TBN Sets The Record Straight Regarding L.A. Times Article

( [email protected] ) Sep 27, 2004 08:21 PM EDT

“A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times was full of inaccuracies, condescension and mischaracterizations about the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), its ministry and operations,” said TBN Spokesperson, Colby May.

“It also confirmed that the press at times refuses to understand, respect or appreciate religious issues, particularly Christian inspirational television. One has to wonder what it is these days regarding the elite press’ integrity. Over the past year it has collected quite a shameful, dishonest record: B Jayson Blair, a reporter who concocted stories for the New York Times; Jack Kelly at USA Today who did the same; Dan Rather and CBS using fraudulent documents seeking to damage President Bush; and the L.A. Times, which lost 10,000 subscribers for its partisan attacks on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Readers deserve better,” says May.

“The publication began work on its TBN article over three years ago. Last year, in its determined attack against TBN and founder Dr. Paul Crouch, it sent an unauthorized blanket e-mail to all employees at TBN’s web address, soliciting negative anonymous responses,” said May.

“TBN responded fully to all of the newspaper reporter’s inquiries. Yet after all that, the paper reported what TBN has always made public, that is, the salaries of Dr. and Mrs. Paul Crouch, as well as senior management. What the paper neglected to include is that the finance/business reporter for the L.A. Times, E. Scott Reckard, after an exhaustive review of TBN’s financial material and annual tax returns, commented that TBN ran a tight ship,” stated May.

According the Chronicle of Philanthropy, TBN’s executive salary is in the mid-range of compensation among the larger non-profit corporations in the country. TBN is among the 100 largest nonprofit organizations in America.

TBN explained on numerous occasions to the reporter covering the story that one of its fundamental spiritual and business principles is to be debt free to the fullest extent possible. Because the nature and demands of TBN’s growth create large capital and long-term contract cost demands, extensive cash reserves must be maintained. To illustrate the point, TBN explained that the FCC has mandated that every U.S. television station must construct a duplicate transmission capability on a digital channel.

“Such construction costs as well as the development of towers and transmission facilities requires millions of dollars in new capital investment for each of TBN’s twenty-two domestic stations. Similarly, the construction and acquisition of new stations throughout the world demand large capital outlays. TBN also explained to the reporter covering the story that it maintained thirty-three satellite delivery platforms worldwide. These multi-year contracts are very expensive, obligating TBN to tens of millions of dollars in payments. Proper planning for these types of costs obligates TBN to establish and maintain sufficient cash reserves. None of this balance or explanation found its way into the article. One cannot help but wonder why,” said TBN legal advisor, John Casoria.

“In addition, TBN also explained to the newspaper that one of the hard learned lessons for churches and charities nationwide following 9-11 is to create an endowment to insure sufficient funds to cover whatever catastrophes may arise. In this context, Trinity’s reserves represent less than a year’s operating expenses,” says Casoria.

TBN officials also state that the newspaper also could not resist once again mentioning a previous story which reported a false allegation that the 70-year-old Dr. Crouch had a homosexual liaison a few years ago. What was omitted, of course, was that the false accusations were manufactured by a convicted child molester and drug user as part of a wrongful termination claim. The claim remains false, no matter how often the story is repeated.

“Regarding the various real properties mentioned, all are owned by TBN, not Dr. and Mrs. Crouch, and they are used for multiple purposes, including program settings, and temporary housing for network guests, contractors and agents. In addition, such properties represent alternative investment vehicles that provide appreciably better returns then bank CDs, savings accounts, and bond funds, etc.,” Casoria clarified.

Similarly, TBN’s corporate aircraft is only utilized in the course of business. It is not unusual for Dr. Crouch, and employees traveling with him, to visit several different cities and stations over the course of a trip. The plane allows flexibility and effective time management, and avoids the impact of Dr. Crouch’s status as a public person,” said Casoria.

“As to the stories told by a disgruntled former employee (who hired an agent to try to sell her story to a TV or film producer) claiming that she used TBN credit cards to buy large amounts of alcohol, stocking a liquor cabinet, they are completely untrue. Ten years ago, this individual was part of Trinity’s housekeeping and maintenance staff. At that time, she went through a difficult divorce and child custody proceeding with her former husband, also an employee at TBN who remained on staff following her departure. She seemingly became enraged during that time, carrying a personal vendetta against Dr. and Mrs. Crouch and TBN ever since,” explains Casoria.

VP’s at the network further stated that Trinity Broadcasting Network operates publicly. It maintains a thorough review of its activities by means of the following procedures: 1) TBN's tax returns are made public; 2) Its IRS records are public, including the salary and compensation of its directors; 3) All of its FCC files and ownership reports are public; 4) Its state charitable registrations are public; 5) It undergoes annual financial and operational audits performed by several outside audit CPA firms; and 6) TBN is under constant review by the press. Trinity has more accountability and oversight than virtually any other organization, regardless of size. The fact is that L.A. Times’ business reporter, Scott Reckard, had it right: TBN runs a tight ship and an efficient organization.