Addressing HGTV’s recent decision to pull the plug on a pilot program featuring gay-bashing house-flipping twins David and Jason Benham, CNN media critic Brian Stelter decried the lack of “diversity in the media.”
Asked by the host of CNN’s Newsroom if “the onus” was on HGTV for not vetting the brothers prior to green-lighting the show and then having to turn around and cancel it due to public pressure, Stelter expressed concern about what could be seen as intolerance towards the “perceived intolerance” of the brothers.
“I’ve seen a lot of people ask that a lot. That’s a legitimate question. There is a risk, though, I think of matching perceived intolerance with more intolerance,” Stelter said. “If you are someone at home who’s looking at this thinking ‘why are they taking away these brothers TV show simply because of what they believe in the personal life,’ the answer — part of the answer to that — is diversity in the media.”
Stelter went to explain that he felt there should be a wide variety of media owners and outlets to whom the brothers could take their show.
“There should be a wide variety of media owners and a wide variety of places for people to go with their shows so that these brothers, for example, can get a show somewhere else if they feel they were wronged by Scripps Networks.”
Scripps Network owns HGTV as well as the Food Network, which recently canceled Paula Deen’s show after her comments about African-Americans came to light.
Media critic Eric Deggans pointed out that, if the brothers showed the same level of intolerance toward African-Americans that they showed towards gays, they would be unable to find a network anywhere.
“If they had been at some rally where they said that black people were the root of all evil in America, I don’t think we’d even be having this discussion,” he said. “I think people would say ‘good luck getting a TV show’ anywhere.”
He went on to add that, even though similar views were expressed by one of the cast members of Duck Dynasty, that show survived because “it was a proven hit, so it was harder for A&E to walk away from that show because it already existed, it already was successful.”
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