Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 02/10/23

Ripped from the headlines: “It is baloooooooon!” A line more memorable than anything President Biden said in his State of the Union address – or, basically, ever (maybe he can still plagiarize it). The classic F Troop clip is a reminder that, now more than ever, America needs the bold and decisive leadership of Chief Wild Eagle.

Unsurprising headline of the weak (from Mediaite): A Fox News official has told CNN that the network has lost hope for a pre-Super Bowl interview with President Joe Biden as their invitation has gone unanswered into the 11th hour. Biden and other presidents have traditionally granted a pre-game interview with the network broadcasting the Super Bowl, but this year, with Fox doing the honors, it looks like Biden is yanking the proverbial ball away from the kicker.
Update: Since publishing this item, it has come to my attention that Variety reported on this news first.
IMHO: The interview likely would have been conducted by Bret Baier, a tough-but-fair questioner who is about as close as TV journalism gets to the late great Tim Russert these days. Though Biden submitted to a dependably softball Q&A with NBC’s Lester Holt when that network carried the game last year, he and his team know he’s not up to any serious grilling by a serious journalist. It’s worth noting that President Obama sat down for a pre-game interview with Fox (conducted by Bill O’Reilly no less) during his tenure. Obama was up to the challenge. Biden simply isn’t. It’s signal after signal of a weak president when America seriously needs to convey strength.

Schoolhouse Woke. Speaking of old-timey family-friendly television, the medium sure has come a long way. In 50 years, we’ve gone from ABC‘s charming, educational and optimistic Schoolhouse Rock to Disney’s The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, an animated allegedly family series to which, IMHO, none of those Schoolhouse Rock adjectives apply. Watch and compare the videos below. Which presentation do you think is better for the development of healthy young minds equipped, regardless of skin color, to make a positive difference in the world? Encouraging anger, resentment and/or shame produces its own kind of emotional bondage. Maybe it’s Disney that should end up paying reparations to this generation of kids.

The video below may seem a bit hokey by today’s unfortunately jaded standard but it’s the message of true classic liberalism that actually resulted in progress for the world. We need to get back this kind of messaging and not be embarrassed by it.

Diversity done right. Finally, congratulations to UP Entertainment Founder and Chief Executive Officer Charles “Charley” Humbard as he receives the Visionary Award at tonight’s 30th Annual Movieguide Awards gala. The Visionary Award is given to a person who has made a positive impact on the entertainment industry and culture. Humbard’s UP Entertainment umbrella includes the UPtv and aspireTV cable networks, the UP Faith & Family and aspireTV Life streaming servces and the Spanish-language streamer Cine Romántico. All the channels aim at delivering quality uplifting, faith-filled programming to diverse audiences with stories that generally show people of different skin colors and backgrounds getting along as friends and neighbors. As Movieguide Publisher Ted Baehr puts it “UPtv content is inspirational, encouraging, and tells quality stories without sacrificing values.”

Responding to the accolade, Hubbard says “It is truly an honor to be receiving this award…From the beginning we recognized a need for uplifting and positive entertainment for viewers across America. Today, with five unique brands serving diverse audiences, we can truly say we are doing our part to uplift someone. Thank you to Movieguide for recognizing and championing the need to make and celebrate positive, uplifting programming in Hollywood.”

Prior to founding UP Entertainment, Humbard served as a senior executive at Discovery Networks where he was responsible for the development and launch of seven digital cable network brands. Additionally, he was a founding member of Discovery International Networks which launched the Discovery Channel Networks in 140 countries and creating operations facilities on three continents.

Humbard, the son of Rex Humbard who is considered to be America’s first television minister, began his career writing and recording music and performing on television for Rex Humbard Worldwide Ministries. All told he’s spent over 40 years in the media where continues to be a force for positivity.

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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