The 700 Club
is a long-running Christian TV show hosted by Pat Robertson, produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network and airing 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:
- The Artifact/Network Red Headed Stepchild: For ABC Family, which Pat Robertson used to own. ABC Family, for their part, goes to great lengths 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.
- ABC Family don't even attach any network branding to the broadcast during The 700 Club.
- 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.
- 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 liberal social trends and Watergate convinced Pat Robertson to start commenting on politics.
- 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 other TV faith healers.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Pat's 1991 book, The New World Order, recycled plenty of conspiracy tropes and borrowed heavily from books by crackpot anti-Semites, which got Pat in trouble with the Jewish community.
- The 700 Club's reporters sometimes push conspiracy theories as "news" stories, like the claim that leftists are working with Muslim radicals to overthrow the West or that abortionists are targeting African-American babies for genocide.
- 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.
- God Is Good: The intended message of the show, although Pat's notoriety may have undercut it.
- Godwin's Law: Broken by Pat when assailing supposed persecution of evangelicals.
- Guest Host: Wendy Griffith on "Skinny Wednesday."
- Previously, that day was co-hosted by Kristi Watts until her exit in 2013 - who ended up often on the receiving end of Robertson's zingers on health-related stories.
- 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.
- Karma Houdini: With all of his Open Mouth, Insert Foot statements, it's mind-boggling that Pat hasn't said something so offensive that he was forced to cancel the show or resign as host. Yet.
- 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.
- 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: CBN, especially its news service, 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.
- 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 claims that laws and court rulings protecting gays from discrimination amount to hate crimes against 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.
- 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 reason for this — all of these groups are founded or run by Pat Robertson.
- Signs of the End Times: A frequent topic, reflecting Pat's Christian Zionist beliefs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.note
- Jim Bakker, of PTL infamy, was Pat's original co-host when The 700 Club launched in 1966, and was also a puppeteer on a CBN kids' 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.