In this April 2, 2018, file photo, Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network and son of CBN founder Pat Robertson, speaks during an interview at CBN headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. The conservative Christian TV network is entering the crowded world of 24-hour news broadcasting at a time when the mainstream news media are under increasing attack by President Trump and his supporters, many of them evangelicals. The Christian Broadcasting Network's news channel will provide a religious perspective that other channels lack, Gordon Robertson told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of the network's formal launch on Oct. 1. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Christian TV network enters world of 24-hour news

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Christian TV network is entering the crowded world of 24-hour news broadcasting at a time when the mainstream news media are under increasing attack by President Trump and some of his supporters, many of them evangelicals.

The Christian Broadcasting Network's news channel will provide a religious perspective that other channels lack, CEO Gordon Robertson told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of the network's formal launch Monday (Oct. 1).

The CBN News Channel, to air on local television stations in 15 U.S. cities, will produce original programming and commentary on everything from the power of prayer to Justin Bieber's faith and Christian persecution in the Middle East, Robertson said last week.

Robertson, son of evangelist Pat Robertson, said he wants the channel to bring people together. But it is making its debut in an increasingly fractured media landscape and divided nation. Trump sometimes uses evangelical outlets to reach supporters, while shunning other news outlets.

"Trump's modus operandi is not essentially to reach out to new audiences, but to create division and polarization to energize his base," said Mark Ward, an associate professor of communication at the University of Houston-Victoria, who writes about evangelical mass media.

"If that's your strategy and evangelicals are such a huge part of your base, why would you not use the media organs that are available?" Ward said.

Pat Robertson helped revolutionize religious TV through the Christian Broadcasting Network. He also ran for president in 1988 and worked to galvanize conservative Christians into a political force in the 1990s.

Last year, Trump told Pat Robertson on his show, "The 700 Club," that he has "a tremendous audience."

"You have people that I love, the evangelicals," Trump said.

David Brody, CBN's chief political analyst in Washington, also has interviewed the president as well as Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among others in the White House. Brody recently co-authored the book "The Faith of Donald J. Trump."

Critics have accused Brody and the elder Robertson of being less than objective.

"Brody has bragged about having unprecedented access to this White House, which makes sense because he's throwing them softballs," said Kyle Mantyla, a senior fellow for the liberal organization People for the American Way, which runs the Right Wing Watch project.

Gordon Robertson said critics are missing the point.

"What I think is missing is an opportunity for someone to come in and just tell their story from their point of view, not give it an angle, not try to be argumentative," he said. "I think we've been criticized for allowing people to speak. But from my point of view, we want that."

For the past two decades, CBN has produced shows and run them on the ABC Family channel, now known as Freeform, as well as CBN's own online platforms.

Many of those shows will run on the new channel, which is airing on the sub-channels that local stations started broadcasting after switching to a digital signal.

Among the shows included in the news channel's lineup are "Jerusalem Dateline," which will focus on Israel, and "Faith Nation," which is centered on politics. The channel also will provide programming about healthy living and entertainment, Gordon Robertson said.

Those profiled by CBN include Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail in 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The network also has been monitoring the story of Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor detained in Turkey on charges of espionage and terrorism-related crimes.

The battle over Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, fueled much of the channel's news shows last month during its soft launch in a handful of U.S. cities.

"We don't always sit here and say, 'Is there a Bible story that corresponds with this today?'" news director Rob Allman said during an interview last week at CBN's studios in Virginia Beach. CBN also has studios in Washington and Jerusalem.

CBN is launching the new channel in part to appeal to a growing number of viewers who cancel cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services and free broadcast TV.

The nonprofit channel's success will mostly depend on donations, not advertisements.

Most donors are older and like to watch TV.

"There's something that happens to people after the age of 50," Gordon Robertson said, "where they start thinking about legacy and they start thinking about eternity."

(Ben Finley writes for The Associated Press.)

Comments

  1. The Faux Snooze channel now has competition from the Faux Faith Channel, nice.

  2. Exactly! I wonder what the chances are that O’Reilly will show up on CBN.

  3. When faith degenerates into focused-grouped, profit-driven infotainment packaged as “news,” a few people get rich off the scheme, but in the end faith suffers, while going along for the ride thinking it will get something for free out of the deal. Nothing in life is ever free.

  4. “What I think is missing is an opportunity for someone to come in and just tell their story from their point of view, not give it an angle, not try to be argumentative,” he said. The problem with that on anything run by CBN is that only one angle or point of view will ever be invited or permitted. You will get to hear from Kim Davis, but you will never hear from the full half of Americans who would like to know why President Trump can sign his own tax cuts without anyone ever knowing how much they benefit the president and his family personally.

  5. Good move for CBN. This is a serious dose of sanity in today’s chaotic (and crazoid) media industry.

    May CBN have good ratings & success (and also dump CNN in the slimy garbage can where it belongs!!).

  6. Christians are insane. #VirginsDontGiveBirth

  7. Interestingly Robertson sold off most of his broadcasting assets to Disney. One of the most reviled media companies by Fundamentalists. ABC is a Disney asset.

    As part of the sales deal they had to allot a time slot for the “700 Club”. So the channel that gives us Harry Potter marathons and The Fosters, a show about a lesbian couple and a house full of children, also hosts one of the more vile “culture warriors”.

  8. You realize Robertson sold his broadcast assets to to one of the pillars of your “Gay Goliath”, right?

  9. Unless Robertson sells CBN News to someone else he is doomed to failure. RWNJ news services have over saturated the market.

    Those likely to want to watch it are unlikely to want a basic cable package. Lest they be exposed to satanic media like Spongebob Squarepants, Modern Family reruns or Giada at a Home.

  10. Pat Robertson has effectively & publicly opposed the homosexual movement for decades, way back when Gay Goliath was pretending that Legalized Gay Marriage was never on the agenda.

    Nobody can take away — or even water down — all the serious work he has done over the years on this issue. No h8, but no mess either.

    Often times I go to Walmart, I buy products from corporations who may be supporting Gay Goliath. Robertson and CBN did what they felt was necessary, ethical and within Biblical limits to keep moving forward.

  11. Yet he sold out to one of the first entertainment company to provide benefits to gay couples. One which features numerous gay friendly programs and is the antithesis of Robertson’s garbage. So much for professed values.

    When push comes to shove, the people you idolize couldn’t care less for your hateful agenda when it is important.

  12. Can Christianity full of false history and false theology be a reliable source of news?

  13. Democrats turn to Hollywood for messaging help. Published 11 June 2018 By DAVID SIDERS. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/11/democratic-campaign-messaging-hollywood-637364

    Harvey Weinstein and Democrats’ deals with Hollywood’s devils. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2017/10/05/harvey-weinstein-and-democrats-deals-with-hollywoods-devils/?utm_term=.a91b49487a79&noredirect=on

    The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced film producer is a character straight out of Philip Roth, playing out his revenge fantasies on the Goyim. By Mark Oppenheimer https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/246724/the-specifically-jewy-perviness-of-harvey-weinstein

    Who runs Hollywood? C’mon. December 19, 2008|JOEL STEIN http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/opinion/oe-stein19
    How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

  14. Really SLIM… being as tho o’reilly is a catholic!

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