Shine the Light of Truth
By Frank Wright, Ph.D., President & CEO
June 17, 2011
I am very pleased by the release last week of FCC staffer Steve Waldman’s much-anticipated “Future of Media” report. While NRB will be discussing this report in more detail in coming weeks, all Christian broadcasters should be delighted with two aspects of it. First, the report recognizes the opportunity to incentivize private media by adopting the idea that more flexibility should be given to non-commercial broadcasters – including religious broadcasters – to use the airwaves to support worthy non-profit causes. This is an issue that NRB has been advocating on Capitol Hill and with the FCC for many years; it’s about time that federal entities began realizing that it is a win-win for everyone.
The other significant milestone in the “Future of Media” report is what is noticeably absent: it does not call for implementation of the problematic localism principles that have, at times, been promoted by the FCC. In order for broadcasters’ freedom to be maintained, they must not be given the additional burden of complying with the dictates of local, subjective, and changeable “local governance” boards. The “Future of Media” report is a promising move in the right direction, therefore, and we applaud Mr. Waldman for his work on this issue.
There were also two noteworthy events this week related to Capitol Hill and the Executive branch. The first was CNN’s Republican Presidential candidate debate on Monday night, and the ensuing buzz about who’s up in the polls, who’s down, and who may already be heading out the door. The process of running for the nomination of any political party usually takes on a life of its own, and clearly, this year will be no exception. While NRB is non-partisan and does not take a position on any particular candidate in either party, we must watch the process carefully because it impacts the way business is done not only in the Capitol, but also among federal decision-makers at large. We will continue to keep you up-to-date on pertinent issues related to the election, particularly as they impact broadcasters.
This week’s other significant Hill event was, of course, yesterday’s resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). I find it ironic that, juxtaposed against the backdrop of media coverage of this Congressman’s political demise, one can turn on the television at any time of the day or night and find material that is just as outrageous. One historically mainstream cable entertainment channel has pushed the proverbial envelope further than ever this summer with a new show that casually featured nudity in its first episode. And children home from school can find offensive behavior and appalling visuals on any number of reality television shows broadcast during the day in the supposedly “family friendly” hours dictated by the Pacifica standard.
I suspect that, like me, you feel outraged when you see these things on television, just as the nation has been outraged watching the media circus surrounding this latest Member of Congress. Yet the sad truth is that many who sit in pews every Sunday just wince at, or at best, avert their eyes, to the increased sexualization of our culture. Do Christians just not care? I think the malaise exists because Believers have a profound sense of helplessness in the face of unremitting cultural decline. Representative Weiner’s behavior, while utterly deplorable, is a symptom of a widespread cancer that exists in the moral wasteland of our culture, resulting from the belief that man is basically good, combined with decades of teaching “tolerance” at all costs and the complete abandonment of moral absolutes. No one should be surprised when a government official behaves in a way that society already tolerates, and even lauds, in the entertainment arena. Just as no one should have been surprised this week, in the midst of this Congressional debacle, when some media outlets began to seriously discuss decriminalization of the same types of texting behavior among young pre-teens and teens so “the stigma doesn’t follow them through life.” I have a better idea. Let’s teach the nation’s young people right and wrong to begin with, hold them to a standard, and when necessary, allow them to learn the lesson that wrong behavior does, in fact, carry consequences. That’s the one good message that came from Rep. Weiner’s resignation yesterday.
That is an important message because, just as there are consequences for bad behavior, history is also rife with examples of individuals, wholly committed to Christ, who were willing to step out in faith and exact dramatic positive change in the culture of their day. And the Gospel message, which has historically played a central role in decreasing or eliminating social ills like slavery, prostitution, and child labor, is vital to such change. That’s why I am proud to stand alongside NRB’s many members who are advocating Truth, responsibility, and a return to personal holiness as they use the airwaves to promote the life-giving Gospel of Christ. May this week’s event on Capitol Hill simply serve to galvanize Believers around the nation to take a firm stand for Christlikeness, first in our personal attitudes and actions, then in our families and communities. No person is too small or too insignificant to impact the culture and shine the light of Christ in the darkness right around them. Today, be that person who stands for righteousness, and be amazed at what God will do.
The President's Column was prepared with the valuable research and writing assistance of Laurel A. MacLeod.
“Airtime for Dads Who Give Time”
By Arron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
In advance of Father’s Day, the Ad Council, the nation’s leading producer of public service advertisements since 1942, announced that it is launching a PSA campaign with the message, “The smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life. Take time to be a dad today.
The Ad Council’s announcement highlighted a U.S. Census Bureau estimate that about one out of every three American children live apart from their fathers, as well as research showing that children without a father’s presence are more likely than those with married parents to have educational, health, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The new Ad Council PSAs, which will air during time donated by media outlets, were developed in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and will direct fathers to the HHS “National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse” (fatherhood.gov) for more resources.
Fatherhood in America has been a particular focus for President Obama. In a recent article created exclusively for People magazine, President Obama wrote:
“[T]hrough my own experiences, and my continued efforts to be a better father, I have learned something over the years about what children need most from their parents. They need our time, measured not only in the number of hours we spend with them each day, but what we do with those hours. I've learned that children don't just need us physically present, but emotionally available – willing to listen and pay attention and participate in their daily lives. Children need structure, which includes learning the values of self-discipline and responsibility.”
The White House has announced several events to honor and support fathers this week around Father’s Day, including an event for military dads and their kids as part of the First Lady’s “Joining Forces” initiative. The HHS Department is also expected to announce additional resources for local fatherhood programs next week.
[“PSA’s nationwide urge fathers to ‘Take time to be a dad today’,” AdCouncil.org, June 14, 2011; Barack Obama, “Being the Father I Never Had,” People.com, June 8, 2011; “President Obama to Host Military Fathers for Screening of Cars 2,” June 15, 2011, WhiteHouse.gov.]
The Inside Story: Key Government Issues for Christian Communicators
>> “Airtime for Dads Who Give Time”
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