In the winter of 2007-2008, when the economy began to sag and the Bush wars dragged on, simply watching the news became a horrific chore. Even Fox. At one point, to paraphrase John Cleese, it was enough to make one want to commit suicide in the most disgusting manner possible.
It’s too bad we didn’t have “Praying the News,” a new book from veteran CBN journalists. Just knowing that this book was written by Craig von Buseck and Wendy Griffith, from Christian Broadcasting Network, lets you in on the fact that their worldview alone is going to point to the proverbial silver lining. I think the world has had enough from the nihilistic journalism set.
What an amazing book. Not only do the authors offer practical suggestions that enable anyone in any setting to make a difference, they also offer a fresh perspective on media bias that you can’t get anywhere else. “Praying the News” is literally an answer to prayer for those of us who write and observe the culture.
Griffith is a senior reporter and anchor for CBN News, and von Buseck not only has a master’s degree in journalism (his “Church Watch” blog at CBN.com is terrific), but he is also an ordained minister.
In “Praying the News,” the authors have crafted an uncommon book. I love books about the media, but almost none of them discuss the religious element. Even allegedly “secular” journalists have a faith of sorts, such as socialism or Marxism. Their worldviews inform their views and they way they present the news.
Griffith (a veteran of a decade in secular media) and von Buseck bring a fresh perspective, such as the chapter on “Prayer for Believers in the News Business” (Chapter 9).
If Chris Matthews can get a tingle down the leg when listening to Barack Obama, it is time for Christian journalists to let everyone know what they believe in.
Frankly, I love what the authors say in Chapter 9: “Our mission at CBN is truly to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ; and we believe that we are doing that through our various TV shows, humanitarian efforts, Internet discipleship, evangelism outreaches and more – including the news. It’s very exciting to be a part of this dynamic ministry.”
And the practical value of praying before and after each broadcast is seen in the story of Griffith praying with a major media figure before a show. Prior to the prayer, he had seemed stressed; afterward, he was much more relaxed. Vignettes like this add to the wow factor for “Praying the News.”
Von Buseck relates a neat story that again illustrates the effectiveness of prayer. One day, leaving Union Station in Washington, D.C., with his kids, he saw fellow CBN prayer warrior Jay Comiskey praying with friends on a street corner. This was during the period when the Supreme Court was undergoing huge changes, with the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor and Chief Justice William Renquist’s struggle with cancer.
When Comiskey spotted von Buseck, he asked if he wanted to pray with him. They approached the doors of the Supreme Court building and did just that. You might be skeptical, but please note that in the wake of two Court openings, the “replacements” were solid conservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito!
Griffith offers insight into what it’s like to be a believing journalist on Capitol Hill. Incredibly, in her first assignment with CBN in 1998, she found herself covering the Senate vote on the heels of the Clinton impeachment.
Grieving for the nation, but determined to do her job (in her “very small closet” office) Griffith recounts the jabs from other, more seasoned reporters, who would mockingly ask, “What’s God saying about this?”
The story shows the contrast between journalists who have faith, and those who do not.
Von Buseck also relates fascinating story of a journalist friend who became born-again after leaving the media game. His insights into advocacy journalism, as practiced so much today, are quite revealing and riveting. In fact, the stories and insights the authors bring to this book make every page engaging. You will learn a great deal from “Praying the News,” and I’d also urge people to provide copies to young people, many of whom are opting for journalism careers. This book will be invaluable for them.
So in the end, though “secular” critics might skewer “Praying the News,” we are reminded that in a world sliding into immorality, it’s refreshing to find journalists of faith who want to help make the world better. The authors are accomplishing this every single day.
Journalism is the better for it.