The coronavirus pandemic may have hastened the long-overdue marginalizing of some of the most deplorable of the deplorables. Last month, for example, Alex Jones lost his last mainstream platform when Google nuked the InfoWars Android app. This came after Jones disputed the need for social distancing to combat coronavirus, and suggested that natural methods existed to treat the disease.
Another deplorable may be on the verge of joining him: televangelist preacher Jim Bakker. You may recall that he touted a colloidal silver solution as a treatment for coronavirus. In the past few weeks, he’s lost the ability to take credit card payments and may be on the verge of being effectively pushed off television.
In the space of a few days in March, the state attorneys general of New York and Missouri, as well as the federal FDA and FTC, told Bakker in no uncertain terms to stop billing his “Silver Sol” as a coronavirus cure. Missouri’s attorney general, Eric Schmitt, even filed a civil suit against him. Schmitt’s move was critical, as it knocked the bottom out of any attempt on Bakker’s part to claim the deep state was ganging up on him. It would be one thing if it were just New York’s Letitia James, as well as the FDA and FTC, coming after him. But Schmitt is a no-questions-asked conservative.
In the face of the worst pressure and press he’d received since his salad days in the 1980s, Bakker quietly pulled Silver Sol. He subsequently announced it would not return. But while in one breath saying that he wanted to avoid the appearance of evil, he also claimed his hand was forced by spiritual warfare.
Apparently that hasn’t been enough to keep the wolves away from Bakker’s door. Last week, Bakker wailed that his credit card processing company has dropped him, and as a result he won’t be able to take plastic for awhile. This is probably because Schmitt is still pursuing his civil suit against him in Missouri state court to make him think twice about peddling snake oil again. He claimed that this was because “somebody told a lie about us” billing Silver Sol as a cure for coronavirus. and for now any donations and purchases at his store have to be made the old-fashioned way—by check.
Um, Jim? It’s on tape.
This week, Bakker’s pleas have grown increasingly desperate. He now claims that he may be on the brink of filing bankruptcy. Given Bakker’s past, this should be taken with a grain of salt. But Bakker really is in trouble on another front. Last week, according to the Springfield News-Leader, DirecTV pressed seven channels that carry Bakker to “carefully review” his show in order to make sure it meets DirecTV standards.
This came after Faithful America started a petition urging DirecTV and Dish Network to drop Bakker. It also urged Roku to delete Bakker’s “PTL TV Network” channel from its platform. Last week, one of those channels, World Harvest Television, decided to unload him.
As I note at RDTDaily, this could potentially be a lethal blow to Bakker. He draws the bulk of his audience from satellite. If he loses that, then at best he becomes no different from Jones. At worst, it could literally drive him out of business.
At least three channels that carry Bakker have a weak spot that can easily be exploited. Christian Television Network, Daystar and GEB also own over-the-air television stations. If they don’t have the good sense to drop Bakker, license challenges are definitely in order.
If Bakker is indeed on life support, it’s long overdue. Remember, he would be spending the rest of his life in prison if the judge at his 1991 trial, “Maximum Bob” Potter, hadn’t gotten one of the most infamous cases of diarrhea of the mouth in the history of American jurisprudence. Now it looks like the bill is coming due, and Bakker is on the verge of being relegated to the margins where he long since belonged.