EWTN starting nightly newscast in Washington

EWTN, the Catholic network that has become the world’s largest religious broadcaster, is staking out a presence in America’s political heartland by launching an evening newscast from Washington.

The live, half-hour show, scheduled to start in July, is a major step for the broadcaster, whose message is typically expressed through devotional talk shows, replays of Mass and religious education programming such as series on the Eucharist or the saints.

EWTN — the initials stand for Eternal Word Television Network — was started by Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation in a garage at her Alabama monastery in 1981.

Its programming now reaches more than 146 million homes in 127 countries and 16 territories on more than 5200 cable systems, wireless cable, direct broadcast satellite, low power television and individual satellite users.

By planting a stake in Washington — in an office space near Capitol Hill — EWTN hopes to raise its profile on issues where religion converges with public affairs: abortion, contraception, stem cell research, immigration, the death penalty, terrorism and repression of Christians abroad, according to a Washington Post report.

“It’s a deliberate choice to be in the midst of everything,” said Michael P. Warsaw, EWTN’s president and chief executive. “We hope it has an impact on policymakers and the inside-the-Beltway crowd.”

The Post reported that experts on media and Catholic affairs said EWTN would fill a void, because there is no other daily news TV progamme that is pitched to the estimated 75 million Catholics in the United States.

And while the network’s guests include a steady diet of those who represent the conservative wing of the church, EWTN does not stoke right-wing fury like a Fox News commentator.

“EWTN has a lot of people on its air, and they don’t all sing from the same songbook,” said John L. Allen Jr., a Vatican authority and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

The network is almost entirely funded by donations from a committed audience. Its pitch is: “Keep us between your gas and electric bill.”



Eternal Word Television Network (Wikipedia)

Image: The Catholic Company

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