Well, to hear the MSM talk, there was one and only one news story today. You'd think Pat Robertson was the biggest newsmaker around. If there was a way to link him to Aruba and that missing teenage girl, I'm sure they'd be in seventh heaven.
So Robertson thinks the president of Venezuela should be assassinated. Big deal. As if he's in a position to do anything about it. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, and before today I'd never even heard of Hugo Chavez. My first thought was to wonder why Pat Robertson wanted Cesar Chavez dead. (And isn't he dead already?)
In fact, as Jonah Goldberg pointed out, it really isn't a big deal. Robertson raises a perfectly valid point as to whether or not it would serve U.S. interests to eliminate Chavez. It wouldn't be the first time, after all. You could debate whether or not it would be a good idea, but it's probably nothing that hasn't already been discussed somewhere in the fringes of U.S. foreign policy decision makeing.
Goldberg things the disturbing thing is that it doesn't sound right coming from a religious leader, and I think he's on to something here. For example, you'd be hard-pressed to imagine a headling that said, "Pope Calls For Assassination Of Muslim Leaders." (Anyway, according to the MSM, we all know that the Pope's more interested in killing pregnant women by refusing to allow them to have abortions.)
Levity aside, I think that may say something good about our society, in that we still expect our religious leaders to abide by certain standards. Of course, one could question whether or not a man who's run for President of the United States, as Robertson did in 1988, qualifies as a purely religious figure. (Full disclosure - I did support Robertson mildly in the GOP primary season, when the only other alternatives were Bush Sr. and Dole.) And it's as a political figure that he makes the bigger impact nowadays, what with his calls for increased U.S. support of Israel.
Speaking as a Catholic, I've never had a great deal of time for Robertson as an evangelist, although he's made some good points over the years. He can often be his own worst enemy, the way he shoots from the hip. But the MSM has exaggerated him into a comic figure, so that when he does make interesting points, he's immediately subject to ridicule. Remember how after September 11 he and Jerry Falwell made some suggestion, the essence of which was that America was being punished for its sins? I can't remember now exactly what it was specifically that we were being punished for (homosexuality? abortion? stem-cells?), and his broad statements probably did more to damage his credibility than anything else, but if you cut to the chase, there's a lot to what he said. I think God was telling us that time was running out for us to get our moral act together. Have we learned the lesson yet?
At any rate, unless Natalie Holloway turns up in the next couple of days, I imagine this story will be totally run into the ground. And while it's so easy to laugh at Robertson, or condemn him, it's not so easy to give a serious answer to the points he raises. Is Chavez a threat to U.S. interests? Do we need to take a more active role in that part of the world? What is going on in that part of the world, anyway? And is assassination as a policy ever justified? These are all provocative questions, questions I'd really like to see debated. Unfortunately, given the media's love of juicy stories disguised as reporting, and shouting matches that masquerade as discussion, I doubt we'll ever hear any of it. And that is a scandal.