All-American Muslim” is an eight-part reality show on The Learning Channel (TLC) which premiered on November 13, 2011, and ends on January 8th, 2012. (If you don’t have cable or have missed the airings, the first episode is currently available here on YouTube.)
To say that the show is controversial is an understatement. Lowe’s, the home improvement chain, recently pulled its ads from the show partly in response to Islamophobes like David Caton of the Florida Family Association. The FFA sent emails to all the show’s sponsors threatening to call all “concerned Americans” to boycott their products if they didn’t withdraw their support.
First of all, ads don’t necessarily mean that the companies who are advertising necessarily agree with a show’s premise or content. If that were the case, how did another TLC show, “Sister Wives” (a show about polygamy) get any advertisers? (And why isn’t the FFA protesting that show??)
Second of all, what kind of idiot views a commercial as an endorsement of anything but the product it’s advertising? Let’s be realistic: companies advertise on shows that they think will have a decent viewership. They don’t care why people are watching the shows; they just want the viewers to buy their products. (Remember, this is commercial television that we’re talking about here.)
Lowe’s could have stood its ground and still maintained its objectivity if it had just issued a statement saying that they advertised on the show in the first place in order to reach its audience. They could have said that those who find the show objectionable should write the show’s creators or the networks that present it. In their statement on their Facebook page, they say that they pulled their ads because the show had become a lightning rod for different societal and political views. (Read the statement here.) So? Big deal!
What they didn’t consider is that the controversy may well create a larger audience for “All-American Muslim.” If they were really smart, they’d reconsider their position and start advertising on the show again.
The FFA and other like-minded bigots believe that the show is a “stealth” project to somehow “trick” the American public into thinking that Muslims are not terrorists. Their little brains can’t handle the concept of diversity even within specific groups of people. All they see are stereotypes, as if only Christians (at least the white and conservative ones) safeguard American values. And anyone who knuckles under to their scare tactics is as small-minded as they are.