If you haven't yet realized that public broadcasting on NPR and PBS affiliates are part and parcel of the evil liberal agenda, it is quickly becoming apparent that public broadcasting is in fact liberal-driven, anti-Bush propoganda. Thank heavens for Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Bush-appointed chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who is out to rid public media of those odious newscasts, and replace them with aurally-pleasing classical performances by John Williams and Boston Pops.
All satire aside, the news has been awash recently with Tomlinson's crusade to ensure "balance" (David Horowitz, you are wanted at the podium) at NPR and PBS. Recently, he has ordered an independent investigation of Bill Moyer's "NOW" and has also appointed two ombudsmen, one liberal, one conservative, a decision that NPR's president, Kevin Klose, has condemned as showing "a fundamental misunderstanding of both journalism and the role of an ombudsman." As JFKennedy once said, where you stand depends on where you sit. Obviously NPR is going to fight for continued independence, as they well should, given the quality programming they have pumped out for years despite conservative saber-rattling. But there always exists a valid argument that bias exists--just look at the UK's BBC, which has in recent months made some incredibly stupid decisions to involve itself in the political process to "create" news documentaries. We know Tomlinson himself has biases--he has blocked NPR from entering the Berlin market, largest in Europe, and instead favors allowing the entirely unbiased Voice of America to fill that role.
But the Bush appointees are going beyond honest questioning to directly undermine public broadcasting's role as a comprehensive news presenter. NPR also found out second-hand last year that Tomlinson had sought to have an outside investigator look into NPR bias towards Arabs in Middle East coverage, as if NPR could not be trusted.
But, as the NYTimes reports today, the real outrage is in the latest directive from Tomlinson's body, which while it provides little actual money to NPR, helps funds programs created by affiliates. They seek to move funding from news, which has helped bolster the audience and reputation of public radio in recent years, and provide more music, which is absurd in an era where streaming music is available free online in all formats. Quality news, on the other hand, as Newsweek's horribly flawed Quran-burning story shows, is much rarer.
If you want shows like Weekend America, News and Notes, and Day to Day to continue qualifying for funding, and to avoid the censorious hand of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, please keep abreast of this issue, support public broadcasting, oh, and of course, talk to your representatives (knowing the people on this site, I think you all have your rep. on speed dial).
I think we in Oregon are quite hip to the public broadcasting movement, even if it isn't focused solely in our lovely state.