Take a breather, Brother Robertson

RobertsonOnAirTalk about being in the right place at the right time: At 4:40 p.m. Monday, Media Matters for America posted this item about Pat Robertson’s latest shoot-from-the-hip remarks on The 700 Club.

Not quite 24 hours later, several hundred media outlets have picked up the story — many of them relying on a report by Sue Lindsey of The Associated Press.

Off-kilter remarks from Pat Robertson have an almost lunar cycle about them, so that life would seem out of balance if he didn’t weigh in with some bewildering thoughts on politics, culture wars or other explosive topics. Perhaps this is Robertson’s counterintuitive way of staying in the media spotlight a few times a year. Perhaps it’s just the temptation that comes with starting your own cable network and having the freedom to say pretty much whatever you please.

I have no media criticism to offer here. Reporters recognize a good coffee-spewing remark when they see one, and I will not fault them for jumping on this one.

Media Matters has tried to exploit the moment by calling on ABC Family to drop The 700 Club from its daily broadcast schedule.

A statement from ABC Family confirms what seemed clear enough when The 700 Club survived the satellite channel’s transformations from the Christian Broadcasting Network to Fox Family and then to ABC Family:

ABC Family is contractually obligated to air “The 700 Club” and has no editorial control over views expressed by the hosts or guests. ABC Family strongly rejects the views expressed by Pat Robertson in the August 22 telecast of the program. All comments about “The 700 Club” should be directed to the Christian Broadcast Network through [its] toll-free number or via [its] website at www.cbn.com.

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  • Stephen A.

    As a conservative, I have to say that anyone who coddles a dictator who oppresses civil rights (for CNN viewers reading this, I mean Castro) has to worry about how that will be interpreted by outsiders. That said…

    As a media critic, I have to look on in a bemused way at the hysterical media reaction, considering all the looney things Cindy Sheehan has said that have gone unreported in the MSM (“This country is not worth dying for” – Apr. 27 Leftist student rally at San Fran State on behalf of the jailed attorney for the “blind sheik” behind the 1993 twin towers bombing.)

    As a person who is often critical of Christianity, I have to ask WHAT WAS ROBERTSON THINKING?? Why is a “man of God,” so-called, using his program and his clout as a minister/broadcaster to advocate KILLING!! Has he not read the 10 commandments?

    It’s ironic, then, that he’s been among those who’ve been (somewhat justifiably) upset that the 10 Commandments and other touchstones of faith are being cleansed from society. Of course, we don’t have to follow teachings, just “believe.” Otherwise that would be “Works Salvation.”

    As a public relations consultant, I’d advise him to apologize unreservedly to Chavez and the Bush administration for appearing to advise this course of action. Other countries mistakenly think this fellow still has influence in the government.

    As a covert CIA operative, I have to say, “Nice job, JERK. Now we have to postpone the hit on Chavez.”

    (Just kidding about that last one.)

  • http://www.newpantagruel.com Dan Knauss

    Robertson is pretty 80s as an “Evangelical leader” figure. But CNN apparently got Ted Haggard to try to defend Pat and say a lot of stupid stuff. Passing of the torch from one cretin to another.

  • http://www.physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com Matthew M.

    I agree with tmatt’s sentiments – the whole thing just makes you think “what on earth was he thinking?” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t smoking anything. I think.

    On an unrelated note, I still wonder how you can call your network “ABC Family” and air the likes of “Cruel Intentions”.

  • http://www.physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com Matthew M.

    Oops, I meant LeBlanc’s sentiments. My bad.

  • http://n/a ah

    Equal-opportunity embarrassment, to Evangelicals AND Harvard Law School. Something for everyone!

    Robertson is a batty if well-moneyed outlier, has been for a long time. He may even be age-compromised now, all vitamined-up in his muscles and moisturized skin, brain lagging behind. Also, I infer he runs things very imperially and hasn’t been contradicted to his face or encountered a failure in fawning for decades. That really discombobulates the perceptual integrity.

    He clearly has a War Games/Armed Mercenary fantasy life, loves tinkering in ideas for military intelligence, had thousand$ in pull-down maps’n’charts on the set during the Iraq invasion.

    St. Paul’s writings suggest the sad facts that there some folks preach a kind of Gospel and still hang ‘way over the edge.

    As well as having No-Zero-Nada PR sense.

    I use Pat Robertson as a test for liberals. If they stoop to use him to beat up Christians, they’re looking for an excuse.

  • David R.

    It is deeply disappointing that major news outlets (or even minor ones for that matter) are giving any attention to Robertson’s remarks about anything. The only people who really care about what he says on his show are his fans!
    Sadly, the vast majority of Christian broadcasters have a political agenda and a mere ‘set of values’running far ahead of authentic Christianity. What’s sadder yet is that they don’t seem to realize it. Some media outlets have taken a decent stab or two at publicly understanding religion, but far more often than not, they ‘can’t hit the broad side of a barn.’

  • Stephen A.

    I find it hillarious that MSNBC’s “Countdown” show trotted out the head of the liberal National Council of Churches to condemn Robertson.

    No one else. Just this liberal. Again, no balance.

    Trouble is (and mark this day) this time, I agreed with the liberal. The comments were appalling and stupid. Though whether he resigns from the 700 club – one of the liberal’s suggestions – I care not a whit.

  • Darrell Grizzle

    I’ve noticed a recurring pattern among some of my fellow liberal Christians: an extreme reluctance to make a definite moral statement. I understand that in this postmodern age there is (supposedly) no such thing as absolute truth.
    But I’d like to ask my fellow liberals who read GetReligion: What is an appropriate response to a statement like this one by Brother Pat? As good liberal postmodernists who value tolerance and dialogue between those of differing paths, are we supposed to consider his viewpoint a valid one? Are we intolerant if we refuse to tolerate an intolerant viewpoint? Is it OK to call Pat Robertson (or at least his words) vile and loathsome, or are we judgmental and absolutist ourselves if we do so?

  • tmatt


    Great question.

    Media-wise, I am simply in favor — with a wince — of him being able to say what he wants and others respond. I am that free-speech guy, even when it is offensive. For me, the question is why so many want to act as if this man is still a mainstream evangelical leader.

  • Bobbie

    All that being said, Mr. Robertson’s Operation Blessing, (which is funded by his followers) will be the first to help the victims of Katrina. The man has helped countless thousands of people in times of distress, but the only things that get publicity are the offhand remarks. Give the man a break. As my Dad used to say, when you have accomplished as much as he has, then you can criticize.