Idol Chatter

When the Washington diocese of the Episcopal Church USA erected “The Blog of Daniel,” a page on the diocesan website that welcomes discussion of the controversial NBC series “Book of Daniel,” I thought: pure genius. Rather than bridle the way the Catholic League does at every philandering priest in movies and TV, DC HQ decided to be laid back about NBC’s depiction of one of their clergy and his dysfunctional family. So what if most of the posts would be self-helpy lectures from left and right about mutual tolerance? Not only would Episcopals seem hip and engaged in the culture (what’s hipper and more engaged than a blog?), the blog would channel interest in the show into education about the real-world Episcopal community.

What I was too naïve to foresee is the way the show’s producers would use the blog to rally support for the show. Jack Kenny, the show’s creator, has posted an appeal on The Blog of Daniel, urging viewers to call their local affiliates to support the show against the withering fire laid down by the American Family Association and other conservative groups, which has caused some affiliates to pull the show and some advertisers to pull their ads. What seems to burn Kenny most is that the AFA is “is using this show as a fundraising tool,” as he states in one blog entry. I’m of course shocked to see Kenny’s brainchild being used for filthy lucre. But given that the stations refusing to air the show are mostly tiny markets in the upper Bible belt, the greater threat to Kenny’s show is “Book of Daniel”’s ratings, which are flagging after only two weeks, and which a nice censorship fury would likely buck up.

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