Scandals at the biggest Christian TV network

Christianity has a presence on television.  Unfortunately, its presence come from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), a forum that presents a schlocky and embarrassing version of Christianity, its programming consisting mostly of “prosperity gospel” preachers.  It’s interesting how such ventures are so often accompanied by overt corruption and scandal.  From World Magazine:

A $50 million jet. Chauffeurs. Mansions in California and Florida. Clandestine affairs. Crimes and cover-up. Even a $100,000 motor home for the pet dog.

These are just a few of the allegations directed against the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and its directors in a pair of lawsuits filed in February by former employees of the nation’s largest Christian broadcasting network.

The first lawsuit, filed on Feb. 1 in U.S. District Court in California, contains charges by Brittany Koper, the former chief financial officer of TBN and the granddaughter of founders Paul and Janice Crouch. Her lawsuit is not against TBN but against Davert & Loe, one of TBN’s law firms. Koper’s suit says she discovered illegal activities when she became head of finance. Among the alleged activities: “the unlawful distribution of the TBN Companies’ charitable assets to Trinity Broadcasting’s directors,” some of whom are Crouch family members. The suit says “these unlawful financial transactions” exceed $50 million.

She took that information to Davert & Loe, seeking legal advice. The firm “acknowledged that the conduct in question was unlawful but nevertheless advised … Ms. Koper to perform and cover up such unlawful activities,” according to the lawsuit. The suit also says lawyers in the firm harassed her sexually. She seeks more than $500,000 in damages.

The other lawsuit is against Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, one of TBN’s corporate entities, as well as other TBN entities and Davert & Loe. Joseph McVeigh, Koper’s uncle, says TBN sued him in retaliation against Koper. A judge dismissed TBN’s claims against McVeigh, who now seeks legal fees and “punitive and exemplary damages.”

Both lawsuits paint a sordid picture of TBN, including allegations that Janice Crouch had an “affair with a staff member at the Holy Land Experience,” a TBN-owned amusement park in Florida. The suit also accuses Matthew Crouch, a TBN director and the son of Paul and Janice Crouch, of sexual and financial misconduct. Koper’s suit said that Matthew Crouch brought a gun to one meeting. He “began tapping the firearm … and asked Ms. Koper what she thought would happen [if] she wrote a memo to the board critical of Matthew Crouch’s financial improprieties.”

via WORLDmag.com | TBN again | Warren Cole Smith | Apr 07, 12.

Put a bird on it, but not a real bird

More Portlandia. . . .

This is more than a satire of artsiness.  It cuts to the human condition:   how we idealize nature while also loathing and fearing actual nature.

HT:  Joanna

The chicken’s name was Colin

Have you seen Portlandia, the TV sketch show that skewers today’s fashions and mores, as manifested in Portland, Oregon?

Nothing against locavores!  Or localism!  Or Portland!   It’s just the pose and the righteousness that begs for satire.  (And if you care so much for Colin, why are you going to eat him?)

HT:  Joanna

Liberal vs. Conservative television tastes

How do political beliefs relate to taste in TV shows?  A study has found some patterns:

In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems. While serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives.

Focusing on well-known cable and broadcast original entertainment series (rather than, say, sports, music, news, repeats), here’s who wins the 2011 prime-time primaries:

LIBERAL-DEMOCRAT FAVORITES:

– The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): As you might expect.

– 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation (NBC): Literate media-savvy comedies score high among Dems in general, notes Experian-Simmons senior marketing manager John Fetto. “Sarcastic humor is always a hook for them,” he adds.

– The View (ABC): Shows that skew female tend to do better among Dems, while male-friendly shows tend to do perform higher among Republicans.

– Glee (Fox)

– Modern Family (ABC): Last year, the progressive Glee and Modern Family scored surprisingly strong among both political leanings. Among conservatives this year, the shows still do fairly well, but have dropped out of their top ranks.

– It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

– Treme (HBO): GOP Kryptonite. Not only a Dem favorite, but so unpopular among Republicans that the report scores the show with a “*” because not enough conservatives in the study group had actually watched it.

– Cougar Town (ABC)

– The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS): Dems favor late-night programming, with one big exception that we’ll see below.

Also in the mix: The Soup (E!), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim), Raising Hope (Fox), Saturday Night Live (NBC), The Office (NBC), Project Runway (Lifetime), Shameless (Showtime), Parenthood (NBC), Conan (TBS).

CONSERVATIVE-REPUBLICAN FAVORITES:

– Swamp Loggers (Discovery) and Top Shot (History): Gritty documentary-style work-related reality shows on cable index really strongly with conservative Republicans. Swamp Loggers is particularly polarizing.

– The Bachelor (ABC): They also tend to gravitate toward broadcast reality competition shows.

– Castle (ABC): Ranks fairly high among Dems, too.

– Mythbusters (Discovery)

– Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Swamp People (History): If you’re a Republican candidate looking to raise money, put ads on History.

– The Middle (ABC): Does well among libs, too.

– The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC): “Did you hear about this? Yeah, this is true: Jay Leno is the late-night choice among conservatives… “

– The Biggest Loser (NBC)

– Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, The Mentalist (CBS): Popular crime dramas — except the left-wing Law & Order franchise — tend to draw a conservative crowd.

Also: Dancing With the Stars results show (ABC), Man vs. Wild (Discovery), Auction Kings (Discovery), Wheel of Fortune (syndi), Top Gear (BBC America).

via Republican vs. Democrat survey: Who watches the best TV shows? | Inside TV | EW.com.

What does this tell us about both liberals and conservatives?

Does this track with your tastes, one way or the other?  Are there other shows that would seem to exemplify a liberal or a conservative aesthetic?

Happy birthday, Star Trek

Thursday was the 45th anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek on NBC.

Are you or have you ever been a Trekkie?  Have you gotten a life, and if so, do you still like Star Trek? What is it about this series that we still talk about it 45 years later?

Which series is your favorite?  Can we agree that the original series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, et al. was by far the best?

45 Years Ago Today: Star Trek Debuted on NBC | Strange Herring.

American Idol finale

I have been sparing you this year my interest in American Idol, the popular talent show that causes the American public to exercise aesthetic judgments.  But now we are at the finale.  The last two standing are Scotty McCreary and Laure Alaina, 17 and 16 years old respectively.  They are both country singers, interestingly enough, and refreshingly free of attitude and vulgarity.   This season is being hailed as one of the best ever in terms of talent.  Simon Cowell is not on anymore, so the criticisms have been kinder and gentler, to put it mildly.  The replacements for Cowell and Paula Abdul, Steve Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, have been surprisingly likable.  They compete tonight, with the winner being announced on Wednesday.

I think some of you must follow the show, despite the snide remarks I have endured in previous years (“Dr. Veith!  You are the highbrow culture critic!  How can you watch this dreck?”), so I address only you fellow-travelers:  What do you think of the show this season?  What were the highlights?  Has justice been done?  Who deserves to win?