Public broadcasting under attack

Brian Wagner

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.

A Battle Over Programming at National Public Radio

  • David (unverified)

    They've been attacking PBS for years. I remember soon after Newt took over in 1995 they launched an assault against them. Personally, I barely listen to much else besides PBS and KMHD (a public jazz station out of Clackamas CC). This is for two reasons. First, PBS just offers better programming. Second, they actually cover stories the rest of the MSM won't touch but are important. They always cover them in a balanced way as well. Listen to Talk of the Nation sometime and you'll see they always have one liberal and one conservaitve debating whatever issue.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Although NPR and PBS offer information and views seldom, if ever, heard in commercial media, their international coverage has always cowtowed to US government policy and they have become increasingly shy about slapping corporate wrists as corporate sponsorship has become a bigger share of their financing.

    Certainly public broadcasting is worth fighting for, but it would be a mistake to recognize its already compromised nature.

    For documentation, check out some of FAIR's writing on PBS

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    The last sentence of the previous post should read: "...not to recognize...."

  • allehseya (unverified)

    Thought I'd share my email from freepress on this topic (below):

    Dear Allehseya Hawk:

    In an historic speech on Sunday, legendary television journalist Bill Moyers blasted Kenneth Tomlinson of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB) for launching a partisan witch hunt at PBS and called for a series of town hall meetings across the country.

    "I simply never imagined that any CPB chairman, Democrat or Republican, would cross the line from resisting White House pressure to carrying it out for the White House," Moyers told a packed room at the National Conference for Media Reform. "And that's what Kenneth Tomlinson has been doing."

    You can now watch or listen to Moyers' entire speech on the Free Press Web site:

    An audio recording can be downloaded at:

    Or you can watch the video at:

    Transcript online (as soon as it's available) at

    In his first public statement since the controversy at PBS emerged, Moyers endorsed a call by media reform groups for a series of town hall meetings nationwide so that Americans can speak directly to station managers and policymakers about what they want and expect from public broadcasting.

    More than 50,000 Americans have already signed the Free Press petition calling on Kenneth Tomlinson to resign and demanding that the public be put back into PBS.

    Please add your name to the petition by clicking

    "That great mob that is democracy is rarely heard, and that's not just the fault of the current residents of the White House and Capitol," Moyers said. "There is a great chasm between those of us in the business and those who depend on TV and radio as their window to the world. We treat them too much like audiences and not enough like citizens. They are invited to look through the window, but too infrequently to participate and make public broadcasting public."

    Please support Bill Moyers, public broadcasting, quality journalism and democracy by signing the petition and passing along this message to everyone you know.


    Robert W. McChesney Free Press

    P.S. The conference was a rousing success. Visit for audio and video recordings of the sessions, new episodes of "Media Minutes" and news reports. New content is being added daily.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    One obvious example of how the people are at the window without a voice is the 100,000 protesters at the Reich National Convention. They were dismissed and referred to as Kerry Supporters. As though that should disenfranchise them. This arrogant attitude is being practiced rampantly and has no place in a democracy. It is indicative of how willfully ignorant those people are of opinions outside their party lines. They see no conflict whatsoever with dismantling NPR, probably that last bastion of anythign resembling a liberal media.

    To me liberal means tolerant and open minded. I liberal will showcase a debate one-on-one. The Reich showcases a debate two or three against one,and then refers to it as balanced...with a straigh face even! It's disgusting that an American can tolerate or support these deceptions.

  • David (unverified)

    I wholeheartedly agree. I would love to have an honest debate with a conservative about a number of topics. My motto on free speech has always been, as stated in the famous maxim, "Sir, I disagree with what you have said but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

  • Jammer (unverified)

    So righties want to dictate what's on NPR, and Fairness Doctrine lefties want a say in what's on the rest of radio.

    Well, apparently everybody’s on the same page in one respect: both sides think censorship is waaaay cool.

    I’d say that constitutes a consensus from which our imperious leaders can begin to collectively define society's "common good," mold a democratic compromise recognizing shared assumptions, and then fashion a legislative result that at least partially satisfy everybody's raging lust for power.

  • Rodney Stiff (unverified)


    You wrote that "liberal means tolerant and open minded" and I tend to agree. May I suggest you find another double entendre to use instead of "Reich" for the Right.

    No matter how much we may disagree with them, the Bushies pale in comparison to the Third Reich (Nazis). 7 million dead jews; the invasion of Europe/Russia; and 13 million dead Russians/Allied combatants (plus more than 75 million civilians on both sides).

    You can disagree with Bush/Cheney, but relating them to the Nazis only reinforces the negative stereotype of progressives being off their rockers. They might not think it sounds very tolerant and open minded.

  • (Show?)


    Give 'em time, just.....give 'em time.

  • john (unverified)

    What does it mean to be defensive? Bush, me, u...... I've been worrying or thinking or is it to cover my bases so that I can sound smart ... fly higher toward the sUn ... . .bUt not too hi....

    does the ego pop up to keeps its hard won image in tack .. . . .

    I really like to watch people (that includes kids) playing .. ... . some are outcome driven (materialists) and others enjoy the process ... the materialists are more harsh with themselves (image ie)... and they do not let their hearts be seen/felt... others have a large faith (that's not a very good way to say ... and are kind to themselves... . . this tolerance for uncertainy (faith or attitude of openess) leads to empathy ... . ..

    NOW!!!!!!! what does this mean to society.. .. the current administration.... AND the reAL reVOL UUUUU + ion you... me.... ... . at the quatum, real, cosmic level?

    it means more openess, new ideas and clean spaces ... .. . AND NOT the oppisite of this... (lol... that's a kind of axis of evil) .. . ..

    ssssssssssooooo... the bush (read burning) is very defensive and really values his image ... . . that means that openess is limited (unless it fits one's purpose) ... that means identify one's actions as linked to GOD's (read image of) AND not seeing the creative shadows in the collective and self (bush and his ...) .. it means selling national assets for comsumption ... it means using power and not new ideas through empathy ... it means burning our planet and ourselves via a war... it means that the administration is inherently living a lie (read if you lash out cause you do not recognize parts of you-self or do not see the pat-turns of the past) then yo do the things that are un-speakable ... it means the secret service (SS) is the police of the ego (right hand of the GOD) ANNNNDDDD ------>>>> inforces via fear the self image by removing the one's that do not fit in ... . . . it is a turn on "healed the blind to see"... . . it means HELL-oooo

    on a real level... do I do a statement via art w/ the real risk that the SS will visit me....what do I do ?????!!!??? re-volve?!!!

  • ginx (unverified)


    Did you smoke the whole bag? When was the last time you showered...this place reeks.

    Wait...something underneath that pizza box just moved. You don't have a cat do you? What are you typing?

  • Gregor (unverified)


    It seems to me you would know the famous Holocaust poem about them taking my neighbors one at a time and then they came for me. If you're looking at the body count, please include our brave and loyal to a fault soldiers, please include the 100,000 from Iraqi, the land without terrorists.

    Here's the real deal. People may be from the Right, but this Administration is being run like the Reich, and the Right has little to say about it for fear of reprisals from members of their own party. I would even say The Party. In a word, there is nothing but disdain and disrespect from the Administration for any other view.

    Most clearly we have this assault on educators who are perceived as too liberal. Two years ago I was in Poland in a town called Oswiecem by the Poles. The Germans refer to it as Auschwitz. The first victims of the Holocaust were the educators, priests and public officials. They were taken to the camps, marched under a sign that stated, ever so honorably, "Work will set you free!", and on average, they died within 3 months, shall we say, of natural causes.

    They're party has left them, if they disagree with their tactics. If they are Right, fine, I can tolerate that, even welcome a debate, but the Right is not in charge right now. The Reich is and the honorable men and women of the Right who might disagree with them have not shown the courage to oppose them, and I am also a coward here, fearing to use my real name. But I speak nonetheless.

    Wake up, please. I appreciate you're wanting me to pare down my rhetoric, but the signs are very clear to me that democracy is at stake. These are bully tactics being used by the Administration both here and abroad. Take John's post under mine. Unadulterated sarcasm to dismiss and dilute the point that is so sharp. This is not EVEN Kansas anymore.

    <h2>Please tell me, why a transparent election would ever be something to oppose in a democracy? Please tell me why anyone would be thrown out of a town meeting for wearing a T-shirt with words of disagreement, in a democracy? I'm hoping you disagree with these tactics, and if you do, your party has left you.</h2>

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