Robertson: Haitians Signed Up for Catastrophe

While other cable news programmers responded to the grim news out of Haiti by calling for emergency aid and furnishing directions for how to help, right-wing religious broadcaster Pat Robertson took to the air with commentary disparaging the earthquake victims in a way that could very possibly discourage needed aid to the stricken nation.

Robertson told viewers of his 700 Club (1/13/10) that Haiti has been visited by so much tragedy over the years because it had signed a deal with the Devil. As Robertson told his co-host, when Haiti was

under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever…they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, “We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.” True story. And so, the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.

Robertson’s audience reportedly runs into the millions, and many of them who might normally be willing to give support for disaster relief could take Robertson’s words to heart and close their purses rather than give aid to servants of the Devil. Unsurprisingly, Robertsonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s history is also wacky: The Haitian revolution, which embraced the principles of the enlightenment and the American Revolution, achieved victory in 1804 against Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon III would not even born until 1808.

We werenâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t expecting a treatise from Robertson about how Haiti, with the help of U.S.-backed tyrants, has become the one of the world’s poorest nations. But imagine how sick someone must be to respond to news of wide-scale death and destruction by saying, in effect, “Well, they got what they signed up for.” Unfortunately, we don’t have to imagine–we’ve got Pat Robertson.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.