Asking Cable to Shed Extreme Voices? Good Luck

I really admire what a group calling itself Faithful America is doing: Calling on MSNBC to stop booking Tony Perkins, a representative of the anti-gay Family Research Council, as a guest.

But pardon the expression, they haven’t got a prayer.

Led by Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inaugural ceremonies and is the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, the group has a compelling argument: Why should a group known for its incendiary rhetoric be chosen, repeatedly, to represent a Christian viewpoint?

The answer, obviously, is because flame-throwers make for good TV, and cable thrives on conflict, not sobriety.

“We’d like other Christian voices to be consulted, not those affiliated with a hate group,” Robinson said in a statement, referring to the FRC being labeled as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The point isn’t whether Perkins deserves a forum, only that in inviting him on so frequently on such matters, MSNBC is fostering an impression he speaks for more of the Christian community than he really does. But when the mandate for producers is “Get me a pro and get me con,” a guy like Perkins keeps popping up again and again.

At any rate, the group’s very shrewdly assembled video — which shows some of Perkins’ frequent appearances on MSNBC — is below. Further evidence that in cable, it’s the provocative wheels that get the air time.


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