By KATE JOHNSON
You may be familiar with the 700 Club, an almost daily newscast on ABC’s Freeform channel produced by the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN). At CBN, every breaking news headline that another news network like CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC would publish, is reported with Christian or religious-based spin.
On the CBN News website, under the CBN logo, it says in bold letters, “the Christian perspective.”
Many news outlets have sections for news in the United States and world news. CBN has sections for news in the United States, world news, and another section only for news in Israel.
CBN reports the major stories, but in very different ways than secular news organizations.
For the recent school shooting in Kentucky, like all major news networks, CBN posted a breaking news story about the incident in the traditional hard news format. Later on, CNN posted a follow-up story about a shooting victim who called her mother, whereas CBN posted a follow-up story about Kentucky students coming together for a prayer circle. MSNBC brought up the debate about gun control legislation and CBN highlighted that the shooter joined an atheist group.
This method of reporting and drawing in a particular audience by CBN fills a very specific niche.
It raises questions about accuracy and definite bias, but is this that different than the ways in which “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert caters to bleeding-heart liberals or FOX News caters to radical conservatives?
Those who visit a news media organization such as the CBN for their news are not looking for a neutral or unbiased prospective. They are looking to find out about the latest news both in the U.S. and worldwide reported to them from a Christian viewpoint with the emphasis on how faith is involved in the major stories of today.
Therefore, the CBN audience would be more interested in reading about the prayer circle in Kentucky, than the debate for gun control legislation. As someone who turns to CBN for the majority of my news, I can attest to this.
Perhaps focusing all coverage on faith may be seen as leaving out major parts of the story about the school shooting. Conversely, covering prayer circles and religious ties could be viewed as adding more depth.
CBN is the only major news network that fills the Christian audience niche. Its top headlines of last week include, “Pastor Pleads for Protection and Prayers as Syrian Town Endures Attack,” “Oscar-Nominated Film Tells True Story of Muslims Protecting Christians,” and “‘I Never Liked Holding Hands at Church Anyway:’ As Flu Deaths Rise, Churches Change their Rules.”