Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. Fox News Watch and “the subject we’re not talking about today.” From TV Newser: Saturday’s “Fox News Watch” steered clear of one of last week’s major media stories — News Corp. shutting down UK tabloid News of the World as a result of a hacking scandal. Or did they? On the show’s website, Fox News posts “Behind the Breaks” videos of the panel chatting during commercial breaks. In the first break, the panel — including Judith Miller, Cal Thomas and James Pinkerton — can be heard chatting about “the subject we’re not talking about today.” Thomas asked his colleagues if anyone is willing to bring up the scandal. “Sure,” Pinkerton answered jokingly. “Go ahead, Cal.” As the panel laughs, Thomas responds, “I’m not going to touch it.”

Comment: Fox News, of course, is owned by News Corporation which also owned News of the World.  No matter how you slice it, a journalistic enterprise that purports to be about even-handed journalism should not have ignored this story.  In fact, by covering it (which the network did to at least some degree earlier in the week) the network actually adds to its credibility. By attempting to sweep it under the rug, particularly on a show like News Watch, the network forfeits valuable cred and gives fuel to its harshest critics. Bad call.

2.  Network TV audiences growing older. From Media Life Magazine: We’re still two months away from the start of the new TV season, but one thing seems inevitable this fall: The broadcast networks will once again see their median ages rise. This longtime trend has been exacerbated by the fact that more and more young people are watching their broadcast shows via alternatives means, such as on-demand or online video, rather than on traditional television. Meanwhile their parents continue to age, which has sent median ages for the networks soaring, according to a new report from Horizon Media that wraps up the 2010-’11 broadcast season.
Comment: Of course, the median age of America is rising too.

3. Steven Spielberg brings Tintin to big screen. The classic Belgian comic book character (a sort of kid Indiana Jones) hits theaters in 3-D on December 23rd.

4. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck heads west. From USA Today: (H)e’s loading up the truck and relocating his family to Dallas, where his media company is building a new television and radio studio, reports AP.

5.  Today is the 25th anniversary of the shooting of NYPD officer Steven McDonald. By forgiving his assailant and going on to talk about what he has learned about life since the incident, he is a living example of positive faith in action.

P.S. I used to produce Gus Lloyd’s morning radio show for SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel. On that show we had a segment called Everyday Heroes featuring stories of ordinary people who became extraordinary heroes. Steven McDonald was one of them.  His story continues to move me as an amazing example of the power of faith, love and forgiveness. Here’s a video of an interview he did with Fr. Benedict Groeschel for EWTN. The actual conversation begins at about 04:20.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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