Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 08/12/22

Bream job. Fox News Channel has named Shannon Bream as permanent host of Fox News Sunday. Bream, who will officially take the chair on September 11th, will be the 26-year-old program’s third host (following the late Tony Snow and Chris Wallace who is now at CNN) and its first woman anchor. She will also continue as the network’s chief legal correspondent. As for Fox News @ Night, the program she currently helms each week night following the red-hot Gutfeld!, a rotation of journalists will sit in until a permanent replacement is named. IMHO: Kevin Corke, a true professional and regular contributor to the program, would be an excellent choice for the role.

In making the announcement, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott declared “Shannon is an outstanding journalist, reporter and anchor who has cultivated a strong and enduring relationship with the FOX News Media audience.”

Bream added “It has been an honor to cover major news throughout Washington over the last 15 years at FOX News. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to host a Sunday show and look forward to this new role.”

Fox News Sunday airs Sunday mornings on the Fox Broadcast Network with encore presentations running later in the day on Fox News. Notably, each time Bream has guest-hosted the program over the last several months she has out-delivered the 2021 average of the show by 20%. A January edition she hosted marked the show’s highest rating of 2022, netting double digit increase – up 32% in total viewers (1.35 million) and 45% in the advertiser friendly 25-54 demo (343,000). In June, she ushered in week-to-week gains of 37% in the 25-54 demo, a 53% increase in the 18-49 demo along with 8% growth in total viewers. Bream also notched a 10% increase in the 25-54 demo compared to the same show last year and the FNC airings outpaced every single CNN and MSNBC Sunday program in total viewers.

Additionally, she is the of author of The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today (Fox News Books), which I interviewed her about. The book has has sold more than half a million copies and, according to Nielsen Bookscan, was 13th bestselling book in adult nonfiction in 2021 and spent 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list (five of them at number one). Her follow-up work,  Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak: Lessons on Faith from Nine Biblical Families, which I also interviewed her about, was likewise a number-one bestseller. Bream also hosts of the Livin’ the Bream podcast on Fox News Audio where she shares inspirational stories, personal anecdotes and an insider’s perspective on actions and rulings from the high court.

Before joining FNC, Bream worked as a weekend anchor for WRC-TV (NBC) in Washington, D.C. Previously, she anchored the evening and late-night news for WBTV (CBS) in Charlotte, NC and held writing and reporting positions at WFTS-TV (ABC) in Tampa, FL. Prior to her work as a journalist, she practiced corporate law specializing in race discrimination and sexual harassment cases. She is an honors graduate of the Florida State University College of Law and obtained her B.S. in Business Management magna cum laude from Liberty University.
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TV’s late night comedians were ecstatic (to put it politely) this week over the FBI raid of Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. This riff by Trevor Noah was fairly typical.

IMHO: I’ll wait till the facts come out before weighing in on the objective merits (or lack thereof) of the raid for now but I wish, as a society, we could agree to retire the misogynistic term “Karen.” Trevor goes there @ 8:13 when he labels Fox News host Laura Ingraham a “Super Karen” for having the audacity to challenge the Democratic Party/corporate media narrative. He has every right to challenge and mock her opinion. No problem there. He even has the right to use a sexist epithet to do so – but, truthfully, it doesn’t raise my opinion of him or his position.

The whole “Karen” as an insult thing was specifically designed to discourage women, specifically white women of a certain age (though no doubt an African American woman who got out of line could dismissively be termed a “black Karen”), from expressing opinions that cut against the grain. How did a common name (shared by women of all opinions) become a cultural pejorative? The phenomenon is explained in this article from TheConversation.com. Here’s a pertinent excerpt:

The first name Karen peaked in popularity in 1965, which means that in 2020, most people named Karen are middle aged. Because roughly 80% of the U.S. population was white in the 1960s, it’s safe to assume that the proportion of people named Karen in 2020 is predominantly white.

So that’s kind of a rough foundation for what the first name Karen might signal to people. But what about the way it evolved to mean much more than simply a first name relatively common among middle-aged white women?

It’s fine to disagree with anyone regarding their views on an issue or to call them out regarding their handling a particular situation that happens to go viral. But is it fair to purposely and maliciously sully the literal names of perfectly innocent people of a particular demographic just because you can? Would it be right to do it to someone who happened to be part of another group? I think the answer is clear. It’s wrong, it’s childish, it’s cheap and its mean. Let’s get back to debating and discussing issues without the, well, name calling.

Bill Maher weighs in on “fat acceptance.”

IMHO: I’m basically with Bill on this one. It’s great to acknowledge that it’s not desirable for everyone obsess about looking like a model (how boring that would be). But somewhere between unhealthy perfectionism and celebrating dangerous and unhealthy obesity lies balance. It is wrong and mean to shame someone for obesity (which may or may not be completely within their control) but that doesn’t make celebrating it fantastic and kind.

I actually just saw my doctor. Thank God my numbers are pretty good – though she did tell me that my good cholesterol reading is too low and that I should exercise more. She also suggested that I flatten the tummy. I didn’t storm out of her office crying about being body shamed. I thanked her for her the good advice which I at least intend to follow.

BTW, In response to Bill’s rhetorical question “Have you seen a fat 90-year-old?” In all honesty, I don’t think it’s body shaming to observe that 91-year-old  William Shatner certainly isn’t obese but he’s not exactly thin.

Flashback: When late night comedy shifted in tone from being a Big Tent to something a bit more partisan and nasty.

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

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

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