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What’s gotten into CNN is anybody’s guess. CNN’s new soon-to-air program, “Parker-Spitzer,” features in tandem conservative journalist Kathleen Parker and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Yes, that Spitzer, the one who in 2008 resigned his position in disgrace in the wake of news stories regaling us about his visits to a prostitute, what he paid her, and possibly how he transported her across state lines for sex.

This is the Eliot Spitzer who opted out in order to avoid answering for a boatload of allegations of immoral and illegal behavior. And this is the man who opted out with his poor wife standing beside him in obvious emotional distress.

Another question might be what in the world is Kathleen Parker thinking? She’s a respected conservative columnist who, until now, was admired for her rational approach to politics and decision-making. Why she would stoop to this kind of gimmickry is perplexing. Having recently won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary she doesn’t need this program either to be heard or to be successful.

I’m not opposed to giving Spitzer a so-called second chance. But I haven’t read or heard any testimonials claiming he’s sorry, repentant, changed his ways, or is a better man for his self-generated ordeal. He didn’t make a “mistake,” as some claim. He made a serious error in moral judgment, repeatedly. Now, all we get is a man whose naughtiness has increased his celebrity factor. This seems to be what CNN is banking on more than on any claim of special journalistic or political chops.

Maybe CNN thinks tainted celebrity translates to ratings increases. But I doubt it. CNN isn’t traversing bold new ground. It’s jumping the shark.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

I’m weary of the coarse, crass, and crude levels to which much of our entertainment culture has stooped. It’s been a forty-year dive during my lifetime and doesn’t seem to have reached its depth.

Latest evidence, for me at least, is the new Investigation Discovery channel program, originally airing August 25, called “Who the [BLEEP] Did I Marry?” It didn’t encourage me to learn the program weighed-in with early Nielsen success, meaning millions of people watched it.

The show features marriages gone bad, really bad, when a spouse eventually discovers some horrible skeleton in his or her mate’s closet. In other words, a spouse has been living a lie. The titillating nature of the show focuses upon betrayal.

The program is investigatory in the tradition of crime and justice shows, and I suppose there may be some positive contribution in all this for someone somewhere. But beyond the uncouth name of the show what bothers me most is that this feels more like voyeurism than humanitarianism.

I’d say the same for most—not all—of the so-called “reality shows” popularized in the past 10 years. These scripted-“unscripted” shows provide viewers with a steady stream of unrealistic-“reality,” much of it celebrating rude, crude, and lewd behavior. They focus on people apparently desperate for money or their fifteen minutes of fame and the raunchier, more vulgar, over-sexed, or profane they can be the greater the viewership.

Reality programs create wanna-be celebrities, actually non-celebrities, what some call “nonebrities,” meaning "a pointless media figure who would love to rise up high enough to scrape on to the bottom end of the D-list.” Sounds harsh but the debased dialogue in a lot of these programs suggests the term is, sadly, not far off the mark.

To name a few such programs: E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” MTV’s “A Shot At Love With Tia Tequila,” featuring 16 straight male and 16 lesbian female contestants working to earn the ostensibly bi-sexual Tequila’s attention, E!’s “Kendra,” HBO’s “Hung,” featuring pimps and a male prostitute, Oxygen’s “The Bad Girls Club,” the various “Real Housewives” shows, and many more.

Of course entertainment flaks always say, “Don’t watch if you don’t like it.” And to a certain extent they’re correct. If people don’t watch it puts pressure on advertisers and producers and, sometimes, push a program off the air.

But there’s also the scores of commercials marketing these programs that all of us have to endure even if we don’t watch. And there’s the fact that producers of such programs sometimes air them no matter their financial results because the producers, directors, actors, et al involved in the show get professional accolades from industry peers for “pushing the envelope.” They’re given kudos for achieving a brave new entertainment world—which in essence means doing whatever they want, recorded in HD.

You really don’t have to be a prude to be weary of in-your-face dumbed-down culture. It just gets old, especially when you consider how much of the nobility of human culture is out there, available but neglected in mass entertainment.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

When Robert N. Bellah entitled his 1985 bestseller on American society Habits of the Heart the phrase entered the cultural lexicon of everyday conversation. We talk about "habits of the heart" in church, school, business, you name it. It's such a useful phrase, which is why I'm commandeering it now.

After more than fifteen years, this program today will be the last continuously aired “Making a Difference” program on WCSG. I say “continuously aired” because WCSG may hereafter periodically air “Making a Difference,” but this is the last one in sequence. So I’m using this space to tell you, our listeners, that one habit of my heart will always be good memories of the longtime opportunity God gave me to think with you about how biblical principles work in the marketplace.

Over the years I’ve heard from many listeners, some who disagreed or sought a clarification, but most who affirmed some thought I’d shared. I’ve received notes, letters, and phone calls—and I’ve answered scores of emails—from listeners representing the kaleidoscope of Christendom—men, women, and teenagers who moved me with their passion for truth. I’ve met countless listeners in churches, grocery stores, and multiple other places throughout West Michigan. They unfailingly made kind comments and I joked about them discovering I had a face made for radio.

I’m not bragging but grateful when I say that nothing I’ve done has produced more regular and positive feedback than “Making a Difference.” For some reason, this program struck a chord. I greatly appreciate this, for your comments encouraged me to keep writing and, now, to attempt to syndicate “Making a Difference” nationally. (More on this coming soon.)

So, dear WCSG listeners, thank you. May you always strive to make a difference by applying Christian values in everyday life. You will always be one of the habits of my heart.

 

© Dr. Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2008

Originally recorded June 19, 2008 as #551 on “Making a Difference."

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

 

Cornerstone University Radio completed its annual four-day Sharathon this week surpassing our funding goal for the first time since 9-11 with more than 5500 people making pledges:
Year Goal Pledges
2005       $1.1M           $909K
2006   $1.250M        $1.254M per final total announced on air

WaYfm and WCSG were nominated by Radio and Records magazine (the #1 trade publication for mainstream and Christian radio) for "Christian Radio Station of the Year" for small and medium markets respectively.  These are our first such nominations, though WCSG has been recognized as the "Focus on the Family Radio Station of the Year."

WaYfm was awarded "Christian Music Station of the Year" by Radio and Records for markets 101+. This award is determined by label executives and other stations. Congratulations to Station Manager Rich Anderson, Program Director Michael Couchman, and the entire WaYfm staff.

Mission Network News produced a broadcast called the "MNN International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church" which was aired on nearly 500 radio stations in the USA, Australia, South Africa and Belize. Organizations like Back to the Bible, Asia Access, Open Doors and Sat 7 were brought together by MNN, along with Discovery House Music, with featured speaker, Johan Candalin, Executive Director the World Evangelical Alliance, to focus on a time of prayer from all over the world.  This is the fifth such broadcast carrying the Cornerstone University name with it.  The broadcast is widely respected by mission agencies and broadcasters alike.

Please join me in thanking the Cornerstone University Radio staff and our radio listener-supporters, and please also join me in praising God for these blessings.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

Dr. Larry W. Poland is this year’s recipient of the Foundations of Faith Award given by Cornerstone University to those who have demonstrated significant leadership and service to the Lord. Since 1985, Dr. Poland has been the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Mastermedia International, a ministry to the top leadership of the film and television entertainment business in Hollywood and New York, the so-called “media elite,” many of whom would otherwise never meet, let alone get to know, a follower of Christ.

Dr. Poland’s ministry with these individuals “takes the long view.” He witnesses to them of the truth of Christ and Christianity by living a trustworthy life before them and being there when they are in spiritual need and looking for answers. Given the individuals involved, this spiritual seed-sowing process may literally take years to bear fruit.

Mastermedia International publishes a “national media prayer calendar” in which media leaders are listed and for whom Christians pray every day of the year. Characters on “The West Wing” television program mentioned this calendar in one episode, and media leaders have repeatedly responded with warmth to the discovery that Christians cared more about praying for them than attacking them.

Last year, Cornerstone University’s faculty approved a new Media Studies major, which will prepare students for careers in journalism, broadcasting, film, theatre, and other related fields using the Internet and new media technologies. This new program is being offered because it is currently in demand but also because it is a way of developing individuals who can lead and influence culture via the powerful impact of all forms of communications.

Dr. Poland is an outstanding Christian leader, one who Cornerstone University is pleased to honor. We trust God will use the university’s programs to produce the next generation of talented and spiritually committed servants to work in media.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

Cornerstone University is giving Howard Stern a nudge on Sirius Satellite Radio. The university’s radio ministry, Mission Network News, is now aired on Sirius 159 at 7:05 am and 9:00 am. So this new technology is no longer just a tool for the Devil but a tool for the Lord. It makes me smile.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.