Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why Did Robertson Suggest Gay-Friendly Orlando Would Be Destroyed? Why Did He Advocate Assassinating Chavez? It's Those Gosh-Darn Pesky "Ad-Libs."

Pat Robertson, speaking recently on Michael Eisner's low-rated CNBC show, was folksy and low-key. Even when Eisner brought up uncomfortable topics, the conversation was so gosh darn friendly that Eisner didn't seem to notice Robertson's fact-challenged answers.

Robertson, the outspoken religious broadcaster and head of the Christian Coalition, said on the June 20 edition of Conversations with Michael Eisner that a 1998 comment that Orlando's support of "Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World" would "bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor" was an "ad-lib," that occurred because "it's easy to put your foot in your mouth and -- and get a little carried away."

ROBERTSON: "You know, Michael, I've -- I've ad-libbed-- I've ad-libbed at least 8,000 shows in my day. And whenever you-- you get on-- on an ad-lib, I was talking to your floor director, she used to be in -- in the circus on the high wire. And I'm walking the tightrope every day. I don't work on the script. And -- so I do news, and I do commentary. I do -- I do ad-lib editorials. And it's obvious -- it's easy to put your foot in your mouth and-- and get a little carried away."

Isn't that sweet? Robertson suggested a vengeful G-d would attack Orlando because, gosh darn, he wasn't working from a script. He was just making off-the-cuff comments and got a "little carried away." You know how these things happen. Silly us for taking him seriously.

Eisner changed topics, and it's a shame, because given that he had the wherewithal to ask Robertson why he "came out against (Disney) and really blasted homosexuality," it would have been good if he'd done some homework and been prepared with a follow-up question.

Truth be told, Robertson's suggestion that a vengeful G-d would attack the Earth because of homosexuality wasn't an isolated "ad-lib." It's something he has said many times.

Eisner asked about Robertson's June 6, 1998, comment: "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor."

But soon, poor old Pat must have been "ad-libbing" again. On the June 8, 1998, broadcast of The 700 Club, he said: "If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to."

Suggest a vengeful G-d once, maybe it's ad-libbing. Say it twice, and me thinks it's not an isolated statement -- it's a belief system. On Conversations, though, Robertson spun in his gosh darn folksy way:

ROBERTSON: "The City of Orlando -- sort of put its corporate weight -- behind the whole month of this activity. And we felt this-- I mean, I felt personally that that wasn't too good a thing."

Just a sweet old guy, who, gosh darn it, thinks that a vengeful G-d is on his side.


Eisner moved on to Robertson's comment last year on his support for the U.S. assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

To review, on the Aug. 22, 2005, edition of The 700 Club, Robertson said:

ROBERTSON: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Two days later, Robertson lied about his comments, saying:

ROBERTSON: "Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' ... I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time."

When that didn't hold water -- people could watch video of his comments and see that the AP hadn't "misinterpreted" him -- Robertson issued a statement on his website.

And wouldn't you know it? Robertson blamed those pesky "ad-libs."

ROBERTSON: "I want to take this opportunity to clarify remarks made on the Monday, August 22nd edition of The 700 Club where I adlibbed a comment."

Speaking with Eisner on June 20, Robertson had a new spin. Rather than blame those gosh darn "ad-libs," Robertson said he was merely trying to help along the "policy discussion."

ROBERTSON: "My-- thought Michael is about policy. I -- I can't assassinate anybody. It has to be the President of the United States as a -- as a executive order against that. So the whole thing is just strictly for discussion. I don't like to go to war. I think wars are horrible. ... And so it was a matter of a policy discussion in my mind."

Of course, in his website "apology," Robertson not once suggested that the point of his comments was to foster a "policy discussion." He does say that "the incredible publicity surrounding my remarks has focused our government’s attention on a growing problem which has been largely ignored."

Maybe that was what he meant when he talked to Eisner. It's not like he was working from a script.

Unfortunately, Eisner moved on to another topic. His Conversations doesn't allow for meaningful follow-up questions, or fact-checking his guests. Silly us for taking him seriously.


Anonymous 1932 said...

Jimmy Carter's book, Our Endangered Values, mentions Robertson's 'ad libs' several times, and not in a flattering way.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Generic Other said...

Did he mean Mad Libs?

God says _________________ ________________ are __________________.
adjective homophobic noun pejorative term

11:54 AM  
Anonymous noonwitch said...

Ad libs=senior moments, in this case

Although, Marion's been having senior moments since the 1980s, when he was calling for Khaddafi's death and the banning of Halloween.

Everytime I watch the 700 club and they do the "word of knowlege" prayer thing, I keep hoping that Pat or Gordon or whatever former Miss America is their female cohost of the decade (whatever happened to Ben and DeNuto?) will pray for my hemorroids. It never happens.

11:54 AM  

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