an action alert from fair is what we will open with:
As a private, non-profit institution, the CPB is tasked by Congress to distribute funds to public broadcasters with a view toward balance. Although it was intended to shield public broadcasting from political influence, the CPB has long since become a mechanism for transmitting Congress' ideological desires to public broadcasters.
Tomlinson says the CPB is only trying to rectify liberal bias in public television-- a dubious role for an official tasked with shielding public broadcasters from prevailing political winds. But Tomlinson has presented little evidence of any pervasive left-wing bias in public broadcasting; infact, his only specific criticisms seem to be aimed at the program Now, which was, until recently, hosted by Bill Moyers.
Tomlinson was instrumental in the development and funding of the Journal Editorial Report, a program that features the Wall Street Journal's hard-right editorial board and was supposed to be a "balance" to Now (although unlike the Editorial Report, Now frequently had guests whose views differed from those of the show's producers). The CPB's ideological influence has grown as it has become increasingly staffed by White House-friendly board members and officials. In addition to Tomlinson, major Republican Party donors Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines were added to the board in 2003.
Earlier this year Ken Ferree, a former aide to FCC chair Michael Powell, was made both chief operating officer and interim president of the CPB.
where am i on pbs? i tend to agree with c.i. about pbs. there are many ways you can respond to an attack (and haven't we all learned a lot about attacks in the last week?). my response is to meet it head on. c.i.'s response is to let it roll down the back and try to take the high road as long as that's possible. but what pbs has done is nothing like either option.
they have repeatedly responded to attacks. hey, i'm all for response. but their response has been to cower and say 'we'll do more right wing programming!'
time and again, they don't take my approach and fight back publicly. they don't take c.i.'s approach and try to blow it off. they instead respond each time by going more and more right.
think about gays and lesbians and transgendereds for a moment. where are they on tv?
don't give me will & grace or that ellen has a talk show.
there are how many hetro couples on tv? fictional or real. (though let me tell you, as some 1 who worked in p.r. some of the 'real' are indeed fictional.)
or take african-americans. where are they on abc, nbc, and cbs?
people diahann carroll made news in the 60s by starring in her own sitcom.
the point is that for all the fretting and whining, tv has gotten whiter, straighter and entire groups in this country, people who are a part of this country too, are not represented on tv.
public television is supposed to represent those people. it is supposed to give voice to groups that would not be able to be heard otherwise.
and yet pbs cowers and freaks over a segment of arthur called 'postcards for buster.' if you've never seen it, it's a brief little segment, live action, that rounds out the cartoon. buster goes and visits some kids and meets their parents. so buster meeting a kid who had 2 mommies was just too much for pbs?
pbs could have pulled a me and said 'fuck you margaret spelling we're showing this episode and all our viewers we need your support on this! the right wing is attacking us nonstop.' or pbs could have pulled a c.i. and not commented on spelling at all but aired the program. instead, most stations killed it and the 1s that showed it tended to show it late night, not exactly a thriving hour for kiddie tv but i imagine there must be a few insomniac children who were pleased. they also publicly backed down all but falling to their knees and begging for forgiveness.
as the third estate sunday review pointed out early on when they interviewed a college student (straight, not that it matters) who had two mothers, that college student is an american too. his life experience, his family, is just as valid and just as important as any other americans.
pbs caved. as it has done repeatedly. so it's easy for me to understand why people feel like what is the point for fighting for pbs when they'll only turn around and stab the left in the back again?
we're supposed to drop everything and once again rally to the defense of pbs which each year gets more and more right wing and less and less real (forget left, they aren't even real).
there are serious issues to address.
and as many have noted, democracy now does more news and more reality on a tiny fraction of the budget that goes into pbs's newshour. so i mean, what if we took this energy and poured it into something useful like democracy now?
as common ills community member ruth pointed out on npr (not pbs) diane rehm did address the topic. i listend to the show via the link ruth provided. it was an objective and informative discussion and, sadly, about all we can expect from pbs or npr. that's not meant to blow off diane rehm. that is to note that she is a brave lioness of npr and 1 of the few who will have serious discussions. renee and steve on morning edition want to giggle and laugh and tell their little jokes in a manner that reminds me of the david hartman days of good morning america. now if bob edwards were still on npr instead of renee and steve (some sort of move to get the o.c. crowd, i'd guess), we could probably count on him to address the topic as well. but all we've got is diane. i mean thank the lord, buddah and anyone else for diane.
i'll take part in fair's action alert and i'll do it for 2 reasons. i support fair and i appreciate that diane rehm didn't cower like the rest of the pbs and npr crowd. hey terry gross, where are you?
seriously. do you tape your shows that far in advance that you can't address this topic? did the slap down from jeffrey dvorkin last year leave a scar?
yawn-fest cokie roberts, from ruth i've learned that although you act as the rona barrett of pbs, your actual title is 'political analyst.' are you going to leave the whispers and chatters and conventional wisdom safety zone long enough to offer an analysis of the politics of the attack on pbs and npr?
i doubt it. thank god for diane. for diane and for fair, i'll participate. if any of you don't want to, that's your business and i won't fault you for it. but, if like me, you're thankful that there is 1 brave voice left at npr, then consider doing it for diane.
if you listen to the show (go to ruth's post for the link), you'll hear this idiot call in with a thick southern accent claiming to like diane's show but she 'and that terry gross' are way, way left of him. diane handled the call with her usual professionalism and let him have his say. (no 'shut up!' screams a la o'lielly.) but the fact that he thinks diane or terry is a flaming lefty shows how badly npr and pbs have handled this from day 1. only by moving right could centerists trying to be objective be considered flaming lefties.
pbs and npr created their own mess. i'll help them out 1 more time because of diane rehm. if you feel like you can do it for diane, then please go to fair and participate. if you can't, i won't blame you.
pbs and npr are like women trapped in a bad, abusive marriage that keep showing up at your home after midnight bloodied and bruised. you take them in, you offer them a place to stay. then you come home a few days later to find a note that says 'i'm going back to him, i really think i can make it work because he's changed.' after awhile, you grow weary of opening your home to some 1 who refuses to change or take control of your life. you feel for the plight they are in but you realize you have to focus elsewhere.
but sometimes, a woman needs several attempts to finally leave. so maybe this is pbs and npr's wake up call? i doubt it. but diane rehm realizes what it is and she's addressed it on her show.
terry gross and the others will gladly go back saying 'just don't hit me so hard, pretty please.' there may be no hope for them. but for diane, i will support fair in their action. if you can't, i understand.