Tuesday, August 23, 2016

WHY IS PAT ROBERTSON STILL ON THE AIR? NOT WHAT HE SAYS, BUT WHY IS HE STILL ON THE AIR SAYING IT!? HOW RELIGIOUS TELEVISION IS MONOPOLIZING THE DIGITAL NETWORK MARKET AND PROMOTING MAINLY TO THE POOREST AND LOWLIEST OF THE POPULATION AND WHY/HOW THEY STILL GET AWAY WITH IT. (I'm gonna probably get in some trouble with this blogpost, aren't I?)

So, like every Olympics, I and everybody else, complain about how NBC’s coverage is, oh, what’s the word, um, incomplete, I guess. Sometimes it’s been terrible or barely adequate or mediocre, although it’s got its moments and high points and dammit, they’re trying. Basically, my complaints about the Olympics and other similar events really basically thread the same needle however, and it's this belief I have that, certain important culture, sociological, political even, certain important events are so important whether literally to the future of the free world, or at least, are or should be ingrained culturally into the culture landscape, that they should be widely and readily available to as many people as possible, and while it’s easy to say that the internet is surpassing that, television is still the best and most readily available tool out there to provide that, and it really pains when I observe that they’re not doing that. It’s the same complain that I had when I bitched about the NCAA Tournament Finals being on TBS instead of CBS this year, or hell, it’s the same complaint I made in the nineties when they canceled “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show”, “There shouldn’t be a world where Looney Tunes isn’t easily and readily available to everyone, it shouldn’t be relegated to cable television!” I said that, when I was like, I don’t know, 13, 14, however old I was when they canceled that, and now we have a generation of people who are all grown-up celebrating the twentieth anniversary of “Pokemon” by walking around with their phones, until hopefully, they get run over by somebody who was Pokemon Go-ing, while driving. (Yeah, still think I was wrong about letting Looney Tunes slip away from us, 'cause I sure as fuck don't!) So yeah, I don’t like how I have to go stream on Roku, or borrow my friend’s account so I can stream the Olympic basketball on Roku, or Olympic boxing, or wrestling, or whatever cool sport that I used to be able to watch when NBC seemed to air all the Olympic events, instead of the ones they choose to air on the main channel. And I think it’s still important now, maybe more than ever, ‘cause more people are without the easily accessible capabilities of the modern world, even in America than you think. There’s a reason why the Redbox machines are still around, but the Redbox streaming service, completely flopped, not only was there too much pliable competition, but the people who rent from Redbox aren’t the ones who stream on the internet. If they could do that, they wouldn’t be going to the Redbox in the first place.

So, here’s the thing, as somebody who, coincidentally, currently doesn’t have available my normal streaming services, ‘cause of, circumstances, I do pay closer attention to what’s being broadcasted to those who don't have all those extra services and what’s more readily available on the basic networks of television than others might, and while we’re probably a few years away from the Super Bowl going on ESPN, or the Oscars airing on ippv or some other obnoxiously moronic and stupid backwards choice in culture like that, what I actually look at and care about and more-often-than-not nowadays, worry about, is, “Well, if we aren’t inundated with these cultural and societal events and milestones and-eh, (Sigh) I don’t know, whatdoyacall-‘em, eh, these major significant moments that we so associate as apart of ourselves, as well as with television itself, then, what exactly is there now on the most basic of television anymore? Without cable or satellite, just a half-broken antenna and a converter box, what do you get to watch? Well, there is a lot more than there used to be with digital, but a great deal of the programming however, and this doesn’t get talked about enough, is religious programming.

Okay, I’m going into a touchy area here, so let me be clear, it’s not that I have any problems with religion or all denominations, okay I do, but I don’t actually object to it being on television, in theory. This isn't even a new phenomenon either, hell, at the very first Emmy awards, Milton Berle lost the Award for Most Outstanding TV Personality to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, so you know, it's as much apart of television and our broadcast history as everything, so even though I don’t get wasting time on Sunday mornings for some preacher or sermon, I would counterprogram that with, I don’t know, anything I can find really, perhaps an Educational/Informational program that actually was both of those things, and didn’t suck. (Seriously what kids wants to sit down every week and watch “Pet Rescue”, ugh. I already wrote a blog on the damn E/I logo, you can find that at the link below:

However, the fact that there are so many, and yes, there are many and they seem to be on all weekend even on some of the major local networks and affiliates, and in the case of who I’m going to talk about, his own broadcast network, but many of them are only available on these obscure digital channels that only air religious programs, and are, as far as I can tell only/mainly readily available to, well, the poorest of the poor, that’s-eh,-, yeah, that’s-um… (Sigh)

Okay, real talk now, and yeah, this’ll probably be the part where I piss off some of the religious folks who might be reading this, but here’s why I, and most of us nowadays, really hate religion, and it’s not because you guys don’t believe in science, or think religion is science, or whatever…- no, it’s really not that. It’s that, when you go back through the history of religion, not the stories in the Bible, the history of religions, what you realize is that, they are essentially nothing more than a body under which, a small group can have a certain amount of power over a wider group. You see, religions, used to essentially be governing bodies through most of history, in many places, they still are, and pretty much all religions act in this manner, as though they are a governing body. That’s why it’s such a huge fucking deal, when a bunch of old white landowners put it into law that government and religion are supposed to be separate; ‘cause until then, they weren't any other faux sort of separate governing body, was basically a pawn for the major leaders of whatever church was in charge, usually monarchs. And that’s still how religions work, the infrastructure of most religion is of a governing body, one that, in this modern world, in many ways, especially is essentially in competition with the government for control of, the populace. And whether or not you think there’s an imaginary all-knowing being in the sky or not, when you realize that, that’s really what religion’s about, it really begins to irk you the more you look into most religions histories, even and especially sometimes modern day ones, those post-U.S. Constitution ones like, Scientology and LDS come to mind in particular, even though they’re more cerebral than a typical religious governing structure, they’re still essentially a way of controlling others, and that’s why we don’t look to highly on those people who do nothing but preach they’re damn religions everywhere, and nothing else. Yeah, that’s not devotion, or believing, that’s brainwashing. And yeah, all religions are basically cults until they get popular and/or enough power and don’t, you know, off themselves with Kool-Aid or whatever, until they get recognized as a religion, from a respected governing body, so there’s that too, but yeah, there’s something disturbing about the idea that, religion, now that there’s competition, and you know, things like the Renaissance that happened that made us realize that, the church wasn’t the be-all and end-all of knowledge, so now many religions, really seek out and pick out the weakest and lowliest and most uneducated and poorest of people to “spread their word”, so, sorry if you guys got caught up in that, but…. (Shrugs) yeah, look most of the teaching and main lessons we’re supposed to learn from most religion, when they’re not perverted by people like this, they’re fine, decent rules to live by, but still, those that pervert those supposed words of the lord, (sigh) and especially those that then spread their perverted wisdom and guidance of the Lord and Savior to the masses, that’s who we’re talking about here. And yeah, in many ways, this is an extension of such practices, and that’s why this abundance of religious programming really for people who don't get CNN, while the people who do don't have that same option, it really bugs at me, pisses me off in many respects.

(Deep breath)

Anyway, again, if it’s just, airing a sermon once-a-week, or something, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, hypothetically. Religion has a place in this culture, and I don’t have a problem in general with it being represented on the airways, but that said, currently there's I don't know, 50 or so channels on my digital television, and at least 9 of them are devoted full-time to producing nothing but religious televangelism programming and that's not including another 3 or 4 that devote some time to it, like more than Sunday mornings to it, that's quite a bit. If that was the percentage of religious programming you got on your cable packages, trust me, you wouldn't buy it, and yet it's free? That’s where we come to, Pat Robertson….

You might be familiar somewhat with Pat Robertson as some old-ass dude who shows up on your Facebook wall occasionally where there's an article about how he's something unbelievably offensive and beyond stupid; I get that on my wall about once a week or so, (Thanks "Right-Wing Watch", I do not want your job) and doesn't actually garner that much impact and influence as he used to, and that's all true, and it would be really, really easy to just, find a bunch of examples about how all the absolutely stupid moronic shit he's said over the years and point to, hell, I'm sure I can just type, "Pat Robertson Saying Stupid Shit" on Youtube, and sure enough find somebody who's already put a few clips together. Ooh, Anderson Cooper did a good one, but let's see, oh this one has him agreeing with Jerry Falwell about the ACLU being responsible for 9/11, that'll work. 



Yeah, he's an easy target. I don't want to go after him for what he says, there's hundreds of others who do that, what I'm actually kinda curious about it, "Why is he still on the air"?! I mean, yeah, I know why he's still on the air, but seriously, why is he still on the air? Why does he still have a forum that goes out to numerous of these poorest people to vent the stupid shit he vents? In fact, these are broadcast television stations, you have a get a government license from the FCC to be on the air and follow certain rules and guidelines to remain a broadcast channel, why has he and all these others been consistently given one? How do they get away with this, other than, "1st Amendment, freedom of speech", yeah, that's the given, I grant you, but still, there's other ways to make this speech, without using the airwaves, that's a different thing altogether.

Well, that's the question I keep asking myself, and I don't really have a clear answer for why the FCC is so lenient on this, I've tried and really struggled to find one, in fact I've had multiple plans to do this blogpost before and I've abandoned them until now, 'cause I really could never find a good enough answer, and I still don't, but (Sigh), you know, this really needs to publicized and brought up more, so we're gonna try and investigate this the best we can, so let's start at the top. Once again, Pat Robertson, why is he still on television, why is he influential, why is he still influential, why is he still important?

For starters, he might not be, 'cause even though "The 700 Club" claims it's in syndication still, I can't find a station that still airs it, outside of Freeform, (I'll get to Freeform.) although I know as recently as a couple years ago, I could find him on Channel 17.1 in Vegas, which is, a station that,-, huh. Okay, huh. Hold on, I'm looking up, stuff on it now, and.... Huh.

(Long researching pause, sporadic typing)

I'll get to that in a second, but they did air "The 700 Club" as recently as 2010 here; I know this, 'cause skipping through the channels once, I happened to stumble into the middle of an investigatory piece about the Nevada Senate Campaign that year between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle, which at the time was the biggest Senate race in the country, between a highly-respected and knowledgeable and powerful moderate-to-Liberal Democrat in Harry Reid, and a diluted batshit crazy Tea Party Religious psychopath, Republican Sharron Angle and I paying particularly close attention to that race. Oddly the piece was actually fairly benign, although it certainly skated over the insanity of a woman who in the Legislature was so anti-anything the government did, they pressed started nicknaming the voting roll calls, "41-to-Angle", and got her start in politics by forcing a high school football team to not where black jerseys because "black is the color of evil", and no, I did not make that up, look it up. Anyway, Robertson made some comment praying and hoping Angle would win, but I remember it was channel 17 KEEN-TV or KTV here, so they used to air it, and before that, a couple local channels used to air "The 700 Club" in the mid mornings and afternoons until they got picked up by some national affiliates decades ago, um, hmm, that's strange. I'm trying to find KEEN-TV's television schedule and although they seem to air a bunch of religious programming now, wow this channel is shockingly hard to find online.

(Long pause)

Okay, this is weird, I'm having an incredibly difficult time, even finding the channel's website. It's Youtube page:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Keen17TV 

has, not added anything new in five years, Huh? That's peculiar, even for these places, hell, there's like new Roku channels for churches and preachers every week, why would they...-

(Checks television)

No, they're still active, still on the air at least, as atrociously annoying as they ever were. Hmm.

(Two minutes pause, delayed)

Okay, I found their wikipedia page finally, and it says that they're a CLASS A Television Station, that's a classification given out by the FCC with rules they have to follow, owned and operated by, huh, who's LeSEA?

(Searching)

Hmm.

(Searching)

Okay, LeSEA is one of one of the major Religious Broadcasting Networks in the country, but it also says that they still play "The 700 Club", but they also have shifted their focus on "The Harvest Show" one of "The 700 Club"'s competitors, somebody named Lester Sumrall, who's dead, and I'm not particularly familiar with, started it. He even predates Robertson's actions to some extent, but I seriously doubt their programming has reached 90% of the world's population, there's no way you can do that with eleven television stations, a satellite ministry, 3 FM radio stations, five shortwave stations and a magazine; that's some stretching-your-numbers bullshit there. 90% of the world population,- I doubt Coca-Cola has that kind of reach.

http://lesea.com/about-us/legacy/

Let me find the schedule, there's gotta be a website for the actual station, somewhere:

 http://keen.lesea.com/

(Grunts) Finally, well it looks like a LeSEA website, and it promotes "The Harvest Show" now. Let me check their schedule, where is it.

http://keen.lesea.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2015/09/keen-program-schedule-2.jpg

Okay, there's "The Harvest Show", right in the prime "The 700 Club" spot, right befor-.... you gotta be kidding me!?!?!

Jim Bakker, really, this sonofabitch fraud is still around?! (Sigh) Okay, this Wikipedia page is all really old, like probably out of date, 'cause this station is now a TBN channel, for the most part, oandthem and LeSEA have come together at some point, and anyway, this leads me to Jim Bakker, who I didn't think was still around, but oh well. Well, it circles me back to Pat Robertson either way, so okay, Robertson, the main architect of this formula.

Robertson was a son of a notoriously anti-Civil Rights Democratic Senator, back when the Democrats were Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond at their worst, and Pat was an ordained Southern Baptist minister, and in '61 he bought a local Portsmouth, Virginia television station, and founded CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and rebranded the station WYAH-TV. (It's-eh, supposed to sound like W-Yahweh, the name of the God, get it?) Mostly he aired religious programming throughout the day, with occasionally speckling in some reruns of public domain documentaries and some "secular programming" in between, which is basically how these stations still get away it, they basically play and replay a bunch of religious programming and sneak in one or two other things. For instance, going back to KEEN-TV, my local station that's under some scrutiny, you'll notice on their website, they're really big on promoting they're "Family Friendly Programming". What is they're "Family Friendly Programming"? It's reruns of "The Lone Ranger" and Roy Rogers. No, seriously, that's it's they air two episodes of both of those every weekday, that's they're big push. Look, I know these things have to be "Non-Profit" for some reason, but-eh, yeah, they literally air the least they can literally air, with no attempt to actually show, anything else, other than religious broadcasting, and most of that, is basically just sermons, or some asshole with a Bible talking to a camera for an hour or half-an-hour, however long they're on. (And if you have to go back to "The Lone Ranger" and "Roy Rogers" to find "family friendly", even for free to air, you've really got problems.)

Anyway, as you would've suspected, Robertson's station struggled financially, what a shock, so they held a telethon, and after suggesting that they only needed 700 people to donate ten dollars a month to keep the station open, at the last second he got the funding. That's where the title of "The 700 Club" comes from. For those unfamiliar, that's the television show that Robertson broadcasts on, it's been the central program under the CBN umbrella ever since. It promotes and advertises itself as one of the longest-running television programs in history, which is way more deceiving than it looks, 'cause Robertson's basically kept it on the air irrelevant of ratings forever. Anyway, the CBN is still around, and "The 700 Club" is still the centerpiece of the channel, which is mostly a cable channel, although it has a heavy online presence and if you have more of a tolerance to it's bullshit than me, than, you can see some of their programming here as well as some of their, "News" shows, There special report "Homosexuality: A Christian View" they seem to find particularly important, sigh.

http://www1.cbn.com/700club

Anyway, the show has evolved over the decades from a Variety show to eventually the news-ish program it is; it originally was hosted, (Slight pause) by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Yeah, I told you this would all come back.

Now, say what you want about Pat Robertson, most of it will be accurate, but something you actually can't call him is a fraud, and at least legally. Bakker is a fraud, and the legal system has said it too. Robertson fired Bakker in '72 over "philosophical differences" and he started TBN the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and he would ask and pray for donations from viewers hoping to build, some bizarre time shares or whatever it was. After a sex scandal, which led to the fraud scandal he was then imprisoned for five years for numerous counts of defrauding the public. Apparently he went back to being a televangelist, with TBN, after a few years off, and they've begun working with LeSEA among other, although all of these networks are basically intertwined with each other in order to, do nothing but preach to America.

Robertson, who still holds his annual telethons for CBN, for all I can tell, basically puts all his money into CBN, and in most other respects seems like a legit guy. He's a businessman, who is legitimately successful, and does have actual international influence, albeit limited, and after his disastrous Presidential run in '88, he removed himself from being as an active member of any church, so he's no longer a baptist preacher, his CBN is an international broadcast channel that's not limited anymore to local television stations and Roku, He also dived into cable television which had financial success called the CBN Satellite Service and later CBN Cable Network, but because religious programming is consider a public service, they weren't allowed to be a non-profit, so the channel was evolved into a for-profit channel, the CBN Family Channel, and then, become just "The Family Channel" before becoming "Fox Family Channel", and then, ABC Family, yes that channel, before becoming Freeform, it's latest incarnation, which Robertson, for all-intensive purposes doesn't have any real control over, other than the fact that, he still requires the channel to air "The 700 Club" three times a day. They definitely would rather not and they sure don't promote it like they do air it, but it's built into that network's long, confusing and arduous history and they can't seem to get rid of him, even though they badly want him to be off the air. They've been trying to rebrand themselves for decades now, from the channel that aired "The Waltons" all the time to the channel that has interesting if not great series involving complex modern families. But "The 700 Club" is Robertson's baby, and the flagship program of CBN, and other than online, or if  you actually subscribe to the cable channel, Freeform is where "The 700 Club" currently remains.

At least, CBN is a cable channel however. Most of these channels, they're primarily on basic television. But, that's the thing, why are we letting all these channels take over basic network programming air time? I don't get it. The same way I don't get why, NBC doesn't just add all their subchannels to digital, for the Olympics at least? Why have the other networks allowed them to overrun with the basic programming with all these religious channels and programming? Hell, why doesn't the FCC strengthen the standards, sure you could argue they're providing a public service, but 22 hours a day/7 Days a week, a bunch of random people proselytizing about religion? Yeah, I don't know any denomination of any religion that insists on pounding that much religion into us, certainly not any Christian denomination. That's the other weird thing, these televangelists, many times, don't speak for the actual religious denomination they're corrupting. If they did, you'd probably see the Pope on TV more often, but you don't, do you?

It's not like, the networks don't have the channels, or the ability to do that. Before NBCSN the channel was available to all on digital under the name, "Universal Sports" and many other networks also put correlated digital channels underneath their main channel, so why not just, put those more cable channels on digital? They already own them and are under their umbrella, especially since, cable's dying anyway, it's not like they're losing much? Or have some other independent channels created to take over these seemingly unlimited amount of extra digital channels we have, there's three channels currently I get, that are nothing but a sign telling people who to call if you want to buy time on the channel, we could've seen something else? Well, whatever money they think they'll lose rebranding their channels for a more open market, there's these other people coming in and swooping them, I don't even get it, if I was one of the major networks, I would've completely fought for as many viewers as possible, even if it's only temporarily and for the major events that only take over more than one channel for a little while, why not do that? I don't know, and I don't know how or why the FCC lets them get away with having legal Class A networks by meeting the most minimal amount of requirements and then have them promote mainly to the people with the least amount of modern technological advances, is even worse.

So, there's really plenty to blame for this, all around, but yeah, if there's still gonna be a market for them to overflow, I think it's time we start looking at it closely, and figure out exactly what we can do to mediate their influence.


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