IFAS | Freedom Writer | September 1998 | empire.html

Pat Robertson's empire

Who runs the Christian Coalition? "I have in my own, quiet way, been setting the agenda for a long time." Pat Robertson, The New York Times Magazine, 8/9/98

Who does Pat Robertson support for President in 2000? A Republican, naturally. And it looks like it's Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft, who's been featured and promoted on Robertson's "700 Club" many times. Robertson and his wife Dede have contributed $10,000 to Ashcroft's PAC. On August 15, 1998, Robertson and Ashcroft appeared together at a Florida Christian Coalition "Faith and Family Gala" in Orlando.

In 1997, Pat Robertson sold his Family Channel to Rupert Murdoch for $1.9 billion. Now, with the exception of one program, the entire Family Channel schedule has been scrapped to make room for the new Fox Family Channel. Only Pat Robertson's "700 Club" will remain, a part of the deal when the televangelist sold the channel to Murdoch.

The objective is to produce programs that families can watch as a group, according to Fox Family executive vice president Maureen Smith, but according to the Focus on the Family's Pastor's Weekly Briefing, the new schedule does not reflect that strategy as much as it does the "Fox attitude."

For instance, instead of "Bonanza," viewers will get "Leo-Mania," an unauthorized look at Leonardo DeCaprio. "700 Club" viewers can also catch a Spice Girls concert.

Total revenue for the Christian Coalition in 1996 was $26,487,746. Before his departure as its executive director, Ralph Reed earned $196,213 annually.

Jeff Baran, executive director of the Christian Coalition of New York, is approaching ministers in the Empire State pitching for funds. He claims that in 1996, the Christian Coalition of New York distributed 2.6 million voter guides through a network of 2,400 churches. He hopes the number will increase significantly this year.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.