Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Republican Thumb on PBS

NYT published 8 letters complaining about Republican pressure on PBS. See this earlier blog article

  • The job of the press is to scrutinize government, not praise it. The administration gives its story in the best possible light using taxpayer money. That must be countered by a vigorously critical free press.
    There is, but it is not financed with taxpayer money
  • From 1980 to 1984, I was the program officer in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Program Fund in charge of news and public affairs programs. Our idea was that to engender discussion of critical issues, we would provide a balance of viewpoints across a series of programs, not within each program. But that was not enough for the conservative ideologues being appointed to the board by President Reagan. They wanted no program expressing a point of view unless it was their own. The drumbeat against PBS has continued ever since: "balance" your programs toward the right, or else. Mindless "balance" within a program pits a saint against a horse thief and says, "Only time will tell." Journalistic fairness, not "balance," should be the goal.
    But who defines what is fair? An extreme left wing liberal?
  • As a conservative who is a sometime reader of The New York Times and a sometime listener-viewer of PBS, I must say the idea that PBS is a fair and balanced network is as ludicrous as Fox TV's explicit claim in that regard. PBS has every right to its opinions, but no right to have them subsidized by taxpayers. Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize either liberal or conservative propaganda.
    I agree
  • Yes, PBS is biased! It is biased in favor of intelligence, honesty, a healthy curiosity about the world and an even healthier skepticism of dubious assertions and posturing. The day PBS loses its biases, it will be just another propaganda machine. We already have more than enough rant and cant. Keep your biases, PBS!
    But dont ask taxpayers to pay for them.
  • I am curious to know exactly what Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, means by "balance." What, for example, would constitute balance when reporting on the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Equal numbers of speakers asserting and denying the existence of such weapons? Assessing the quality of journalism is not always a matter of tallying voices on each side of an issue.
    Equal number on both sides sounds fair to me.
  • The unfortunate result of any successful attempt to restrict the programming autonomy of PBS will be to further dumb down TV and Americans in general. So many Republican leaders are blinded by a "political fundamentalism" that obscures their ability to determine intelligence from opinion. Bill Moyers may have a viewpoint, but he carefully separates it from his reporting, which is always packed with facts and information and which has earned him status as a great journalist. It is the lack of facts and information that is threatening an already besieged democracy.
    Both his opinion and reporting are biased to the left
  • I am horrified that the Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is exerting pressure on PBS to broadcast conservative programming and conservative points of view. The Republicans have been heedless to the fact of separation of church and state, and now they are trampling on one of our most cherished freedoms, freedom of the press. Can't something be done about their bullying tactics? They are ruining everything that is worthwhile about this country.
    He is not. He is saying that if taxpayers are to pay for it, it should show both sides.
  • The interference by the Bush administration into PBS's programming should sound a warning loud and clear to all media: you cannot stand by idly and watch this happen. It is time for the press, TV and radio networks and cable to band together in opposition to this action, lest they be next. Where is the outrage?
    The taxpayers are just paying for PBS and NPR, and that is what he says should be balanced

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