A long-running Christian TV show hosted by Pat Robertson, produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network. Airs on local syndicates and religious cable stations, as well as ABC Family
. Initially a run-of-the-mill show focusing on Christian testimonials and gospel performances, The 700 Club
gradually evolved into a daily platform for Robertson's ultraconservative political commentary.
Because of the religious and political elements endemic to this topic, and controversies related to Pat Robertson that are too numerous to count, the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement
is in effect for this page.
This show provides examples of:
- Activist Fundamentalist Antics: Occasionally defended in the news stories invoking freedom of speech, but not exhibited by the hosts themselves.
- The Artifact: For ABC Family, which Pat Robertson used to own.
- Artifact Title: The show's title comes from Robertson's original seven-hundred donors.
- The name of the Christian Broadcasting Network counts as one. At one point, CBN really was a (small) broadcast network, with affiliates in a few East Coast cities and a cable station. Eventually, however, CBN sold off everything and the cable station became ABC Family, although Robertson managed to work in a contractual headlock forcing it to (reluctantly) air his programming. The Christian Broadcasting Network as it exists today is really a production company for The 700 Club and related shows.
- Ban on Politics: Ironically was an initial rule of the show during The Sixties and the first half of The Seventies, until a combination of radical social trends and Watergate convinced Pat to start commenting on politics.
- Barbarian Tribe: If the show covers the Muslim community in any way, chances are they will be portrayed as violent invaders who are inevitably linked to terrorists and would just as soon murder Christians and Jews as look at them. Never are Muslims depicted in a positive, or even civilized, light.
- Berserk Button: Pat's most common ones are homosexuality, Islam, and negative reaction whenever Christians criticize either; some of his more infamous Open Mouth, Insert Foot incidents were sparked by one or more of these topics.
- Catch Phrase:
- "Amen and amen."
- "Ladies and gentlemen..."
- "We leave you today with... [Bible quotation]."
- Cold Reading: Pat's healing segments, basically. His descriptions of illnesses being healed are intentionally vague and generalized, and he never heals a member of a studio audience or mentions the healee by name. That way, anyone watching at home can assume they've been healed, while Pat avoids the kind of scrutiny dealt to Benny Hinn or Peter Popoffnote .
- Conspiracy Theorist: Pat's 1991 book, The New World Order, plays recycled conspiracy theory tropes — about the Federal Reserve, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, and their plans for a single, godless world government — to the hilt. The New World Order also borrowed heavily from books by crackpot anti-Semites, which got Pat in trouble with the Jewish community.
- The 700 Club's "news" reporters sometimes sound like ones themselves, like when they imply that European leftists are working with Muslim terrorists to establish a massive Islamic caliphate in the European Union, or that abortionists are engaging in a covert genocide against unborn black babies.
- Enemy Mine: Over the show's history, Pat has defended several African dictators with at best questionable human rights records on the grounds that they were moral Christian leaders fighting an encroaching Islamist menace. Perhaps his most infamous relationship was with Liberia's overthrown president (and alleged warlord and cannibal) Charles Taylor.
- The 700 Club also defended South Africa's apartheid regime — not because they supported apartheid, but because the anti-communist show believed the regime's claims that the African National Congress was a communist proxy group. Which makes it a little... nauseating to see them air a fawning obituary to Nelson Mandela even though they carried water for the racist police state that kept him in prison.
- God Is Good: The intended message of the show, although Pat's notoriety may have undercut it.
- Godwin's Law: Pat has gone there when assailing supposed liberal persecution of evangelicals. He and his reporters have also compared Iran to Nazi Germany, especially during the presidency of the openly anti-semitic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- Guest Host: Wendy Griffith on "Skinny Wednesday."
- Healing Hands: Pat and his co-host raise up their hands during the "remote faith healing" segments.
- Heel-Faith Turn: The formula of the testimonial segments, especially if they involve "ex-gays", former atheists, or people who practiced a different religion.
- Israel: Because the country is important to their End Time eschatology, The 700 Club often airs news stories and interviews that heap praise on Israel's government, military, upstart businesses, and tourist destinations. They also air flagrantly one-sided coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, defending Israeli actions even when the Israelis were clearly in the wrong.
- Jesus Saves: The whole point of the show.
- Karma Houdini: With all of his Open Mouth, Insert Foot statements, it's mindbloggling that Pat hasn't said something so offensive that he was forced to cancel the show or resign as host. Yet.
- In 1999, Pat was found by Virginia state authorities to have deliberately misused viewer donations intended for Rwandan refugees to fund a for-profit diamond mining operation in the former Zaire. Fortunately for Pat, prosecution was vetoed by Virginia's then-attorney general Mark Earley, to whom Pat had made a hefty campaign contribution.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Erick Stakelbeck, The 700 Club's "terrorism expert" whose commentary often veers into tirades against Muslim immigrants, is not an actual expert on Islamic extremism or practices. His only experience prior to CBN was sports writing.
- Laugh Track: Obvious canned applause is heard whenever Pat sits down with a studio guest.
- Especially obvious considering the 700 Club hasn't had a (visible) Studio Audience since the late 1990s.
- The show has a studio audience; this troper brought tickets to the show and sat in the studio audience in March 2005. But the group I was with was so small that canned applause was needed, which is why I imagine they use it.
- Long Runner: Since 1966.
- Loophole Abuse: Why The 700 Club is still on ABC Family. When ABC bought the Fox Family Channel in 2001, they apparently had a legal staff that rubber-stamped the deal and didn't look at the contract closely. Robertson threw all kinds of legalese into the contract which meant he irrevocably kept three hours of airtime a day, and that the moment the word "Family" was stripped from the name, every single deal made with every single cable system was null and void, and Disney would be stuck having to renegotiate with every system to get back on.
- Moral Guardians
- Moral Substitute: Pat Robertson originally envisioned CBN to be one for CBS, ABC, and NBC, America's sole three media outlets back in The Sixties.
- CBN News, which produces several Christian news shows, is presented as one for the "liberal" broadcast media. Whether it's a Moral Substitute or a Propaganda Machine depends on your point of view.
- The American Center for Law & Justice, which is frequently given exposure on The 700 Club, is Pat's substitute for the American Civil Liberties Union — almost down to the acronyms.
- Network Red Headed Stepchild: ABC Family goes to great pains to distance itself from the show, putting up disclaimers both before and after the broadcast, burying it in a late-night time slot, and even removing its name from on-screen cable listings whenever it is on.
- Monday nights, its' lead-in at the 10PM time slot is a rerun of The Fosters that had just finished airing at the 9PM slot.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Pat" is his childhood nickname. His real name is Marion.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Just too many examples to count.
- Patriotic Fervor: Blended with revisionist history claiming that America is a nation uniquely favored by God and was meant to function as a Christian theocracy.
- Playing the Victim Card: Depending on your religious outlook. Pat and his "news" reporters claim that laws and court rulings protecting gays from hate crimes amount to hate crimes against Christians. When Congress passed the Matthew Shepherd Act, Pat lamented that "the noose has tightened around the necks of Christians."
- Political Correctness Gone Mad
- Religion of Evil: How the CBN people regard every religion except Christianity. No, literally — The 700 Club advertised a CBN pamphet in The Nineties which outright declared that any religion that did not accept Jesus Christ as savior counted as a "cult."
- Since The War on Terror, The 700 Club has been very keen to portray Islam as the Religion of Evil in its news and op-ed segments. In recent years, Pat and his CBN News "reporters" have been dropping hints that Muslims will be the direct opponents of Christians during Armageddon.
- Religion Is Right: See Jesus Saves.
- Self Promotion Disguised As News: Whenever a natural disaster happens somewhere, CBN News always focuses on the relief efforts by a particular charity called Operation Blessing. If there is some sort of right-wing outrage going on, they will talk to an "expert" affiliated with the Christian Coalition, the American Center for Law & Justice, or Regent University. There's a good reason for this — all of these groups are founded or run by Pat Robertson.
- Signs of the End Times: The actual name of an annual series of teaching segments on The 700 Club, in which Pat Robertson interprets current events as biblical prophecy.
- CBN News reports also claim that political developments in either Israel or America fulfill Bible prophecy in some way. Even the act of picking grapes is taken as a sign of prophecy.
- Spoofed with Their Own Words: There is no shortage of offensive or bizarre things Pat has said during his decades-long career, which has led him to becoming a punchline in recent years. Pat's comments even have their own term amongst critics: "Patspeak."
- Streisand Effect: CBN went to great lengths to make sure that Pat's conspiracy theory about "AIDS rings" never saw the light of day. Not only did it cut his comments from the online and cable reruns of The 700 Club, but it used copyright notices to take down copies of the video on YouTube, Vimeo, and DailyMotion. However, word had spread around the Internet about the comments, and CBN's attempts to censor the video only added to the negative blowback. CBN eventually backed off and allowed videos to be reposted.
- Talk Show: About two thirds of the show, after the news segment.
- Telethon: Annual ones in January, broadcast on ABC Family as expanded editions of The 700 Club.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Pat briefly left the show for several months when he decided to run for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination. He returned after withdrawing from the primaries.
- Troubled Production: In the first several years.
- Un-Person: Danuta Soderman, one of Pat's co-hosts in The Eighties, was fired when she published an autobiography describing a five-year extramarital affair. Afterwards, Soderman criticized Pat's politics and dished about her experiences at CBN (her feminism clashed with the all-male management) in a series of interviews and essays. CBN has erased Soderman's five-year contribution to the show.
- Pat's son Tim, who took over hosting duties when his father ran for president in 1988. Tim Robertson was a dull TV personality and his lack of appeal led to a sag in viewer contributions, prompting Pat's return after leaving the campaign trail. The 700 Club also skips over his hosting tenure.
- Jim Bakker, of PTL infamy, was Pat's original co-host when The 700 Club launched in 1966, and was also a puppeteer a CBN children's show with his wife Tammy Faye. A poor working relationship with Pat eventually led the Bakkers to leave CBN and join Paul Crouch's TBN, with the same results.