertson didn't lie about what the bible says.  The bible takes a harsh view on any kind of sexual activity outside the man-woman marriage bed, including homosexuality - but the bible doesn't single that out as an especially damnable sin.  The bible - and bible-believing Christians - take it as an article of faith that all sexual activity outside the marriage bed shared by a husband and wife is on God's sin list.

This isn't "hate" - as far as the bible goes, it's "fact." 

From a purely PR point of view, GLAAD could have decried Phil's views without trying to "out-Christian" a man known primarily for his Christian beliefs.  It's just foolish to appear both more knowledgeable about a belief than it's believer, and to also appear so ignorant in public, especially when there are other options.

But that was GLAAD.  Their default message for those it opposes is a commercial "off with his head."  No surprises there.  But what about A&E?

A&E, which had many options, decided that it's solution was to suspend Robertson indefinitely.  They had other options.  Take a look at their public statement:

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," A&E said in a statement. "His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community ... "

If A&E had stopped there, they would have expressed their displeasure at Robertson's statement - and his beliefs - and distanced the network from its largest-ever and most profitable star.  End of story.

Except ... they added one more sentence.  They took a reasonable statement and pushed it into the realm of trying to destroy someone financially for the sin of  sharing his heart-felt religious beliefs, beliefs backed by the bible (the best-selling and most-read book in history).  A&E added:  "The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely," and immediately all hell broke loose.

Already, the Robertson family has rallied around Phil.  They have said publicly:  "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."

Much more important, however, the family is fighting back, with the only weapon they have - threatening to walk, calling into question the very future of the show that is the top-rated cable program of all time, and A&E's biggest cash cow.  

"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.

Along with that ringing but not unexpected rebuke, CNN reports that more than 350,000 people have already signed online petitions or in some other way "voted" against A&E.  Those who are serious won't just boycott this one A&E program - they will vote with their eyeballs and their wallets and take their viewing elsewhere.  With 500-plus cable channels, plus Netflix and Hulu and Red Box, those viewers won't be starved for entertainment - but A&E will be starved for the revenue they'll lose because of the way they caved in to a special interest group.

There's real iron here -  is A&E's suspension of Robertson is a kind of hollow suspension. It doesn't include next season's shows (which include Robertson in all of them) because they have already been filmed, and to throw them away to enforce the suspension would cost A&E money.  The suspension, if it actually happens, will apply to next season (2015), but only if the show's renewed, and only if anybody still remembers this kerfuffle in 12 or 13 months.

To me, this is a lose-lose situation, and for a couple of reasons.

First, this action has already begun to polarize Duck Dynasty viewers who share a strong Christian faith with its star - and it's a fair bet that few of GLAAD's members are avid Duck Dynasty viewers.  Beginning now, A&E is losing business, and it will only continue as the controversy roars on.

Second, this is a "lose" for GLAAD because it exposes the group's intolerance to a wider public than ever before - and as Christians begin to see GLAAD as an oppressor actively stifling public expressions of faith and belief, they will see a backlash from those who neither want to victimize Gays nor to be victimized by Gays.

Finally he big losers are A&E's shareholders, most of whom (statistically) are more likely to be at least nominal Christians than they are to be Gay, or passionate supporters of Gay advocate groups.  Were I a stockholder, I'd already be asking the executives why they'd taken actions sure to "tank" the value of the stock.  Wall Street doesn't give a tinker's dam about "causes."  They care about profits, and when they see A&E losing viewers, stock prices will inevitably fall.

I would not want to be an A&E shareholder today, nor would I want to be an A&E executive.  Stocks will fall and heads will roll.

But this should also concern any foresighted GLAAD leader, because as networks see the financial cost of supporting a single-issue advocacy group that has nothing to do with their (the network's) business, those networks will re-think blindly caving to GLAAD in the future.

In the long run, the big loser is A&E - a bigger loser will be GLAAD (once for-profit businesses see the dollar-and-sense cost of blindly caving to their high-pressure demands).

But the big winner may be bible-believing Christians, who come to realize that their beliefs are under attack, but that they are also not alone.

Monday, December 2, 2013

WalMart - "Black Thursday" - Fail!

WalMart Deprived its Employees of a Family Holiday to Force Black Friday A Day Early ... 
Three Days Later, it's a Ghost Town

Ned Barnett

It's no secret that WalMart, the "All-American" store that brought us "happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," forced their employees to work all day and all night on Thanksgiving, trying to get a step ahead on Black Friday.  The idea was to start the flood to WalMart early, and to keep people coming all holiday season.

Used to be that the local WalMart was jam-packed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving - my son used to work there when in high school, so I tend to keep an eye on things there.  Four years ago, the paucity of patrons on that Sunday was a clue that the recession wasn't over (it wasn't) and that retailers would take it on the chin (they did).

Now, needing some new duds for a business meeting tomorrow, I stopped in late - around 11 p.m., intent on breasting the tidal wave of shoppers to get what I needed.  When I got there, the parking lot was empty.

When I got inside, there were more employees than customers.  When it came time to check out, there were two registers open. Having 16 items (not 12 or less), I got into the "large purchase" line - one woman was in front of me, and her total bill was under $6 - it took the clerk no time to serve me.

As you can see, there is nobody in any other line - nobody in the store at all.

In the holiday spirit of Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, Walmart robbed its employees of a holiday, for no apparent gain.

Final note. I drove by Walmart on Thanksgiving evening - the parking lot was about as full as an average Saturday mid-afternoon.  

Bottom line - this is a big FAIL for Walmart, and probably for other stores who tried to push back "Black Friday" to Thursday.  Next year, will it be "Black Halloween?"