NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Young Christians are needed in the mainstream media to counter the liberal and intensely secular views of most journalists, said Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard and host of “The Beltway Boys” on the Fox News Channel.
Barnes, a well-known Washington writer and Fox News commentator, delivered a stinging rebuke of the media during the keynote address at the Baptist Press Excellence in Journalism banquet Sept. 29 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
“The mainstream media loathe a display of patriotism and an expression of faith,” Barnes said. “Particularly the Christian faith. That’s why you see so little of it among the media.
“There have been polls that have showed that over the last 20 years the media are intensely secular and socially very liberal,” Barnes said to a crowd of more than 160 student journalists and guests. “I would add that the Washington press corps are arrogant, disrespectful and exuding the notion they are better and smarter than the rest of us.”
Citing a poll conducted by Orlando editorial writer Peter Brown, Barnes told the audience that the media’s liberal bias isn’t isolated.
“It wasn’t just in the East,” he said. “It was all over the country. They insist on a kind of political correctness that sometimes reaches really laughable extremes.”
Barnes illustrated his point by explaining CNN’s decision not to use the word “terrorist” to describe the 19 men who hijacked airplanes on Sept. 11 and rammed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in western Pennsylvania.
“A CNN spokesperson said they would call them alleged hijackers because they have not been convicted in a court of law,” Barnes said. “I don’t think they are going to be since they are all dead. But we can’t call them terrorists.
“At ABC,” Barnes continued, “They banned the wearing of [American flag pins] because ABC said it would be divisive and it would show that their reporters are endorsing a cause. My thought was that it was not endorsing a cause, it was supporting your country.
“You are needed in the media,” Barnes told the young journalists. “Christians are needed in the mainstream media not because there are great evangelistic opportunities — there obviously are. But that’s not the real reason. The real reason is that you need to bring to the television networks, the news channels, the wire services and the major newspapers all around the country a Christian worldview.
“They need the sense of hope and optimism that most journalists don’t have,” he said. “Most of them are caught up with seeking to find bad news. We need people who understand the moral dimensions of life, and so many don’t.”
Barnes also discussed the faith and values of President Bush.
“Bush was the least likely guy to be president,” Barnes said. The future president’s life 15 years ago was unimpressive. He drank too much until he woke one day with a hangover and said, “Never again.”
Then he walked on a beach with Billy Graham at the family’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and was asked, “Are you right with God?” That question changed Bush’s life, Barnes said. It was a simply worded question, but one that is now impacting the world.
In 1994 Bush ran for governor of Texas against the wildly popular Ann Richards, and somehow won. In 2000’s national election he lost the popular vote but won in the Electoral College.
“It makes you think someone was guiding him the whole time,” Barnes said of George W. Bush. “Bush talks in moral and spiritual terms on waging this war on terrorism. He talks of evil and evildoers. We just haven’t had a president who made his faith up front and center, and making it a part of everything he does.”
America and the world have changed since the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, Barnes said, but Bush has been changed the most.
“He has become things he didn’t think he was,” Barnes said. “He emerged as a leader in total command. He defers no more [to leaders he brought in from his father’s administration]. He is clearly in charge.
“There’s a calm that has settled on George Bush,” Barnes continued. “Has President Bush been called by God to lead the nation at this particular time?”
The noose is being tightened around terrorists and those who harbor them, Barnes said.
“It’s only a matter of time until they capture [Osama] bin Laden,” the commentator said. “Then what?”
It will be a broad war that will remove governments, he said. “It will be a long and tough but winnable war.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BARNES AT BELMONT.