As Media Matters and Americans United reported, Pat Robertson accused them and People For the American Way of trying to “squelch” his speech. Our method of “stifling” his freedom of expression? We broadcast his own words. From Tuesday’s “700 Club”:
Well our next guest and our next story I know about personally. There’s an organization called People For the American Way. They have camped on this program for decades. They record every single word that I say. If there’s any possibility that they can catch something or change it and then feed it to the AP, they do, and so the next thing you know it’s a big story.
Then, added to them is one of [the] ACLU operatives who started an organization called Americans United for Separation of Church and State. They have people assigned to monitor every word, and then to take those words, change them often, take connectives out of them, change the sense of it, and then feed it to a willing agent in the Associated Press. Then, on top of that, there’s another group, which has backing from somebody like George Soros, called, what is it, Media Matters.
So there are three of them trying to stifle the speech on this program and to embarrass those who make it.
Now, monitoring and responding to the Religious Right has been part of People For the American Way’s mission since 1981, so it’s true that we have been watching Robertson and other televangelists as they have sought to expand their political influence. And while it’s been years since Robertson’s 1988 presidential run, when he finished second in the Iowa caucus and birthed the Christian Coalition, he remains the head of an enormous media and religious empire, including the Christian Broadcasting Network, the “700 Club” (which contractually remains on the mainstream ABC Family channel), Regent University (whose low-ranked law school placed a number of graduates in the Bush Justice Department), and the affiliated American Center for Law and Justice (whose head, Jay Sekulow, played a key role in picking Bush’s judicial nominees).
Given Robertson’s continuing political clout, it shouldn’t be surprising that folks pay attention to him and even criticize him. As for “embarrassing” him, well, he does enough of that himself. Like when he and guest Jerry Falwell blamed us for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
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In the past, Robertson has complained about being “misquoted”—like when he said Ariel Sharon’s debilitating stroke was divine punishment for “dividing God’s land.” But given that we provided the full transcript and video of his comments, the claim did not hold up to scrutiny.
Even more absurd, however, is Robertson’s complaint that we are trying to censor him. In fact, it is completely the opposite. We bring Robertson’s message—in his own words—to a whole new audience.