It is often a tactic of the mainstream media to make Christian conservatives out to be "crazy" or strikingly unintelligent. This tactic was on full display this morning over at MSNBC in a story about Pat Robertson, the famous evangelical TV preacher and current host of "700 Club."
In this story, MSNBC, in order to make the man appear crazy and unintelligent, made a highly misleading claim about Robertson's reaction to the tragic shooting that took place Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Before going into detail about why MSNBC's story is misleading, it is interesting to first point out that author Steve Benen spelled Pat Robertson's name incorrectly in the title of his story. Here is a screenshot of MSNBC's title taken at 11:50 am ET on Tuesday.
"In the wake of American mass shootings," reports MSNBC, "some on the right are quick to look for politically convenient scapegoats."
Apparently, it is only "some on the right" who are looking for scapegoats in the aftermath of Sunday's shooting. This could never be, implies MSNBC, something that their colleagues on the left may occasionally do as well.
And what is Robertson's scapegoat, says MSNBC? That would be "disrespect" for Donald Trump. In other words, MSNBC is claiming that Robertson believes that disrespect for Donald Trump directly led to the shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
But upon more than a superficial glance at Robertson's comments, it is very clear that the evangelist was in fact not blaming "disrespect for Trump," but rather disrespect for legitimate sources of authority, both moral and political.
“Violence in the streets, ladies and gentlemen. Why is it happening?” he asked. “The fact that we have disrespect for authority; there is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation they say terrible things about him. It’s in the news, it’s in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line, disrespect.”
This seems to be the part of Robertson's statement that the mainstream media is analyzing. But the second part of Robertson's statement is key to understanding where the evangelical TV preacher is coming from.
“Until there is biblical authority,” Robertson continued, “there has to be some controlling authority in our society and there is none. And when there is no vision of God, the people run amok … and we have taken from the American people the vision of God, the whole idea of reward and punishment, an ultimate judge of all our actions, we’ve taken that away. When there is no vision of God, the people run amok.”
You can watch his full comments at the video below.
Nowhere does Robertson claim that disrespect for Trump led to the tragedy in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Rather, he claims that disrespect for Trump is a symptom of something much bigger: a "lack of controlling authority in our society." The problem of mass shootings, Robertson is implicitly saying, is at its very foundation a spiritual and moral problem, rather than simply a political problem that can be easily solved by enacting more gun laws.
MSNBC then concludes that "the American mainstream may dismiss Robertson as a ridiculous crank, and scoff when he suggests disrespect is to blame for mass murders."
Of course, MSNBC isn't the only website running inaccurate headlines about Pat Robertson. For instance, the Huffington Post also published a story with the misleading headline "Pat Robertson Blames Las Vegas Massacre on Disrespect For Donald Trump."
What do you think? Do you respect what Pat Robertson has to say? Let us know in the comments of our Facebook page. In breaking news, O.J. Simpson may be out of prison, but he's already facing some major problems.