Friday, January 06, 2006

More Robertson lunacy

It seems increasingly apparent that Pat Robertson is engaged in a vast experiment to see just how nutty a person’s public utterances must become before the media takes pity and starts ignoring him. According to ABC, yesterday Robertson attributed Ariel Sharon’s stroke to the wrath of God.
Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land."
You may recall that back in August, Robertson caused a stir when he called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. The BBC played that episode to the hilt, pumping out no less than 6 full on-line articles about it, but it has yet to mention anything on Robertson’s latest spasm of lunacy.

It would be comforting to think that its silence is due to a belated realization that Robertson is a buffoon whose public proclamations need not concern serious people. But TAE can’t quite shrug off the nagging suspicion that it has more to do with the BBC’s posture towards the objects of Robertson’s bile than with Robertson himself.

Update: TAE's nagging suspicion is wholly unjustified. Justin Webb reports on the issue, telling us that "Mr Robertson is too big a figure in American politics to be ignored." One wonders why, then, apart from his occassional tourette-like outbursts of inanity, Robertson is, well, pretty much ignored, even by the BBC.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Webb says

Mr Robertson has an evening television programme with a million viewers.

Is that really a big deal given the size of the potential US audience?

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Mark Vassallo said...

Although another view of the influence of Robertson can be found here from someone who is definately not a cheerleader for the BBC:

9:43 PM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


He's definitely not a cheerleader of the BBC, but he shares its disdain for the "religious right" (primarily because it won't sanction his gay lifestyle), hence his desire to elevate the import of Robertson's manifest kookiness and spread it around.

BTW, if Robertson's thoughts on Sharon are justifiably attributed to the millions in his audience as Andrew apparently believes, does that mean that all of Sullivan's thoughts are equally attributable to his audience? Are you sure you want to take all of Andrew's words as your own just because you happen to tune in to what he has to say?


10:27 PM  
Anonymous Mark Vassallo said...


that felt a bit like an over-entusiastic slap down. I don't see anything in what I said as trying to take Sullivan's words as my own. All I was trying to do was point to another conservative commentator on American politics who worries about the influence of Robertson. Are you saying that we can't point to any other sources without having to stand behind every thing they say?


9:24 AM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


No I am not saying that, and it was meant as a slap down of Sullivan's specious reasoning, not of you.

I was merely pointing out the fault in Sullivan's logic. He claims that Robertson's view that God has struck down Sharon for having divided Israel is a "mainstream" view of Christian fundamentalism. He basis this claim on nothing other than the fact that Robertson's TV show has a big audience (800,000 people). This can only mean that Sullivan assumes that whatever position is adopted by Robertson on a given issue is necessarily adopted by his audience.

By pointing out that you do not adopt all of Sullivans' views as your own simply because you can be counted among his readers, I was trying to demonstrate the fault in his thinking which leads to the claim that Robertson's words had any import.

BTW, particularly ludicrous is Sullivan's implication that Robertson's views on Sharon's stroke are representative of mainstream Republicanism, a claim for which there is virtually no evidence whatsoever, and which is belied by the widespread ridicule Robertson's view has received among establishment Republicans (see, for example, NRO's Corner). He discredits his own judgment by making such an absurd claim, and it goes a long way towards substantiating the view that (like the BBC in all probability) he is simply using Robertson's inanity to smear other Republicans by association because of his objection to those Republicans for other reasons.

Also needing some more focus is his use of the term "religious right". He says that "most" members of the religious right believe that the world is soon coming to an end. I'd like to know on what basis he makes such a claim. And, frankly, if this is true, then the "religious right" must be comprised of so few people that it can't possibly constitute the political force it has been made out to be.


10:47 AM  

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