“People warn that you’ve got to watch what you say on the air,” said Tom Basile, “because of the cancel culture. I’m not going for any of that. I’m going to put God first.”
Basile, news anchor and host of the weekly show America Right Now at Newsmax TV, is a faithful Catholic and a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, for which he serves as a board member for the Eastern Lieutenancy of the U.S. He has served in politics and public service, including an advisory role during the Bush Presidency, where he helped to plan the memorial service for the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts and the President’s 2002 meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. He was executive director of the New York State Republican Committee, and later he was a consultant to the Republican National Committee.
Basile has earned numerous awards; and in 2011, he was one of two American conservatives featured as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. His insights into the national political scene, public policy, and foreign affairs have earned him a reputation for credibility, candor, and common sense.
Basile spoke to me recently about how his Catholic faith informs his reporting. “Before coming here [to Newsmax TV],” he said,
I served in government at the local, state, and federal level. I’ve also run for office. And in New York, where I live, there was always this pressure to dial back what I knew was the truth about the sanctity of life. The Left in America is driving a lot of these things.
Then a couple of years ago, I came to the revelation that I was not serving God and creation if I was going to be governed, not by His word, but by these political forces that were pushing against my conscience. And so I’ve committed that regardless of what the platform is, it is very important to talk about religious freedom, the sanctity of life; and that’s not only the life of the unborn—but euthanasia, too, is starting to gain more and more acceptance.
“It’s been very freeing,” Basile said.
I try my best every time I go on the air to discuss the issues that I believe will reform this country. I think that in many respects, it starts with an acknowledgment that abortion is a human atrocity. That we have allowed 60 million people to be killed in the name of ‘women’s empowerment’ or ‘freedom’ is a perversion of both of those things.
It was important to Basile, when his show America Right Now first launched, to ensure that he could talk openly about faith and faith-related issues. He knew that many in the Left-wing press and in the political realm would like to strip any mention of faith and God from public discourse. In contrast, nearly every week, Basile’s show features a segment titled “Faith in America.” People from various faith backgrounds are invited onto the show to discuss pressing issues that they are facing.
Basile tries, he explained, to “look at America and judge how we handle some of our challenges as a country, through the lens of faith. I view what I do on air as not just a public service but a service to God’s kingdom on earth.”
It would be easy to become discouraged when looking at the world today. Tom Basile said,
As I travel around America, and as I talk to people from all walks of life, I can’t help but see that while we have access to information in this digital age, we don’t necessarily have the knowledge that is going to strengthen our country. We see that in the failure of our welfare complex. We see it in the carnage on the streets, despite trillions of dollars that have been spent on education and government assistance programs.
But Basile, a self-described optimist, believes that there are forces which may help to shift the pendulum toward Christian values. As an example, he cited the number of young Americans who are looking at the science when it comes to abortion, and who are truly pro-life. “The March for Life,” he noted, “is composed largely of young folks in their teens and 20s. So I am optimistic that there will be a recognition that secular society does not have the true prescriptions for a full and happy life.”
He was proud that Newsmax TV, unlike many secular outlets, covered the pro-life march without apology. “I am very blessed,” Basile said, “to work at probably the only major secular network where I can be as pro-life, as pro-faith, as pro-family as I want to be—and I never have to worry about getting a call from an executive saying, ‘You know what, you need to dial that back.’ Many of our anchors are openly pro-life.”
Newsmax TV also has reported regularly on religious freedom—which, Basile affirms, is our first freedom. “If you cannot worship God by whatever name you see fit,” insisted Basile, “you are not free.”
Basile is encouraged to see increasing support for private education. “Our society has gotten away from the notion that children should be raised with strong values and a strong work ethic, with the participation of two parents; that traditional expectation has just gone by the wayside.” But Basile is heartened, he said, “by the fact that there are so many folks in minority communities around the country who are embracing Catholic education. While the current President has not voiced his support, there is a growing bipartisan acknowledgment that school choice is important, especially for poor families.”
How can Americans successfully respond to the challenges brought by a secular culture? “We’re going to experience defeats,” Basile acknowledged,
And it’s sometimes going to be rough. But what did Christ say to the apostles? He said if you go into a town and they don’t accept you, don’t be bitter and combative and angry; shake the dust from your feet and move on. You’re going to have to show that kind of tenacity and discipline.
The first thing we can do is pray: Pray for strength to God the Father, pray for grace from God the Son, pray for courage and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. People sometimes leave out that prayer to the Holy Spirit, but there’s a reason we need that right now.
* * * *
Americans’ response to the faith-and family-friendly reporting by Basile and others at Newsmax TV has been overwhelmingly positive. Since the network launched in 2014 on DirecTV and Dish Network, it has quickly moved into the #4 slot in news, reaching more than 100 million households via cable and streaming services. The channel can also be viewed free of charge via the Internet (newsmaxtv.com) or on a phone app.
[Photo: Tom Basile with Pope Benedict XVI (provided by author)]