Monday, January 09, 2006

And why exactly isn't that newsworthy?

Robertson Out Of The Club?

One of the top stories on today concerns Pat Robertson's comments about Ariel Sharon. Robertson suggested Friday "that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for 'dividing God's land,'" as the story puts it. Robertson, who has been a figurehead of the evangelical movement since he powered onto the national scene as a presidential candidate in 1988, has garnered attention recently because of controversial comments, such as his suggestion that disaster may strike a small Pennsylvania town because residents "voted God out of your city" and his call for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Presently he controls a television network, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and hosts its flagship show, "The 700 Club."

I asked "Evening News" host Bob Schieffer for his thoughts on Robertson and whether he thought there were others who better represent evangelicals.

Schieffer, who considers himself a religious person, has covered Robertson and interviewed him several times in the past, and says "at the beginning he represented a particular point of view, and articulated it quite well." But he's reluctant to cover him now.

"I think we have to be very careful about quoting Robertson, because I'm not sure who he represents anymore," he said. "His comments have gone beyond interesting and into bizarre." The "Evening News," he points out, has not covered Robertson's recent comments.

So who does he think is a better representative of evangelicals? Jim Wallis, who Schieffer calls "very compelling." (It's worth noting that many consider Wallis to be left-leaning, unlike most evangelical leaders.)
I can understand that Schieffer and CBS might not use Robertson as their fundie go-to guy anymore. But I wasn't aware that they weren't covering his recent nuttiness, which is an interesting decision given his former standing in the network's eyes. I could be wrong, but if most other political figures who "represented a particular point of view" (and Robertson is a politcal figure) impressed the networks as being a little frayed at the edges, I'm pretty sure it would get some coverage. Just ask Howard Dean.


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