Although Phil Robertson appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America to promote his new book, reporter Ryan Owens couldn't resist portraying the reality show personality as an anti-gay bigot. Owens reminded viewers of the Duck Dynasty star's interview with GQ where he called homosexuality a sin. Owens pressed, "Would you consider yourself a homophobe?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Robertson retorted, "I'm as much of a homophobe as Jesus was. People who are participating in homosexual behavior, they need to know that I love them." ABC has not been consistent in pressing liberal celebrities about their controversial views. GMA hosts have repeatedly hyped Rosie O'Donnell without questioning the comedienne's 9/11 conspiracy beliefs.
On April 26, 2007, reporter John Berman saluted O'Donnell as a "pioneer," but omitted her hazy contention that officials in the United States may have been connected to the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
On August 8, 2014, the liberal host, who will be returning to The View in the fall, doubled down on her truther beliefs, telling NewsBusters via Twitter: "I still do not believe the official story" on 9/11.
On November 14, 2011, Bill Maher appeared on GMA. After mentioning the African American Herman Cain, the liberal comic joked that Romney is the only thing stopping "the rise of the apes." The remark went unchallenged.
It would seem that the controversial statements of liberal celebrities aren't that interesting to ABC.
A transcript of the September 2 segment, which aired at 8:35am ET, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to Phil Robertson. The man behind the Duck Dynasty clan is out with a new book. UnPHILtered, it's called. It covers a lot of ground, business, family, faith and that controversy over the anti-gay comments that got Phil suspended from Duck Dynasty. ABC's Ryan Owens sat down with Robertson to talk about it.
RYAN OWENS: He's the outspoken patriarch of one of America's most famous families. Millions welcome him into their homes every week on Duck Dynasty. Phil Robertson is also 68 years old and not about to change who he is or what he says.
PHIL ROBERTSON: I mean, look at our culture, dude. You can look in any direction and go whoa.
OWENS: His comments about our culture have gotten him into trouble, but Robertson isn't backing down in his aptly named new book UnPHILtered.
ROBERTSON: People are going to read it and decide for themselves. But people need to get in their head, dude, I don't hate anybody.
OWENS: He says the book is partially to clarify comments that got him into hot water. The comments were published in GQ magazine earlier this year. Robertson called homosexual behavior a sin.
ROBERTSON: The only place I know of that I could have gone to answer that question would be a Bible. The dictionary wouldn't have explained it. An encyclopedia would have explained it, whether it was a sin or not. So, I went to the only source I had to answer his question.
OWENS: Would you consider yourself a homophobe?
ROBERTSON: I'm as much of a homophobe as Jesus was. People who are participating in homosexual behavior, they need to know that I love them.
OWENS: Long before the beard, he was a clean-cut college quarterback who gave up football when it interfered with duck hunting season. He says he was an alcoholic, a womanizer until he found Jesus at the age of 28. That conversion changed his life strengthened his marriage to Miss Kay and turned his hobby of making duck calls into a multimillion dollar business.
ROBERTSON: I'm a highly educated man, maybe a shocker to some. I have a masters degree. I'm no dumbo.
OWENS: Robertson's comments about growing up in pre-civil rights era Louisiana also rubbed some people the wrong way. He told GQ, "I never with my eyes saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once." You say that but they couldn't go to the same school. They couldn't use the same water fountain.
ROBERTSON: There is one race, one race on this planet. It's called the human race. We're all the same. To me, there is absolutely nothing that as color to do with it.
OWENS: There's a lot more in the book, of course. Much of it religion. A lot of people said it's, sort of, the Gospel according to you.
ROBERTSON: Well, it's the Gospel according to the Scriptures. I didn't dream it up.
OWENS: Robertson also dedicates a chapter to money. I guess having money in the bank gives you a little peace of mind. But it really hasn't changed our lifestyle much. Another chapter tackles what Robertson calls America's addiction to social media.
ROBERTSON: I don't own a cell phone. I don't have one. I never turned on a computer in my life. So whatever America is saying or not saying about, me true or untrue, what they need to understand is I'm not hearing it.
OWENS: Like we said, don't expect Phil Robertson to change. For "Good morning America," Ryan Owens, ABC News, West Monroe, Louisiana.