Monday, May 02, 2005

Same Old Story

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell, writer

This article in the New York Times is frightening and very disturbing.

The Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is aggressively pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias, prompting some public broadcasting leaders - including the chief executive of PBS - to object that his actions pose a threat to editorial independence.

Without the knowledge of his board, the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, contracted last year with an outside consultant to keep track of the guests' political leanings on one program, "Now With Bill Moyers."

In late March, on the recommendation of administration officials, Mr. Tomlinson hired the director of the White House Office of Global Communications as a senior staff member, corporation officials said. While she was still on the White House staff, she helped draft guidelines governing the work of two ombudsmen whom the corporation recently appointed to review the content of public radio and television broadcasts.

Mr. Tomlinson also encouraged corporation and public broadcasting officials to broadcast "The Journal Editorial Report," whose host, Paul Gigot, is editor of the conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. And while a search firm has been retained to find a successor for Kathleen A. Cox, the corporation's president and chief executive, whose contract was not renewed last month, Mr. Tomlinson has made clear to the board that his choice is Patricia Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee who is now an assistant secretary of state.

Mr. Tomlinson said that he was striving for balance and had no desire to impose a political point of view on programming, explaining that his efforts are intended to help public broadcasting distinguish itself in a 500-channel universe and gain financial and political support.

"My goal here is to see programming that satisfies a broad constituency," he said, adding, "I'm not after removing shows or tampering internally with shows."

But he has repeatedly criticized public television programs as too liberal overall, and said in the interview, "I frankly feel at PBS headquarters there is a tone deafness to issues of tone and balance."

They never let up on their mission to control everything.


B2 said...

The idea is fine -- that responsible news and content organizations would try to present programming that presents varied reasonable points of view (market permitting). But whenever anyone tries to fix anything, it inevitably results in swinging the pendulum far too much in the other direction.

Is that cynical, or just skeptical?

bitchphd said...

God, PBS is already so far right in so many ways. It's pretty telling that he surveyed the guests for *one* show, conveniently ignoring things like Wall Street Week; the Nightly Business Report; the Journal Editorial Report; the MacLaughling Group...

Anyway, the point of journalism is not to represent "both sides." It's to represent the truth (which the Republicans have largely abandoned) and to have a critical relationship with government.

The Misanthrope said...

B phd, that is what so many people forget. The media is supposed to report the news without fear or favor and explain what really is happening.

The Iraq war was pure aggression on our part, this administration lied to get us there, and the media has been afraid to come right out and say that because they will be labeled with a liberal bias and kicked off the White House beat. Walter Cronkite would been drummed out regarding Vietnam, if the same media witch hunt was going on then.

Gas prices are going sky high and creating havoc with the economy in order to allow drilling to begin in environmentally fragile areas and to begin anew with nuclear power plants. All Bush wants is Congress to pass his energy plan which rewards the same people who advised Cheney in his energy committee meeting, whose names he refuses to make public, hmmm I wonder why. Yet what is reported are press releases from the White House and then press releases from the other side.