Des nouvelles de Dieu
"Grace News" by
Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman*
Un Groupe fondamentaliste chrétien en charge des émissions
américaines en arabe en Irak a fait documentaire sur "Le destin divin de
Dieu pour Israël, et le rôle des USA dans ce destin". Complètement
Source : www.zmag.org/weluser.htm
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).