I have known, liked and admired Pat Robertson for about 25 years — maybe more. Pat has said and done some dumb things occasionally during that period of time, but until last week, I would have counted him among the good guys — a righteous man of principle.
With his endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president of the United States, he has me doubting him — big time.
Keep in mind this is the presidential primary season. I admit that the choices among the front-runners — Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Mitt Romney — leave a principled constitutionalist with a biblical worldview in doubt. In my opinion, there is no clear choice among them.
However, as I have written previously, three of these names should be scratched from all serious consideration, even if they win the Republican nomination. They are Giuliani, Romney and McCain. Of these three unacceptable choices, Giuliani is the least acceptable.
But there was Pat Robertson rushing to endorse a lifelong pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-gun, self-described liberal for the Republican nomination. Has Robertson lost his mind? Has he lost his principles? Has he sold out? If so, to whom and for what?
I can’t answer for Pat Robertson. I won’t even try. But his extremely poor judgment in this case — sowing more confusion among Christian voters already frustrated by their choices — leads me, reluctantly, to question some of his previous decisions.
Just who is Pat Robertson, and what is he doing? What is really motivating him? What are the guiding principles behind his ministry, his business life and his political involvement?
In 1997, after having built up the Family Channel as just that, a viable commercial alternative to the crud and filth found on other TV channels, he unceremoniously sold it to Rupert Murdoch, demanding in return only that the international media mogul known for being in the vanguard of programming sleaze continue airing Robertson’s "The 700 Club."
I’m sure the Robertson family got very wealthy from the sale. Today he probably would tell you he was assured Murdoch would maintain the family character of the channel. I’m sure he was. However, anyone even reasonably knowledgeable about who Murdoch is and was could have seen what was coming. In fact, in The New York Times account of the transaction 10 years ago, Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Media Education, did just that: ”Murdoch is going to turn what has been an innocuous, family-friendly channel into a frenzied animated explosion featuring blood and guts.”
Rupert Murdoch is arguably the world’s most well-known and successful pornographer. I’m not just talking about the soft-core topless models he has featured in his tabloids for decades. I’m not just talking about the prime-time smut he peddles on his FOX network. I’m talking about a stable of hard-core porn channels for its BSkyB subsidiary.
The story of Murdoch’s venture into the world of hard-core porn broke in the London publication The Business late last year. The story alluded to the seeming contradiction of a "born-again Christian," as Murdoch once referred to himself, building a hard-core porn network.
Yet even before the BSkyB venture into hard-core porn, Murdoch’s News Corporation was steeped in the business.
"News Corp. is a major owner of DirecTV, which sells more pornographic films than (Hustler magazine founder and porn film producer Larry) Flynt," said porn fighter Gail Dines in The Business article. She’s a professor of American Studies at Boston’s Wheelock College. "In 2000, the New York Times reported that nearly $200 million a year is spent by the 8.7 million subscribers to DirecTV. Among News Corp.’s other media holdings are the Fox Broadcasting and cable TV networks, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post and TV Guide. Welcome to synergy: Murdoch also owns Harper Collins, which published pornography star Jenna Jameson’s best-selling book, ‘How To Make Love Like a Porn Star.’"
Murdoch built his media empire as an Australian newspaper heir who added topless, alluring Page 3 girls to the mix — a practice some of his papers, including the British holding The Sun, still follow today.
Come to think of it, if Pat Robertson was ready, willing and able to climb into bed with Rupert Murdoch 10 years ago, should it surprise us today that he is climbing into bed with Rudy Giuliani?