December 1, 2005

David Brock vs. Pat Robertson re Venezuela, Part 2

Posted by Eric Jaffa
August 24, 2005 @ 6:38 am
Filed under: FCC, Media Watch

David Brock, president of the media watchdog group Media Matters for America has asked Pat Robertson to retract his statement that the US should murder the president of Venezuela.

Media Matters also takes the position that advocacy of murder doesn’t belong on The ABC Family Channel.

Following his August 22 call for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Media Matters for America is urging ABC Family to stop showing Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club. ABC Family shows The 700 Club three times a day.

…”Robertson’s vitriol is not appropriate for children, or for anyone else, for that matter. His calls for the killing of a foreign leader certainly do not belong on a television channel that purports to offer family-friendly programming,” said Media Matters for America President and CEO David Brock.

What Pat Robertson said on “The 700 Club” about the September 11 attacks on September 13, 2001.

A response from an official in Venezuela:

Venezuela Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said how the United States responds to the comments would test its anti-terrorism policy. “It’s a huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of the country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those,” he said.”

Update 2

Robertson Denies What He Said

Conservative religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Wednesday that his remarks about the removal of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were taken out of context and that he never called for the killing of the Latin American leader.

“I didn’t say ‘assassination.’ I said our special forces should ‘take him out.’ And ‘take him out’ can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time,” Robertson said on “The 700 Club” program.

The controversy began Monday when Robertson called Chavez “a terrific danger” bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas.

“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it,” said Robertson on Monday’s program. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”

Update 3

Reverend Jesse Jackson wants federal involvement:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called for the Federal Communications Commission to investigate, just as it did when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed in the Super Bowl broadcast in 2004. “This is even more threatening to hemispheric stability than the flash of a breast on television during a ballgame,” Mr. Jackson said.

“The 700 Club” is shown on both broadcast and cable channels. However, the FCC interprets “indecency” as involving sexual and excretory matters, not violence. I’m not expecting an investigation.

If Congress did pass a law giving the FCC the authority to regulate broadcast speech about violence and depictions of violence, it would probably do more harm than good.

Update 4

Robertson apologized today:

“Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement,” Robertson said in a statement issued by his Christian Broadcasting Network.

Unfortunately, this isn’t much of an apology. Pat Robertson proceeds to call Hugo Chavez a dictator (he’s not) and to say of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who tried to kil Adolph Hitler, that “his example deserves our respect and consideration today.”

In other words, in a single press release, Pat Robertson apologizes for calling for the murder of Hugo Chavez, and then does it again.

Update 5

Check out Jon Stewart’s analysis of Pat Robertson’s remarks and the media reaction on “The Daily Show.”

It includes the observation that Fox News commentator Mort Kondracke tried to downplay the remarks by saying that Pat Robertson is unimportant, but the Fox News show “Hannity and Colmes” considers Robertson important enough to often have him as a guest.

Update 6

Interesting comments on Chavez and oil by Daily News writer Juan Gonzales:

Pat Robertson looks at Chavez and…wants our government to “take him out.” Over at the White House, Bush and his aides may use more restrained language, but their goals are not much different.

But there’s a whole different view down in Latin America, where a half-dozen nations have seen liberal and populist governments swept into office in recent years.

Down there, Chavez has become the new miracle man of oil. Unlike Exxon/Mobil and the Big Oil fat cats, who wallow in their record profits while the rest of us pay, Chavez is spreading the wealth around.

A dangerous man, indeed.

Update 7

The Star Tribune published this letter Aug. 26:

Glaring double standard

A religious leader with more than 1 million followers endorses the idea of murdering the president of Venezuela. President Bush says nothing. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismisses the comment and adds that, “Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.”

I strongly suspect that the response would be much different if the religious leader were Muslim instead of Christian and was endorsing the murder of a U.S. ally instead of a vocal critic of the Bush administration.

Jeff Conrod, Minneapolis.