tv Marvin Olasky Reforming Journalism CSPAN January 26, 2020 11:00pm-12:00am EST
marvin is a prolific writer and accomplished editor we are proud to welcome him back to the heritage foundation where he is a former visiting fellow and somebody that is a close friend of our organization. he's the author of more than 25 books including his latest, reforming journalism, which he will discuss today. marvin's political journey is quite unique as he became an atheist and marxist in high school and went on to join the communist party in the early 1970s. he was at the university of michigan where he earned a phd anand have a had a spiritual awg and was baptized into the church in 1976. he became the founder of the presbyterian church in austin texas in 1992 he became a reporter for the yale daily news and the "boston globe."
his first book garnered significant attention and caught the eye of the bradley foundation. the one of his most well-known works as the tragedy of american compassion that transformed him into a leader in the christian conservative political thought movement. newt gingrich as speaker of the house do every member of the house at the time. it's also what inspired the phrase compassionate conservatism. marvin was instrumental in the success of the world journalism institute which he is now the dean and the institute seeks to recruit and train christian journalists and inject them into the mainstream media. we certainly do need that. he's the editor in chief of the multimedia news organization that reports from a christian worldview you can follow him on twitter at marvin olasky. refining journalism is the faith
filled history of journalism that includes tips on news writing and advice into the medium that are traditionally dominated by the left. as somebody that went to journalism school myself and spent time as a reporter in washington, i've enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it to you. we have copies for sale leave the auditorium in the lobby. now to tell us more about reforming journalism, i'd like to welcome marvin olasky. moscow thank you all for coming today. it's great to be at heritage where he spent the most productive research of my life in 1989 and 1990. who's literally blowing the dust off 19th century records and
research turned into the tragic passion. people say that it made a difference in the drive of welfare reform in the 1990s. i like to think that change helped several million people move into more productive work so i'm grateful to heritage for the contribution. arthur brooks the former head of aei once said he got barack obama is jaw dropped when he said i'm a conservative and care about helping the poor. with the various background back in the 1970s i thought it was pretty smart and had high sat scores and basically was a left-wing protester and so smart
i get one of the stupidest things anyone could do, i joined the communist party and then purely through god's grace i came out of it and in retrospect it was a beneficial experience for me, not assured for others but it made me realize how stupid i am and it's important for all of us to come to mind. other people considered smart but also considered stupid. i started wondering where i could go to find true wisdom and they became skeptical of the subjectivity. that brings me to today's subject. in september, the former trump a spoke in st. louis and said do you think it's been unpleasant and nasty to date, you haven't seen anything. the 2020 campaign will go down
as the most vitriolic and nastiest in history. it's simple. we win and sav went in and savee country. no, we do not. we do not win or save the country if we win by escalating anger on the left or right who wins by the sword will eventually die by it and a little history since this is what i study a lot. there is debate about that with all the resolutions i've studied, the resolution is the only one that did not become disastrous. and france and russia i became familiar and cambodia and other countries but it all started with ideas that quickly became idols and good happened here, probably not in the next decade, but it could happen. visited argentina last month.
that could have been here with countries like venezuela. the trail is part of the problems and if we keep escalating our cultural decay into data-driven natural bankruptcy we will need more people to go from here to sticks and stones. in 1986.bjectivity never wasens i joined the board of directors in 1990 and in 92 and i suspect he's excited because that is the way the
board of directors knew they could take me off the board and be more active than other types of mischief, but we had a time in the journalistic enterprises shrinking. it's easy to sit at our computers and air-conditioned offices and pontificate the world we've tried to emphasize time-consuming street-level reporting. we like being flies on the wall. it's fall into the rare circumstance is and there's so much opinion in journalism and very little reporting.
people listening, paying attention, describing, that's number one. number two, s no sugar. some of you are nonprofit officers were congressional swedes. i did some of that and i worked for five years of his grade education only and financially, but the task was to hand out sugar. see the statement that sometimes covered up the truth. sometimes people forget the divide between the journalism eventually going out and really trying to honestly report what's going on without doing it in a way that is designed to popularize and publicize particular groups or organizations or individuals.
sugar isn't very helpful either just because it switches and covers up the truth isn't good journalism. salt and taste and is also a preservative and that makes us unpopular in certain quarters. number three we try to avoid entangling the line. even when they scratch ours, yes i am i hope christian first conservative second, the world largely can be the same way that it's not part of the conservative movement. we are not part of the evangelical movement either. we can and do criticize other groups more than 23 years ago as a member of the evangelical press association, we learne let the epa code to
become the franchise. people who get paid creates clipped bates and the distant hope for further consumers. we do have news that we try to tell and that's also different from a lot of journalism these days. and number five we try to remember the theological reason. the sky isn't falling because god holds up the sky.
this here is the 75th year since we invented nuclear bombs and used two of them in japan. it's absolutely miraculous during the decades of cold war there were times we did come close. i'm not aware of any time in history that a massively affected new weapon hasn't been used for such a long time. how we ought to gaze upon their work in the weakness and all the rotten stuff that goes on but still amazingly we haven't had the disaster that i think anyone would have predicted that we would have had by now.
i look at the predictions back in the century and people were predicting that the nuclear bomb smuggled in and people even giving us better than 50% that we would have in this country in the next five or ten years. that hasn't happened and i guess we keep crying that it hasn't bt happened. keeping us from killing each other. you may know the truth something about bob dylan you going to have to serve somebody sometimes in a very implicitly and sometimes explicitly that it's not even the simplest story felt a degree of position when tiger
fighters fight fire with cheer for the firefighters, not the fire. when we have discoveries that help people fight cancer we are glad for the discoveries, we are not cheering for cancer. these days it is social cancer that some kind are not so sure if it is social cancer either. some journalists push back against what used to be called objectivity and some still argue the objective reporting that people increasingly understood
you decide which photos and sounds to keep or show or playback and the stories report overtime with two present and what to ignore. the director of reporting, what does that mean is it everything is a pain, not exactly. protagonist and antagonist featured stories that have these mission obstacles and the basic structure of the story is someone does something because, but, then potentially comes in. this leads to sometimes people throwing up their hands. if it doesn't work then it's all subject and this brings us to
point number seven in the world's mission statement we try to provide objective journalism that inspires. biblical objectivity. it's so different from the conventional object to the some people have a hard time getting their hands around it. the house swayed slightly when the wind hit but the builder of the house lived next-door and showed me who's pretty solid. he knew how the house was made because he had made it. journalists conventionally.
he gave us the bible which explains how the house was made and what it's made of. do i expect others to believe that, probably not unless god and presses that upon them the way that he impressed upon me all these years ago and hopefully he does that for millions of people. if anybody had seen the movie field of dreams some people cannot see the baseball players but they are still there, so what do we do. what's real and true and what's not.
it's a metaphor when we have the institute class there we sometimes take your student and 25 students at the time i was such a poor captain i was constantly running under bushes and trees and so forth but everybody ended up under the water at some point and one ended up in the middle saying let me out which we eventually did get a shorthand for us. we get together on a conference call every couple of weeks. who's going to be a protagonist, antagonist and so forth.
we use the rabid as a shorthand because people talk about six kinds of rapids. number one is gently down the stream anyone can do it. number six is going over a waterfall and unless you are a real expert, probably going to die. class one is where the bible takes an explicit position so it's easy to follow along. the story is we were not thinking adults a hero. i want to converse is taking a strong position where god takes one doesn't give me way. it's a clear position in class number two the bible takes an implicit vision. for example, parents over responsible for the education of virtual times a week i turns thp
with the bible-based schooling at home if the parents think that is best for their particular situation, but we don't think that they should pretend god doesn't exist. that's not natural to pretend he doesn't exist is taking a definite position. sdifferent position. so class number two we will take the position, but it may not be as strong. we will certainly acknowledge as we always do the alternatives, but there is something right and something wrong in us. class number three partisans on both sides so only careful study is to the conclusions. for example, one of the things we talked about showing concern for the unborn, the uneducated, the unemployed, the unfashionable. what's important isn't that we feel right whether we are helping or hurting. sensible people are made in god's image to be productive to a greater or lesser extent.
they encourage people not to work and are often harmful. as a percent of the union station asking for money to give or not to give. we still say there is a biblical teaching there is no clear biblical path we can bring to bear a significant historical experience and understanding of human nature. for example, we shouldn't trust the tyrant. we see teaching from the bible about being suspicious of those circumstances. so from my experience i learned
that personally. class size is no clear historical technological trail but there is some experience that leads us to the weary. i can choose one example because we are here off of capitol hill we should expect efficiency from the bureaucrac bureaucracies the something we learned from human nature that something is gained in the something is lost in the process and we shouldn't be surprised when we have big plans and projects into the turnout to be harmful rather than hopeful. it's like going over the waterfall rapids. for example the foreign-policy matters you different perspectivewe have differentpere might be similar to that before they became politicized a generation ago you would see that balance of subjectivity and
we will do that also we won't be different from that because we don't know. we try hard not to overuse or underused scripture. when i first became a christian in 1976, one of the first things i saw there was a group into whether there were good people based in the bible and one of the questions is should they give us relinquish the control of the panel can now get if you weren't against that you are on god's side and if you were against it and even then this is pretty silly there was no panama canal in the bible and it doesn't tell us what to do in situations like that.
we won't pretend to say we know what to do. classification in this way and we use it. it helps us to avoid over and using the bible which is a tendency among some conservatives were under using it which is a tendency among some theological liberals. we have the opportunity to get things right by trying to practice that christians are not immune to temptation and pressures that affect other journalists and that leads to my last point, number nine as a great theologian god saves sinners and that is important.
it's based on the idea christ's sacrifice, the heavens declare the glory of god proclaimed the sinfulness of man so biblical journalism and we try to do this again being very careful not to mischaracterize or at or abuse or think of them as forever enemies because this is the week of the march so, god saves sinners and we try to show this in reporting in the world and we have a podcast i would recommend to you all. we are starting some podcasts
right now and since world mentioned my podcast called effective compassion it's going on about 12 episodes and deals with the 1990s and so forth if you want to get a little bit of history, take a listen to that about 20 or 25 minutes each episode, but in the world and everything in it and you can listen to the podcast and then we also have just the wipro will send institute for people to age 30 or so. then the thing that i enormously enjoyed, i enjoyed being at the university of texas for all those years but when you see people for three hours a week and you don't really get to know the people in the classroom, so we've done it 11 times now and havwehave the courses we teach r
living room just ten people each time and a very intensive week thursday, friday, saturday from 830 in the morning until late at night and sunday people really do need a day of rest. it's been the best teaching experience of my life because you get to know the people in your house and so forth and a bunch of them become correspondents for the world and others become reporters but these are usually people in their 40s that are successful but are bored at that point and they just want to serve god in a different way. with that, i will ostentatiously
stop and listen to your questions or comments so thank you all very much. [applause] thank you so much and i encourage you to pick up a copy of the "-begin-double-quote e.. we are going to take questions. i have a couple i wanted to ask you and i want to pick up where you left off at the end specifically when it comes to the next generation. you have devoted yourself to this particular endeavor to make sure that they are better prepared and entered the world at the time when the institutions have reached significant historical lows and journalism is no exception to that. do you see that ever changing what is your message when you send people out into the world to do a better job in their own
career. >> you ask will this ever chan change. i'm hopeful, don't expect it, but i'm hopeful because we've had other situations where journalists trust in journalism is almost nonexistent. i will give you one example i've written on the journalism history. journalists back in the 16 hundreds and 17 hundreds basically their job description was to do public license for the king or the royal governor in the colonies. no one expected anything
truthful. it was public-relations. in the 1730s in new york there was a fellow named john peters edgar who decided to tell the truth and was in the dutch reformed church and learned about telling the truth but did say something different the next day so he started talking about william crosbie from new york who among other things store the sheep from various settlers, a fairly nasty guy and told the truth and of course was thrown into jail because he was breaking the law at that point, both customs and law at the point, the journalist's job was to show the truth. about eight months or so then there was a trial who proclaimed the jury should become what
later became a runaway jury regardless what the law said, hamilton talked about how in the bible they spoke truth to power and other people did the same. the jury became a runaway jury. they took their own liberty in their hands by saying not guilty and then when asked by the chief justice presiding they kept saying not guilty because if they gave a reason they would be in opposition of the law. that started to change the journalistic practices and there were none sued for libel. 40 years later you have an american revolution led by a journalist named samuel adams
and he had total trust because they saw him as someone who told the truth from the colonial period it started to change back when they were muckrakers. you've seen this roller coaster and i can't predict when it will come back and sprinkling salt rather than sugar i think that can happen. >> we will start in the back. please introduce yourself and any affiliates. >> i'm from the fund america's
studies and i wanted to get your opinion on what you think of undergraduate journalism schools and what advice you give to students that want to study journalism and also i'm just curious of publications out there are there any that you admire that you think you're doing a good job now. >> let me read the first question. some, pray for the nsa to me i love your podcast. it's the only thing i read and listen to and my response to that is there is a little bit of horror. i'm glad they like it but you should read some other things, too.
it's become so propagandistic in a mild way and now it is just over the top. the liberal publication is the only antic because it's coming from a different worldview of good reporters. i know some of them and they are good people even though we disagree on this. they knew it was coming from a christian perspective and they thought that was okay because i had been a reporter and i was on
the side of journalism reporte reporters. at that point the university of texas journalism school were old liberal reporters that always made an interesting but i enjoyed them and they tolerated me. it changed over the years so when i left in 2008 and relinquished my tenure a there s a good decision over the past several years by the time i left they were hard or soft marxist and new theory in a twist of
fattwisted waybut they didn't k journalists. there were still a couple that had been reporters he believed in writing what i recommend for journalism education is a christian places i know which isn't everyone's cup of tea. one night he represented in college has teaching by the washington bureau chief who you
admonition. we have the archconservative and differ from the movement and tend to be pro- immigration and pro- refugee. one of our brilliant young reporters has been covering this a lot and i think she gets wea weary. we just have to keep at it. i could go on a lot about the platform question. it's really hard by the way he stays publishing books.
flew in last night and coming from reagan airport you all have this experience. the same stuff there all the time, the washington monument, the capital and so forth. i grew up in boston spent so much time there that these days when i go back i feel like i'm going to see myself when i was 10-years-old and it's a weird station. familiar and weird at the same time this is a big anti-vietnam
something more and that is what they set up to serve the purpose thomas is still going after all these years and then we will start doing some videos. so yes, still there. when the world started out, it was losing money like crazy and the kids made of money and it worked out and now it is another way around. but we do have maybe one or two left. so that is a part of the enterprise to try to help kids develop a new set.
have. we have more money coming in from donations and subscriptions or advertising and things like that there are people that have graduated from the institute. there are people that would be moving at this model we have those from having to be entangled in alliance and having to follow with one particular person or small group of people are saying and that is our goal to have diversified giving but that means we have to show people in the community it is worth doing.
they do such a first-class. it's npr as opposed to a.m. or christian radio and such. certainly the daily signal has a model. they have the financial independence to the policy research and reporting. my question for you is you've been in long enough to see the changes in the distribution it plays a bigger significant role today. how have you been able to adapt
and grow in this time i when it seems many of these organizations are struggling. i'm thinking of coming to washington as a younger guy, i'm an old guy now, just behind the curve. yesterday i was talking with one of our people saying i looked at facebook and. we still have our facebook thing that isn't mostly what we do then they gave the name of a couple of other things into there was one i hadn't heard of. i still tend to like e-mail which is the way god made it as
opposed to anything else. a little e-mail phobia at this point. how have you covered the impeachment of william clinton and melvin each one of donald trump? >> that is an interesting question and the question of enormous interest to about 2,000 of their readers who sent me complaining letters. we set in 2016 that we considered both our current president and clinton unfit to
be president. also didn't seem to be a person in control of emotion which is useful to have as a leader. the other thing i'm surprised he has been as conservative as he has been. i didn't expect that either. so basically we said we have one cover with hillary clinton and the grim reaper. we had a smaller picture of the cover we have done 20 years before. we were not all hit by this because depending on the
definition of impeachment we hope he would do an honorable thing and resign from office. we figured since we did that we should try to apply the same standards to donald trump and he didn't show the character either. we lost some advertising system, everyone in the staff we all discussed this and have a wonderful publisher. i still feel at a micro level donald trump is unfit to be president.
on this decision-making process that is at a micro level. i haven't written about this, so still thinking it through. in my view trump remains unfit, but again there are some differences that we have for others as well as myself but overall he's doing a pretty decent job in a tough environment. so this leads me to a certain difficulty. we are not making any announcements regarding issue by
issue and it's probably about 50/50. in some ways to be nominated in chief, he's done a good job of that not only in the supreme court throughout the judicial system, said he has achieved a lot. some of the regulations is gotten rid of our one that deserved to be buried. so yes, we just want to continue reporting actions primarily, not just for, praising a lot of good actions he's had and whether they will make a general statement i am not quite sure. it is a tough situation. i'm certainly not, never was and
never am part of this because never is a long time. there is one leader that referred to donald trump as the best christian president ever. i disagree with that and also they say the worst president ever but i disagree because we've had enough of worst one. one of the things we have here in washington is a kind of majority state i am not giving a good answer you can see i'm staggering around here. what would you say? >> [inaudible]
>> [inaudible] as a magazine we need to be evenhanded. basically. i think that it is a mistake to call him the greatest christian president said ther it was a had decision and maybe not as part of the decision this time since the democratic party has been so far to the left. who they nominate its quite likely they can nominate a person that is unfit to be president and micro as well.
denominator in chief is an. life is full of trouble and it's part of realizing that this is a world that is a wonderful place that is full of sin and we have to try to block our way through without drowning. >> one final question and then marvin will stay &-and-sign books afterwards. my name is maggie and i work at the heritage. with social media, twitter, it seemed like everyone has become a journalist. do you see that as a boom --
>> [inaudible] >> you have three networks that are all pretty much the same. i initially was very glad and still am glad to see this diversity. it's wonderful from the comments not just as a reporter for publishing editor. the role is there's so much fake news out there and at least in the old days with the liberalism at least there was some check on putting out stuff that was absolutely totally untrue and that no longer exists because some people are no longer reporters but just people who
take other stuff and all sorts of lies get passed around like crazy. something lost and something gained. overall, i still like it, but there are problems and that's why we really try to stress that this is why i can enjoy reading the atlantic because i see them as reporters and trying to tell the truth and let the propagandist. >> thanks for sharing your wisdom and advice in journalism. a thoughtful book and your remarks today. we appreciate it and appreciate the leadership in the world if we thank you and hope you'll come back iyou willcome back in. please join me in thanking