The manufactured controversy over Chick-Fil-A won’t be dying down anytime soon, if media figures get their way.
Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy stated that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting the traditional family, and commented on a radio show that “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say: You know, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”
That’s tantamount to heresy in Hollywood and in New York and D.C. newsrooms. The media have proven themselves in the tank for same sex marriage, and Chick-Fil-A is learning what it means to cross them.
Media Join Fight Against Chick-Fil-A
On July 19, CNN reporter Alison Kosik acknowledged that efforts to boycott Chick-Fil-A are not new, noting that: “It’s not the first time that people have called for a boycott of the restaurant chain.” Lately, however, media outlets have deployed their resources to help the left destroy the Christian chicken chain.
MSNBC host Thomas Roberts declared that any supporter of gay marriage eating at Chick-Fil-A was a “Chicken-eating Judas.” Dean Reynolds, reporting for CBS ‘This Morning’ on July 27, declared on air, “At Chick-Fil-A, the menu offers up sandwiches, nuggets, and strips, but to critics these days, it also includes a side order of bigotry.” ABC also played up the Chick-Fil-A controversy.
San Francisco outlet SFist even linked the sudden death of Chick-Fil-A’s PR head Donald Perry to the fanatical Westboro Baptist Church, including the phrase “God Hates Flacks” in a headline.
Politicians supporting Chick-Fil-A also faced the media’s wrath and mockery. CNN, introducing a segment showing Sarah Palin eating at Chick-Fil-A, played the song “Stupid Girls.” (A CNN spokesman claimed the song choice was unintentional.) Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak whipped himself into a frenzy over Sarah Palin’s visit to the chicken chain, snarling: “On Friday, Sarah Palin tweeted/Facebooked a picture of herself and her husband in a Chick-Fil-A looking so fucking happy. They're way happier than the oldest gay couple in America on their wedding day. Sarah and Todd are beaming hateful joy. It's really visceral.”
Descent into Lunacy
Comedy outlets couldn’t resist poking fun at Chick-Fil-A. Jon Stewart made light of the incident on the July 23 Daily Show, snarking: “Wow, open your eyes owner of Chick-Fil-A,” he said. “You are being such an asshole that even Boston won’t tolerate you.” The Onion published a satirical article about a Chick-Fil-A holding a press conference introducing a new ‘homophobic sandwich’ called the “Queer-Hatin’ Cordon Bleu.”
But several media stories and celebrity responses to the Chick-Fil-A were so bizarre they only looked like comedy.
Unhinged comedienne Roseanne Barr launched anatomically incorrect, expletive-laden broadsides against Chick-Fil-A, ranting: “Suck my dick chick filet nazi f---ing pricks” and “Giving urkds Cancer from processed fast food is child abuse.”
The Huffington Post also displayed similarly warped judgment regarding the chicken chain. Dominick Scudera wrote an unfunny satire piece displaying his breathtaking ignorance of the Bible, obliviously concluding his piece: “And I thank the Lord that I live in a country where fast food is a place of judgment and where chicken sandwiches bring me closer to the Almighty God.”
The Huffington Post also featured Mark Pettit’s self-righteous five-step plan to stop Chick-Fil-A’s “public relations nightmare.” The self-proclaimed “crisis communications expert” lectured the company: “Going forward no ‘anti’ anything groups (as in anti-gay marriage) should receive funds from the company. Not one cent. Not one chicken biscuit.” Instead, he advised the company to donate up to $5 million to build a National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.
So, in Petitt’s mind, the heads of Chick-Fil-A need to explicitly reject the Biblical principles that the company was built upon and alienate the customers who support traditional marriage in order to resolve the crisis. Perhaps the “crisis” expert should check Facebook. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called for ‘Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day’ on Wednesday, Aug. 1. As of this writing, over 500,000 people have pledged to visit a Chick-Fil-A that day.
Even Huckabee’s rally in support of the chicken chain drew bizarre media criticism. Washington Post opinion columnist Dana Milbank criticized Huckabee for the move, opining: “His defense of the fast-food restaurant will make Chick-Fil-A a fat target in the culture wars and will further divide Americans.” Milbank conveniently ignores all the vitriol spewed at the company by the left – and the fact that liberal politicians have been gunning for the company, as well.
Free Speech for Me, but …
A host of liberal local politicians have railed against Chick-Fil-A, and a few have even threatened to block the restaurant from expanding into their area.
According to the Boston Herald, Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston warned Chick-Fil-A "if they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult -- unless they open up their policies." Menino later backtracked on his comments, but his comments reflect a desire among some politicians to use the power of the state to implement discrimination against Christian companies.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times about his opposition to Chick-Fil-A expansion in Chicago: “Chick-Fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. If you’re going be part of the Chicagocommunity, you should reflect Chicago values.” Ironically, Emanuel invited anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to the city, perhaps as an expression of Chicago values.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee even threatened the restaurant chain to stay away from San Francisco in speech reminiscent of a gangster, tweeting: “Closest Chick-Fil-A to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray called it “hate chicken” and said he’d oppose the company if it wanted to expand in D.C. (Chick-Fil-A has no such plans.)
City mayors were not the only local politicians to declare war on Chick-Fil-A. Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno has declared his intention to deny Chick-Fil-A building permits in his ward. Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney also told Cathy to “take a hike, and take your intolerance with you."
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn expressed her desire to remove Chick-Fil-A from the New York University campus. In a letter addressed to NYU President John Sexton, she demanded: "Let me be clear, I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views. We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that."
Even reliably liberal columnists and broadcasters blasted these politicians’ ‘moral stands.’ Salon’s Glenn Greenwald declared these moves to be “dangerous attacks on free speech.” Huffington Post contributor Tracy Baim asserted that we all have a “right to be stupid and offensive.” Whoopi Goldberg criticized the effort to punish Chick-Fil-A on “The View,” declaring. “If you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t go. But don’t step on their right – anybody’s right – to have an opinion. This is still America.”
Not if Lee Fang of far-left magazine The Nation has his way. He took Greenwald and other Chick-fil-A defending liberals to task, saying their defense unwittingly defends “corporate personhood.”
The media rabidly defend any sacred cow of the left, such as Planned Parenthood or gay marriage, and will not tolerate any voices to the contrary. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat pointed out the view of the left: “If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-Fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.”
It is difficult to disagree with Douthat’s assessment – for the media and for certain liberal politicians, religious freedom is trumped by the newfound freedom to marry. And they will brook no dissent, bashing any organization which disagrees with their views.
Ryan Robertson contributed to this report.