from A Jewish Voice for Peace
[An investigative report published by Common Dreams News Center reveals that the US government’s new Arabic language satellite TV news channel for Iraq is being produced at the studios of Grace Digital Media, which, by all appearances, is associated with a messianic Christian religious broadcaster called Grace News Network. (To supplement the article, I have included corporate identity information from the web pages of both Grace Digital Media and Grace Network News, which are indeed located in the same building.) The connection underscores the increasingly troubling influence of Christian Zionists in the Bush administration. Of course, a full-time U.S. government-run television station in Iraq is problematic under any circumstances. While the religious-fundamentalist ties may remain shadowy, Kenneth Tomlinson, the head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the US government agency in charge of the channel, is quite open about his goal. “Al-Jazeera should not go unanswered in the Middle East,” he said to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to a short article published last week at Europemedia.net (also included here). Quips the writer of the article, “Having bombed the offices of Al-Jazeera in both Afghanistan and Iraq – as well as those of rival Abu Dhabi television – and still the network doesn’t learn its lesson, the US seems now to be attempting a more softly, softly approach to counteracting the broadcast of objective news in the Middle East.” –H. Siegel (guest editor)]
Grace News By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
The U.S. government this week launched its Arabic language satellite TV news station for Muslim Iraq.
It is being produced in a studio — Grace Digital Media — controlled by fundamentalist Christians who are rabidly pro-Israel.
That’s Grace as in “by the Grace of God.”
Grace Digital Media is controlled by a fundamentalist Christian millionaire, Cheryl Reagan, who last year wrested control of Federal News Service, a transcription news service, from its former owner, Cortes Randell.
Randell says he met Reagan at a prayer meeting, brought her in as an investor in Federal News Service, and then she forced him out of his own company.
Grace Digital Media and Federal News Service are housed in a downtown Washington, D.C. office building, along with Grace News Network.
When you call the number for Grace News Network, you get a person answering “Grace Digital Media/Federal News Service.”
According to its web site, Grace News Network is “dedicated to transmitting the evidence of God’s presence in the world today.”
“Grace News Network will be reporting the current secular news, along with aggressive proclamations that will ‘change the news’ to reflect the Kingdom of God and its purposes,” GNN proclaims.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the U.S. government agency producing the television news broadcasts for Iraq, likes to say it is the BBC of the USA.
BBG runs Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, and Radio Sawa — Arabic language radio for the Middle East.
“Our mission is clear,” BBG’s Joan Mower told us. “To broadcast accurate and objective news about the United States and the world. We don’t do propaganda, leafleting — we are like the BBC in that respect.”
Well, then why hook up with Grace?
BBG’s Joan Mower said that Grace Digital Media is a mainstream production house used by all kinds of mainstream news organizations.
“Grace will have nothing to do with the editorial side of the news broadcast,” she said. “They are renting us equipment, space, studio. The Grace personnel we use include technicians, production people but no editorial people.”
But Mower said she couldn’t get us a copy of the contract between BBG and Grace Digital media. Nor could she say how Grace Digital was chosen as the production studio.
Grace News Network proclaims that it will be a “unique tool in the Lord’s ministry plan for the world.”
“Grace News Network provides networking links and portals to various ministries and news services that will be of benefit to every Christian believer and seeker of truth,” according to the company’s mission statement.
The CEO of Grace News Network is Thorne Auchter.
The same Thorne Auchter who began the dismantling of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under Presidents Reagan and George Bush I.
Auchter did not return our calls seeking comment for this story.
While it’s unclear whether Grace News Network actually produces any news, it has produced a documentary movie titled “Israel: Divine Destiny” which it showed at the National Press Club in September 2002.
The film is about “Israel’s destiny and the United States’ role in that destiny,” according to Grace News Network.
Grace News said that it could not make a copy of the film available to us at this time, since it is now undergoing post-production editing. Nor could it provide a transcript.
The mainstream media has documented strong and growing ties between right-wing Republican Christian fundamentalists and right-wing Sharonist Israeli expansionists.
This alliance is personified in Ralph Reed’s Stand Up for Israel, a group formed to “mobilize Christians and other people of faith to support the State of Israel.”
President Bush has very strong ties to fundamentalist Christians, most notably Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham.
Last week, Franklin Graham delivered a Good Friday message at the Pentagon, despite an uproar over his previous slander of Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion.”
Don Wagner, a professor of religion and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University, an evangelical Christian college in Chicago, has written extensively about what he calls Christian Zionism, whose leaders he identifies as, among others, Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, and Franklin Graham.
“Christian Zionists have historically pointed to Genesis 12:3 – I will bless those who bless you. And the one who curses you, I will curse,” Dr. Wagner said. “They have interpreted this to mean that individuals and nations who support the state of Israel will be blessed by God. It has come to mean political, economic, and moral support, often uncritically rendered to the state of Israel.”
Grace News Network seems to fit the mold.
Joan Mower says that BBG is currently producing and transmitting six hours of news into Iraq including a dubbed version of the daily evening news from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS, plus three hours of original news programming from BBG.
BBG says it sees no problem in having Grace produce the evening news broadcast for Iraq.
Given the brewing anti-American revolt through all sectors of Iraqi society, maybe it should reconsider.
We called Grace Digital Media to speak with Cheryl Reagan.
Her secretary told us that she has been away in extended vacation for more than a month — in Israel.
When will she back? we asked.
No one knows, the secretary said.
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, http://www.multinationalmonitor.org They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press; http://www.corporatepredators.org)
(E) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
Grace News Network
Grace News Network, headquartered in Washington D.C. a few blocks from the White House, is dedicated to transmitting the evidence of God’s presence in the world today. Through its expanding relationship with many organizations around the world, GNN gathers reports of signs, wonders and miracles and makes that information available to the world at large.
Grace News Network: Our Purpose
The purpose of Grace News Network is to proclaim the Good News about what God is doing today across the globe in signs and wonders and in addition, proclaiming the Rhema (prophetic) Word of the Lord. Grace News will be reporting the current secular news, along with aggressive proclamations that will “change the news” to reflect the Kingdom of God and His purposes. GNN will also train and equip the Saints with the necessary tools to sharpen their individual anointing and gifting.
Grace News Network will be a unique tool in the Lord’s ministry plan for the world. Grace News Network provides networking links and portals to various ministries and news services that will be of benefit to every Christian believer and seeker of truth. Our international community of reporters, missionaries, pastors and leaders work together, encouraging and assisting believers and seekers worldwide. Our service to the world community takes many forms, including an international prayer network, book publishing, musical recordings, seminars, teaching materials in print and audio form and Internet news and views.
Please check our web site in the near future as we build it with a firm foundation.
Grace News Network 1919 M Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20036 Ph: 202.419.6045 Fax: 202.419.6046 E-Mail Us! http://www.gracenewsnetwork.com/
About Grace Digital Media
At GRACE Digital Media (“Grace DM”), we have one focus – to transform your content into manageable, deliverable and more profitable assets, enabling you to reach all of your audiences, effectively and reliably.
We truly are a “one stop shop” with state of the art technology and a team of professionals with extensive experience in the industry.
Our single-source solutions enable our clients to produce, edit and deliver their content via satellite, fiber optics, web streaming or simply to tape or CD Rom. Saving time otherwise spent in having to manage multiple vendors and juggling multiple format requirements. We have the talent and technology to do whatever you need to do. Grace Digital Media’s experience in news production, entertainment, and sports is the foundation of our business.
GRACE Digital Media Production Services 1919 M Street NW | Washington, D.C. 20036 | 202.775.0894 c 2003 GRACE Digital Media. All rights reserved. Legal Policies
Pro-US Arabic-language news network to be launched in Middle East 18/04/2003 TV Meets the Web Editor: Leigh Phillips
Infuriated by al-Jazeera’s independent coverage of the US-led invasion of Iraq and its footage broadcast daily from Ramallah to Reikjavik of daisy-cuttered Baghdad markets and bullet-ridden buses, the US government is to compete with the notorious satellite news channel on its home pitch: Not so well hidden within the Bush administration’s published E68.5bn (US$74.7bn) supplemental appropriations request to pay for the war and homeland security is a E28m (US$30.5m) request for a new broadcast news network in the Middle East – the Middle East Television Network.
The money is to provide start-up costs for such a network, which will broadcast news and information with a pro-American spin in Arabic via satellite to televisions across the region.
It is also the second request for funding for the project in the last two months. Last month, President Bush’s international affairs budget included another E27.5m (US$30m) request for the network under its controlling authority, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which manages non-military international US broadcasting. The new funds will pay for remaining start-up costs and the network’s first year of operations.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the BBG’s chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson, described the venture as “the most important public-diplomacy initiative of our time.”
“Al-Jazeera should not go unanswered in the Middle East,” said Tomlinson.
Having bombed the offices of Al-Jazeera in both Afghanistan and Iraq – as well as those of rival Abu Dhabi television – and still the network doesn’t learn its lesson, the US seems now to be attempting a more softly, softly approach to counteracting the broadcast of objective news in the Middle East.
Jewish Peace News (JPN) is an edited news-clipping and commentary service provided by A Jewish Voice for Peace. JPN’s editors are Adam Gutride, Amichai Kronfeld, Rela Mazali, Sarah Anne Minkin, Judith Norman, Mitchell Plitnick, Lincoln Shlensky, and Alistair Welchman. The opinions expressed by the editors and presented in the articles sent to this list are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of A Jewish Voice for Peace.
A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a San Francisco Bay Area grassroots organization dedicated to the human, civil and economic rights of Jews, Palestinians, and all peoples in the Middle East.
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