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January 15th, 2010
06:33 AM ET

Avlon: Two veteran wingnuts resurface

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is a senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of the forthcoming "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

By John Avlon, Special to CNN

Filmmaker Oliver Stone and televangelist Pat Robertson.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone and televangelist Pat Robertson.

Two long-time luminaries of the wingnutsphere resurfaced this week: Pat Robertson on the right and Oliver Stone on the left.

Pat Robertson is no stranger to Biblical interpretations of massive disasters, but with the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he dove in yet again – saying that Haitians had made “a deal with the devil” long ago, implying that this led to the earthquake. Here’s the full quote:

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French...And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you get us free from the prince.” True story. And so the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” They kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor.”

The Reverend Robertson is a repeat offender in this regard.  After Hurricane Katrina, he said that the devastation was related to America’s abortion laws and after the attacks of September 11th, he and Jerry Falwell lay blame at the feet of the ACLU and People for the American Way.

In the interest of balance, it’s worth pointing out that Robertson’s charity Operation Blessing International has donated over 1 billion pounds of food and relief supplies over the past twenty years – and they have reported sending a million dollars worth of medication to Haiti.  But Robertson, sadly, wasn’t the only one to try to spin the still unfolding disaster in ugly ways.  Wingnut King Rush Limbaugh declared that President Obama would use the earthquake to boost his credibility with “the light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country.”

On the left, Oliver Stone is a great director in my book but he's also a world-class Wingnut.  Fresh off the heels of lionizing Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez with a documentary debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, this week he announced that Hitler needs to be seen a more balanced light.

“We can't judge people as only bad or good,” Stone told a conference of television critics this week.  “Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply. He's the product of a series of actions. It's cause and effect."

According to Stone, even Stalin sometimes gets an unfair rap.  These international monsters will presumably not be included in his upcoming Showtime series presenting an alternative (read left) history of America.

Wingnuts can’t resist callously projecting their politics on catastrophes both past and present.  Too often we wait for tragedies to unite us – but the devastation in Haiti should remind us of the wisdom that Wingnuts so often deny: what unites us is far greater than those things which divides us.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.


Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ruth dausener

    Melinda Warner, of Media Matters Action Network, went undercover to the Teabaggers convention in Tennessee. She is youngish and sociable, and gave the impression that she was interested in joining the movement. She did not interview or record, she just did what they did and kept notes of conversations and reported what she was told in her blog, onn 9 Feb . Every one should read that blog. What they told her on God: "Throughout history, Christians have always been on the right side. Slavery was ruined by non-Christians. The Christians who owned slaves treated them well." These are the people who intend to elect people just like them to govern us and represent us to all the world.

    February 15, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  2. annie kozlowski

    john. please look up the meaning of "wingnut". it refers to the political right. unless you inform you readers that you are redefining the word, you are being disingenuous, and i believe you know it. shame on you and cnn.

    February 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  3. Theo

    Let's see now. Birth control, rebar, and more responsibility could have averted this whole calamity...not to mention that dreadful "pact with the devil." Maybe Sherry and the right Reverend Pat Robertson can explain to us how that info will be transmitted to the Great Mover of Tectonic Plates.

    February 7, 2010 at 6:44 am |
  4. Sherry

    In many ways the people of Haiti have got what they deserve. They TOTALLY rely on outsiders for everything and do nothing for themselves except have more children. They have no real government, no birth control, no responsibility. All they do is say poor little us, give us more. If the Haitian people had stood up and said we want good government, they would have it and a good government would have had rebar in those buildings. All of these aid groups have simply created a never ending cycle of need.

    January 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  5. patricia

    There are people who still have not yet received any assistance. They are located in Carrefour mahottier 75. A lot of victims have died there. Please try to send out this message. They have no food or water. They have no way to get near to the palace. I was contacted today and they need help. Thank you and God bless

    January 18, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  6. JB

    Pat is a total idiot, these people are suffering, what is he going to say when a big quake hits the U.S.

    January 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  7. eliz wolfgang

    Stop listening to the devil's mouthpieces (Rush and Robertson and others).. All they want are headlines and a platform to spew their hatred and their "holier than thou" attitudes and you, as a people, listen to this rhetoric. This is what makes you weak.

    You let them place their thinking into your brain and you can't think for yourselves. If you do NOT use the "gray matter" and common sense that you were Bless with, then it will be taken away from you.

    If all you have going for you is the devils' mouthpieces then you have lost the most important part of your Being, your Soul.

    January 16, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  8. sara Baitch

    Why are these men given the additional, outside media coverage their narcissistic personalities so crave. The best thing our free society could do is leave them, along with the growing throng of their ilk, in a "cave" of media silence. With no one "mothering" them with attention they would be in Hell. Imagine the joy of it. They would never listen to one another as their babbling increases in speed and amplitude. It would sound as a purely Cageian, aleatoric hell. It would be the most amusing and improved production of Sartre's NO EXIT with the added benefit that even a non "elite" would finally understand the work of another wingnut who was a resistance fighting Vichy socializing fascist communist who saved the Jews he hated when it didn't serve him to be one.....(This is not a duplicate comment. I just wrote it.mins. ago. Pay attention.)

    January 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  9. sara Baitch

    Why are these men given the additional, outside media coverage their narcissistic personalities so crave. The best thing our free society could do is leave them, along with the growing throng of their ilk, in a "cave" of media silence. With no one "mothering" them with attention they would be in Hell. Imagine the joy of it. They would never listen to one another as their babbling increases in speed and amplitude. It would sound as a purely Cageian, aleatoric hell. It would be the most amusing and improved production of Sartre's NO EXIT with the added benefit that even a non "elite" would finally understand the work of another wingnut who was a resistance fighting Vichy socializing fascist communist who saved the Jews he hated when it didn't serve him to be one.....

    January 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  10. Valleri

    CNN is giving Pat Robertson what he wants... air time! The man is a nut case!

    January 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  11. Scott Hample

    Pat Robertson ought to make a pact with the devil; to help keep the reverend's mouth shut before making crazy statements.

    January 15, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  12. ronvan

    There are always those that "pray" on the suffering of others! What continues to amaze me is that there are so many "weak minded" that will beleive & follow these idiots. Are WE to beleive that Pat R. has the "inside word" from God himself? If you hear our "homeless" and others make comments like this we tend to "accept" the fact that they are mentally ill, yet guys like this get "treated" like they really know something!
    As for Stone it sounds to me like he needs some mental evaluation! And ANYTHING Rush says is worthless!

    January 15, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  13. BigD TRUTH CENTRE MN

    "Callously projecting Their Politics on Catastrophes," You're Too Kind John but Anyone Reading that Article Knows EXACTLY What You Mean.

    Pat is Pretty Intuitive; I'm sure that Robertson's Kind would Agree that These Terrorist Attacks on Our Soil Must Be Because of SLAVERY, Taking the Land of the INDIANS + Bombing VIETNAM + IRAQ With All those Civilian Lives SNUFFED OUT.

    Maybe all the Tobacco Grown in Virginia + the Money Made on Cigarettes Could Be Reconciled with Huge Donations to Virginia Beach Churches.

    Rush Limbaugh; Is it True that Rush Limbaugh was Going to Go to Haiti in Person to Help Out, Hands On + Personally Bring Some of His Hard Earned Cash + Hand It Over So Generously?

    There's a Place in Hell for All of Us, We Know That, But Some Folks are Really Cheering Today for Rush Limbaugh in Support of His "FAT SANCTIMONIOUS INFALLIBILITY."

    They are Willing to Give Him Praise Without Reservation If Rush FEEDS Them Enough Propaganda to Satisfy Their Hungering Souls that Need So Much Reconciliation for Hating People that are Actually Trying & Doing Some Good Like in the 3-H's; Haiti, Health Care & Hope!

    I Suppose It's Kind-of Hard to Feel Any pain Behind a Protective Oxy Shield Barrier. Certainly Well Protected Except Maybe In Hawaii Sometimes You Have to Go to a Hospital for Extra Help to Compliment Even 'His' Proven Protection.

    Island Hospitals are Great but Would Supporting Hospitals in Haiti With Financial Help Be Counted Worthy as a Thank You to Hospitals Everywhere Including Haiti.

    A "Rush Limbaugh New Wing" of a Hospital in Haiti Could Do So Much for the Haitian Needy, but Think What It Would Do For Rush Limbaugh!

    Do You Think it Might BREAK that HARDENED SELFISH HEART of a Man EXHIBITING DEEP EMOTIONAL TROUBLE Like RUSH LIMBAUGH Does on His Radio Shows + Speaking Engagements?

    Sometimes GOD can Work Best When the "Chickens have Come Home to Roost?" He Who Used that Phrase Last Year was "Wright" In Content" But "Not Right" in Party Affiliation, Right?

    Veangence is Mine Saith the LORD!

    January 15, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  14. Bill

    I guess wingnuts like these only exist in the first place because somebody/(bodies) listened to them at some point in time and rewarded their message.

    I suppose it is a twisted reflection and outgrowth of our nations prosperity that their are resources in such excess to permit their existence and success.

    In the big picture it is better to tolerate their dribble than to only survive.

    January 15, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  15. Paul

    Do crazy people know they're crazy? Apparently not. It just proves that religious nuts like Pat Robertson see the deaths of tens of thousands as a minor inconvenience when compared to their religious-political agenda.

    January 15, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  16. Roman, Butler, Pa

    Pat Robinson needs to repent and pray for forgiveness. Another false prophet who uses the teachings of Christ to gain power over men to destroy nations. He needs to beg for forgiveness, because the day he meets the Lord, God will have some stern words for him and others like him. His day is coming and he is not going to like what God has to say.

    January 15, 2010 at 7:38 am |