Monday, June 27, 2005

Corporation for Presidential Broadcasting

In an attempt to dispose of my regular cynicism, I was planning to write a jubilant response to the restoration to CPB (Corporation of Public Broadcasting) of $100 million dollars in funding on Thursday. But, as fate would have it, that entry was not to be. As soon as I began seriously considering writing out the blog entry, I happened upon Frank Rich's piece in the NY Times yesterday.

According to Rich, the whole issue of funding was simply a smokescreen to a much more insidious plot of using CPB as an instrument for US government propaganda. The real story was the $14, 170 paid to Fred Mann from Kenneth Tomlinson (current CPB chairman) to "monitor" PBS programming. What was some of the "raw data" that was collected and analyzed?
Their guests were rated either L for liberal or C for conservative, and "anti-administration" was affixed to any segment raising questions about the Bush presidency. Thus was the conservative Republican Senator Chuck Hagel given the same L as Bill Clinton simply because he expressed doubts about Iraq in a discussion mainly devoted to praising Ronald Reagan. Three of The Washington Post's star beat reporters (none of whom covers the White House or politics or writes opinion pieces) were similarly singled out simply for doing their job as journalists by asking questions about administration policies.
The recent ascension of Patricia Harrison from co-chair of the Republican National Committee to CPB President does not bode well for PBS' journalistic independence. There is no doubt that current administration has been interested in dominating media outlets and twisting them into propaganda machines. The question becomes whether liberals and independents can affect this change in CPB as readily as they did in protecting its funding.

Or is it possible that by protecting its funding, many have fallen into the trap of feeding a growing beast?


At 12:07 AM GMT-5, Anonymous LeftyJones said...

It's more than possible...sadly, WAY more than possible.
Good Post!


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