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Pat Robertson's Gift to the Chavez Propagandists

By Scott Burgess | The Daily Ablution

August 25, 2005 | Is this the end for Pat Robertson? Despite our sincere wishes to the contrary, probably not. After all, this is a person that still has a significant platform, despite comments like "feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians", and, even more bizarrely, "Presbyterians are the spirit of the Antichrist" (who knew?).

His immediate impulse is toward cowardly dishonesty, as was made clear by his first response to the outcry over his Chavez assassination remarks. Fox news reports:

"'I didn't say "assassination,"' Robertson clarified during a broadcast of his 'The 700 Club' Wednesday morning. 'I said our special forces should go "take him out," and "take him out" could be a number of things, including kidnapping.'

"He blamed The Associated Press for making him seem to advocate the assassination of a foreign leader.

"'There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him,' Robertson said. 'I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time.'"

This is simply a lie, as Fox goes on to point out:

"However, during the original '700 Club' broadcast Monday night, Robertson clearly mentioned assassination.

"'You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we are trying to assassinate him, we should go ahead and do it,' Robertson said Monday. 'It's a whole lot easier than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop.'"

Mr. Robertson is, in short, an opportunistic liar - a perpetual embarrassment to thinking Americans on the (broadly defined) right and their supporters everywhere. Which is, of course, precisely why this story has received so much play. By casting Robertson as someone with "close links to the White House" - as Andrew Buncombe did in yesterday's Independent

- the left-wing press is able to implicitly project Robertson's comments onto the Administration (despite direct disavowal of the remarks by the Departments of State and Defense).

So Mr. Robertson has served the purpose of the Guardian/Independent media sector nicely, again providing them with the opportunity to embarrass "conservatives" generally, linked as we are to the likes of the televangelist and his supporters by tenuous agreement in one or two areas (but much more substantially in the eyes of many members of the public at large). He won't mind, of course - such contretemps simply strengthen his position as far as his audience is concerned, and his agenda also benefits.

Not only has the affair provided the opportunity for much leftie sneering, two days has proved more than adequate time for the composition of glowing propaganda profiles of Mr. Chavez - samples may be seen in both the Independent and Guardian today.

In the Indy, Johann Hari's completely uncritical piece paints a picture of the Venezuelan leader as being rather like Christ Himself, bringing hope to the hopeless and restoring the eyesight of the blind:

"It is easy to see why the people of the barrios support Chavez so passionately: I visited dozens of the 'missions' built by Chavez that provide health and education for the poor, in some places for the first time. The Miracle Mission, for example, provides cataract operations, restoring the sight of poor people who have been blind for decades. They would have never seen again under the opposition's vision of slashed public spending and oil revenues directed once again to the rich. If democracy was destroyed, these missions - the lifelines for the barrios - would soon disappear."

In contrast, Mr. Hari portrays Mr. Chavez's opponents ("Armani suit, Donna Karan dress") as foulmouthed racist plutocrats. So much for editorial balance.

Meanwhile, in the Guardian, erstwhile KGB "agent of influence" Richard Gott takes a similarly objective view. Mr. Robertson's outburst conveniently provides an opportunity for the former Soviet spy to expound a favourite theme most recently presented just this May, when he wrote (also in the Guardian):

"The chrysalis of the Venezuelan revolution led by Chávez, often attacked and derided as the incoherent vision of an authoritarian leader, has finally emerged as a resplendent butterfly whose image and example will radiate for decades to come."

It's not clear just how those who have been beaten by Mr. Chavez' secret police (for mingling with his political opponents), whose rights to engage in public protest have been curtailed, or whose childrens' schools were raided in an anti-Semitic assault (carried out during el Presidente's friendly visit to Iran) feel about the emergence of the resplendent butterfly. What is certain is that they will never be mentioned in the pages of the IndyGuardian.

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