GetReligion

Don’t take the bait: What Pat Robertson said about Las Vegas isn’t really news

By Bobby Ross Jr. | GetReligion

A headline from The Onion, of all places, went viral Monday after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

In recent years, the “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” story has become a staple of the satirical newspaper.

When there’s a major tragedy, here’s another thing you can count on: Pat Robertson opening his mouth.

So yes, Robertson weighed in on Las Vegas. Was there any doubt that he would? But is there any possibility that what he said amounted to actual news?

Probably not, as a million (only slightly exaggerating) past GetReligion posts make clear.

“The key is that there are so many people within evangelicalism who are — for better and for worse — more interesting and influential than Robertson at this point in his career,” GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly wrote way back in 2005. (That same year, Poynter.org published another excellent Mattingly piece on this subject, titled “Excommunicating Pat Robertson.”)

The good news is this: My Google news search found very few mainstream news organizations jumping on the latest Robertson quotes. But the Huffington Post — which still does some straight news reporting — was among them.

Read the full column.

• • •

All of my GetReligion columns (October 2017):

• Please don’t take the bait: What Pat Robertson said about Las Vegas isn’t really news. Published Oct. 3.

• Three simple questions re: NPR’s story on women driving hundreds of miles to get abortions. Published Oct. 4.

• On second thought, were Pat Robertson’s comments on Las Vegas more newsworthy than we said? Published Oct. 5.

• Loved the headline, not a fan of the story: Associated Press reports on churches-turned-breweries. Published Oct. 6.

• This is why serious journalism is helpful when reporting on objections to immunizing a child. Published Oct. 9.

• Gospel of guns falls short: Something’s missing in paper’s exploration of faith, family and firearms. Published Oct. 10.

• Bravo! Washington Post religion writer delves masterfully into the faith of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Published Oct. 11.

• Boys will be boys and now girls will be Boy Scouts. Any holy ghosts in this ‘historic’ news? Published Oct. 12.

• The Amish population is booming: Could their religion have something to do with it? Published Oct. 17.

• Grab a tissue before reading this: A young Astros fan got a home run ball, and this is why it’s so special. Published Oct. 18.

• The most famous Mormons you’ve never heard of — or maybe I’m the only one not familiar with Studio C. Published Oct. 19.

• In Chicagoland, a tombstone for Catholic mom who ‘supported priest rapist victims’ sparks dispute. Published Oct. 23.

• Gay rights, religious liberty and the tasty details sometimes buried in an inverted-pyramid wire story. Published Oct. 24.

• You like that! ESPN gets religion (a little bit) on Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. Published Oct. 25.

• Is Catholic doctrine allowed at a Catholic university? That’s the pressing question at Georgetown. Published Oct. 26.

• Indiana court rules sex offenders can go to church with children: What questions does this raise? Published Oct. 27.

• How about this religion angle? Jail nurse accused of trying to exorcize an inmate. Published Oct. 30.

• #Reformation500: Washington Post tackles the modern Protestant Reformation happening in Brazil. Published Oct. 31.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning journalist who has reported from all 50 states and 13 countries in his 28-year professional career.

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