Talk about being in the right place at the right time: At 4:40 p.m. Monday, Media Matters for America posted this item about Pat Robertson's latest shoot-from-the-hip remarks on The 700 Club. Not quite 24 hours later, several hundred media outlets have picked up the story -- many of them relying on a report by Sue Lindsey of The Associated Press.
Off-kilter remarks from Pat Robertson have an almost lunar cycle about them, so that life would seem out of balance if he didn't weigh in with some bewildering thoughts on politics, culture wars or other explosive topics. Perhaps this is Robertson's counterintuitive way of staying in the media spotlight a few times a year. Perhaps it's just the temptation that comes with starting your own cable network and having the freedom to say pretty much whatever you please.
I have no media criticism to offer here. Reporters recognize a good coffee-spewing remark when they see one, and I will not fault them for jumping on this one.
Media Matters has tried to exploit the moment by calling on ABC Family to drop The 700 Club from its daily broadcast schedule.
A statement from ABC Family confirms what seemed clear enough when The 700 Club survived the satellite channel's transformations from the Christian Broadcasting Network to Fox Family and then to ABC Family:
ABC Family is contractually obligated to air "The 700 Club" and has no editorial control over views expressed by the hosts or guests. ABC Family strongly rejects the views expressed by Pat Robertson in the August 22 telecast of the program. All comments about "The 700 Club" should be directed to the Christian Broadcast Network through [its] toll-free number or via [its] website at www.cbn.com.