God TV hit the headlines in the UK today after a late night tweet from England striker, Wayne Rooney. All he said was “@godtv I’m watching and feel you. Much love,” but it was enough to get journalists working overtime particularly as his team had just lost a game and the media observed he must have turned to God for comfort.
Online headlines included: “Wayne Rooney tweets at God TV at 2am following defeat to Stoke City… Is he praying for a Manchester United victory?” – The Independent; “Wayne Rooney tunes in to Plymouth-based God TV after Manchester United defeat” – The Plymouth Herald; and”Looking for divine intervention, Wayne? Man United striker Rooney watches GOD TV hours after shock defeat by Stoke” – The Daily Mail.
There was also a flurry of comments from sports media on Twitter, characteristic of the UK media’s obsession with using puns. For example “Match of the Pray? Wayne Rooney tunes in to @GODTV after Manchester United defeat. “
Other Christian media also picked up on the tweet. Premier Radio tweeted: “Hi @WayneRooney, you might like GODTV but have you considering trying @PremierRadio? We broadcast inspirational music and teaching 24/7!” Testify Newspaper carried an article asking whether “the man of goals” had become a “man of God” (again the play on words.)
Individual believers also took to Twitter to support Rooney – “@heidibradshaw88 @WayneRooney There is NOTHING to be ashamed of, in acknowledging you watch @GODTV!”
Wayne Rooney’s tweet was removed after the footballer received negative comments about his team’s performance, but the media coverage will stay online. He is to be commended for watching Christian television, and whether one tweet is sufficiently newsworthy to command headlines is a matter for debate. What this does show is the power of the commercial media and it’s readiness to dismiss God and belittle those who take Christian media seriously. However Christian media is making an impact whether they like it or not, and sometimes even in the lives of celebrity viewers.