Friday, January 15, 2010

Deals With The Devil

I have one question for my local NBC affiliate, WSMV: is the money you get from Pat Robertson to broadcast The 700 Club worth the knock to your integrity as he spouts this kind of bullshit?

WSMV has aired Pat Robertson’s programming for years in its own “deal with the devil.” It gets a substantial amount of money for this programming, or so I’ve been told. While there are no less than half a dozen independent and cable stations in this market broadcasting Pat Robertson’s nonsense, when a major network like WSMV does it, it lends a credibility to Robertson and his intolerant message. And it's time for WSMV to own up to its responsibility to the community.

Even worse, WSMV airs Robertson's program right after The Today Show. Last time I was at my doctor’s office, they had The Today Show on in the waiting room. As we waited, the programming switched over to the 700 Club. I was appalled at what I heard. Although the waiting room was full, I asked everyone in the room if they minded if I changed the channel. Universally, to a person, they all expressed great relief. No one wants to hear that crap, WSMV. If they do, let them hunt for it on community access.

Pat Robertson’s stock in trade is outrageous, divisive, fear-porn. A few of his greatest hits:

• In January of this year Robertson told his viewers to "buy gold and get your money out of America as fast as you can.” Left unsaid was Robertson’s ownership of a Liberian gold mine--something Robertson finagled in his own “deal with a devil,” in this case former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor currently on trial for war crimes.

• In October 2009 Pat Robertson called on Israelis to "arm” the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem holy site claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

• In 2005 he called on the American government to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

And of course Robertson is famous for numerous anti-Muslim remarks over the years, including most recently saying Islam is "not a religion” but “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination.”

These are all things Pat Robertson said on The 700 Club. Not private conversations, but on the television show WSMV takes money to broadcast. If that’s not a deal with the devil, I don’t know what is.

And let me add: Pat Robertson is not just offensive to Americans, he’s also offensive to Christians. Many are speaking out now: you can read Jarrod McKenna’s piece on Robertson’s "gospel of disgrace.” Here Nashville’s own Jars of Clay tells Sally Quinn that perhaps Robertson shouldn’t have a platform any longer.

I can definitely agree with that sentiment. WSMV, pull the plug on Pat Robertson. Or is the money more important? You know, a couple years ago WSMV got in trouble with the FCC for not airing enough children's programming. Seems to me there's something better you should be doing with that time-slot.