Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's Hannity, 10:40pm ET/PT Wednesday

Chick-fil-A, Media Magic and 68 Days That Didn’t Shake the World

The left tried to pull a fast one on marriage.

It would have been a neat trick if they managed it.

In L’affair Chick-fil-A, the left’s wannabe Houdinis tried to perform the cultural equivalent of whisking the tablecloth out from under the place settings. They told America that in the 68 days between President Obama’s cynical “evolution” announcement on gay marriage and Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s affirmation of his Christian views, the traditional understanding of marriage had moved beyond the pale. Whoosh!

Chicken became “Hate Chicken,” not because the guy that made it had a heavy hand with the spices, but because the opinion he held in July was, like, so April.

It takes tremendous hubris to believe you can instantly delegitimize 5,000 years of the civilization’s custom and understanding with a cheap parlor trick. But why shouldn’t the left have hubris aplenty? They have their lovely assistants in the media to take your eye off the trap door or the sleight of hand. It’s a good act – well-choreographed and very professional.

Case in point: the relationship between CNN and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). As GLAAD’s name implies, it enforces its own speech codes regarding what can and can’t be publicly said about gays, lesbians, etc. (Ironically, GLAAD doesn’t bother much about its own speech. During the Chick-fil-A episode, it repeated the slander that some of the traditional conservative organizations the restaurant has donated to are “hate groups,” including the Family Research Council. Sadly, we saw actual hate in the shooting at FRC’s office in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 15. The assailant was politically motivated and reportedly carried a bag of Chick-fil-A.)

At any rate, CNN is a “news” organization, exactly the kind of entity that should recoil from speech codes.

Yet CNN’s parent, TimeWarner, is a “Platinum Underwriter” of the GLAAD Media Awards. In the last two years, GLAAD has nominated CNN reporting five separate times for its Media Awards, and given anchor Don Lemon, who is openly gay, an “Outstanding Citizen Award.” (Now that star anchor Anderson Cooper has shocked the world and come out, they may be developing the “Really Super-Dooper Outstanding Citizen Award.”) Over the last two years, GLAAD has appeared in 41 stories on the network, and 43 times on CNN.com. During the same time, the three broadcast networks combined mentioned GLAAD just twice.

The International Brotherhood of Magicians has a Code of Ethics, which first and foremost discourages anyone from revealing how tricks are done. The Society of Professional Journalists’ has a Code of Ethics, too, ostensibly to do the opposite and ensure transparency. But these days, it’s kind of a charming anachronism. Among its antiquated-sounding little commandments are these: “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” “Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.” Very quaint, but certainly nothing an Outstanding Citizen need bother about.

The funny thing about CNN’s “conflict of interest, real or perceived” is how unnecessary it is. After all, the media have proved themselves capable of advancing the gay agenda all by themselves.

Even CNN’s own Piers Morgan did it during the Chick-fil-A kerfuffle. Morgan, whose signature trick is sawing his viewership in half every ratings period, managed to put together a show so exquisitely timely it’s almost a shame nobody saw it. In an interview with gay former Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, Morgan turned from Louganis’s struggle with HIV to liberals’ struggle Chick-fil-A.

Louganis gave a response to warm Morgan’s elitist heart: “Who eats that stuff? I mean really, who eats that stuff? I mean I kind of like my arteries, you know, I like my blood flowing.”

Picking up on both the Olympic spirit and the foodie conceits, MSNBC contributor D.L. Hughley performed the difficult “Liberal Triple Trope” by linking Obamacare, Chick-fil-A, and Hughley’s desire to see unhealthy conservatives: “The great thing for me is that I hope conservatives eat Chick-fil-A every day and they’ll appreciate the ObamaCare program.” Even a French judge would have to give Hughley a 9.5 for that.

At The Washington Post, which continues to work hard to learn that vanishing trick so many of its newspaper peers have mastered, food critic Tim Carman created a poll to see who would join him in a Chick-fil-A boycott (bad idea). In the lead up to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, Carman’s colleague, columnist Dana Milbank, multiplied the calories of a typical Chick-fil-A meal by the 100,000 RSVP’s Huckabee’s Appreciation Facebook page had received. He fretted that “the weight gain associated with Huckabee’s effort could be about 50,000 pounds.”

Milbank should have saved his jab at the Bible-beating fatties until after the event because the real magic was how many appreciative customers did show up – the weight gain probably ran into the millions. When the Chick-fil-A feathers settled, the chain had experienced a “world record” in sales, by some estimates. TV screens were filled with images of cars backed up for miles to get to the drive-through, and lines of polite, happy people stretched around the block.

So yes, it would have been something if the media had pulled it off. But they forgot a crucial aspect of the magic trick: for it to succeed, the audience must want to be tricked. They must be prepared to be amazed and delighted.

Universally recognized gay marriage may or may not be inevitable, but to radically redefine the most fundamental unit of society is serious business. Americans understand that, and saw that in the case of Chick-fil-A, the lefty media tried to pull a fast one. This time, Americans were anything but willing to be tricked.