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Dear Pat: An Open Letter to Pat Robertson

Blog or WebsiteGreat, just great...excerpts from this open letter to Pat from Michael over at Addison Road blog:

"Dear Pat,

Here’s the deal. We know you’re in a difficult position. The ensuing crap tornado from your statements early in the week have finally caught up to you, and you realize that your credibility is on the line. You have to find a way to quell the outcry, without losing the support of your regular viewers (and financial supporters), many of whom see nothing wrong with the Manifest Destiny of the Judeo-Christo-American Empire, and think your statement was right on the money.

So I offer this advice, not so much out of any sense of pity or compassion, but because we work for the same guy, and your words seem to keep sullying his reputation. You’re looking for middle ground. You’re trying to formulate an apology that says, “I didn’t mean kill” and “but it might be a good idea” and “the biased media misinterpreted my words” and “but it did draw attention an important issue” and “I obviously misspoke out of frustration.” This is known as the shotgun approach. It doesn’t work...

...It’s an awful idea. Look at how quickly everyone from the State Department to other Evangelical leaders have distanced themselves from your comments. Note their tone of voice. It’s not just political expediency, it’s actual repugnance. People are disgusted by the idea.
Nobody misinterpreted your words. Know why? Because we all saw the video. We saw the whole thing. We watched you speak them, we saw the earnest fervor on your face, and we knew what you meant. Unless you mean that the 700 club accidentally replaced you with an animatronic robot who made certain statements with which you disagree, in which case, you might be OK, because robots are cool.

Yes, it certainly did draw attention. I’ve got two problems with this. The first is that it drew attention, and gave newly minted international political clout to a petty dictator from a country that would barely register on the radar if not for the fact that they have the hookup for our national sweet sweet crude jones. You don’t think he’s politically savvy enough to work this thing up into a stronger following in Venezuela?

The second problem is this: you seem to be justifying an ethical error by means of a consequentialist solution. I know some of those words are a bit long, and you got your degrees in an era when Christianity was scared of philosophy, but it means this: you’re saying that something bad can be made good if enough good things happen as a result. Kind of like saying that it’s OK to cheat on a medical school entrance exam if it lets you get a medical license to go treat sick people in poor urban areas. Consequences are not sufficient justification for ethical errors...

Maybe you did say something out of frustration that you didn’t intend to say, at least not in a public forum so easily disseminated around the web. In fact, I think your best play here might be to embrace this, to gather up any remaining benefit of the doubt among your followers, and to say that is was a mistake. Say it often, say it loud. Here’s the problem, P-dawg. You can’t say this, and dilute it with any of the other statements. You can’t say “I made a mistake, but is was a good mistake.” You can’t say, “I made a mistake, and I was misinterpreted by the liberal media.”

This is your line. Stick to is. Take every interview, speak to every reporter, and say this, and only this, every single time.

“I was wrong. I was wrong morally, biblically, and politically. Whatever differences we may have with Chavez’s leadership in Venezuela, assassination of political leaders is never a justified response. I apologize to Chavez, to the State Department for making their position more difficult, to the Evangelical church that the public erroneously assumes I am a spokesman for, and to the American people, for perpetuating the global perception of an American Evangelical Imperial junta. Please forgive me for my grievous error.”

Pat, this is what those of us in the industry call a “Real Apology.”

Here’s the thing that public personalities can’t seem to understand; it works. It works in a way that half apologies, qualified withdrawals, and public stonewalling don’t. Admitting error regains some credibility. Refusing to deliver a real apology crumbles any remaining public trust that you may have engendered.

Pat, do it for our sake. Do it for those of us who have to disassociate ourselves from you before we can do kingdom work. Do it for the children. Do it for the sake of that guy whose name you wear, and whose reputation you impact every time you get on the TV screen. Do it, because I can only think of one reason why you wouldn’t:
Pride.

Love, Michael"
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