May 31, 2005
"We want members who are responsive to readers, not to governments or lobby groups," said NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in the New York Times, explaining the decision of the Organization of News Ombudsmen to deny full membership to CPB's new ombuds.
Posted by Mike at 11:33 AM
May 25, 2005
"PBS does not belong to any single constituency, no one political party, no activist group, no foundation, no funder, no agenda of any kind," asserted PBS President Pat Mitchell in a National Press Club speech reported by the Los Angeles Times. She declined to mud-wrestle with CPB Chair Ken Tomlinson: "I really don't feel it's my place to judge the motivations of someone."
Posted by Steve at 7:46 AM
Right-wing media watchdog L. Brent Bozell tappity-taps on a wedge between public TV and Bill Moyers: "Earth to PBS: When you are under attack for being a nest of left-wingers, it might not be the best strategy to let your most identifiable left-wing stars go to radical-left conferences and attack conservatives as evil." From a webzine, National Ledger.
Posted by Steve at 7:28 AM
May 24, 2005
May 23, 2005
Bill Kling, president of Minnesota Public Radio, tells the Minnesota Star-Tribune that he has heard nothing from CPB to indicate that the agency will stop funding MPR's national production Weekend America. A New York Times article last week said CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson had told board members the funding would end.
Posted by Mike at 11:40 AM
May 21, 2005
BBC news output will be affected Monday by the first of several limited strikes protesting plans to cut 4,000 jobs, Reuters reported. Further strikes are planned by the National Union of Journalists and two tech unions for the 48-hour period of May 31 and June 1 and for another occasion not yet set.
Posted by Steve at 9:08 AM
May 20, 2005
More on Kenneth Tomlinson/CPB: NPR reports that two years ago, Tomlinson suggested bringing in Fox News Channel anchor Brit Hume to talk to pubcasting officials about how to create balanced news progamming.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 12:28 PM
The Washington Post reviews the controversy over CPB's push to balance public broadcasting in a profile of board chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. "I never started out to make a campaign of this," he said, describing the resistance he's encountered as "symbolic of the tone-deafness" and "intellectual dishonesty" of public broadcasting's leadership. Tomlinson gives the Post a different account of his decision to address pubTV's "liberal bias" than the one he offered last week in a Washington Times op-ed. Meanwhile, in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed KQED President and PBS Board member Jeff Clarke offers his own take: "CPB officials have recently claimed that public broadcasting needs to improve its ability to reach more Americans. While we applaud such calls to improve our ability to reach more people with noncommercial public-interest programming, we do not accept assertions that public broadcasting lacks balance, or that Americans perceive public broadcasting to be biased."
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 10:53 AM
May 17, 2005
Salon media critic Eric Boehlert writes that while there are plenty of questions surrounding CPB's new content monitors, "it is CPB's tapping of two ombudsmen that has most raised eyebrows in journalism circles." Said NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin: "I don't think ombudsmen should be in the Crossfire business." Salon also posts excerpts from Bill Moyers' speech at last weekend's National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis. (day-pass required)
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 11:50 AM
May 16, 2005
The progressive Capital Times in Madison, Wisc., recounts Bill Moyers' Sunday speech at the National Conference on Media Reform in St. Louis, his first public response to CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson's well-documented quest for "balance." "I should put my detractors on notice," Moyers, 70, said. "They might compel me out of the rocking chair and into the anchor chair." Regarding Tomlinson's claim he kept his investigation of Now secret to protect PBS' image, Moyers said, "Where I come from in Texas, we shovel that stuff every day." Democracy Now! airs much of the speech in its Monday broadcast, and has posted a partial transcript on its website. More coverage in The Nation and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 12:37 PM
CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson worked to initiate outside studies of public radio as well as TV, the New York Times reports. "Late last year, without notifying board members or NPR, Mr. Tomlinson contacted S. Robert Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a research group, about conducting a study on whether NPR's Middle East coverage was more favorable to Arabs than to Israelis," according to the report. Tomlinson, also head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees international broadcasting programs such as Voice of America, has continued to block NPR programming from a U.S.-owned Berlin station in favor of programming "offered by a European business executive that includes newscasts produced by the Voice of America," the Times reports. "It certainly calls into question where his allegiance lies," said NPR Chairman Tim Eby.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 11:32 AM
May 15, 2005
In 10 years, former APTS and CPB exec Ric Grefe built the American Institute of Graphic Arts from what was perceived to be a "New York club" for designers into a national organization with 52 chapters and 17,800 members, writes designer William Drenttel on his group blog, Design Observer. (Extraneous treat for dog lovers: Drenttel's dog had puppies.)
Posted by Steve at 9:27 AM
May 13, 2005
May 12, 2005
Calling CPB Board Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson's efforts to bring more conservatives into public broadcasting "extremely troubling," two House Democrats asked CPB's Inspector General to investigate hiring and contracting practices at the corporation, reports the Los Angeles Times. [Text of letter in PDF.]
Posted by Karen at 9:27 AM
May 11, 2005
"I don't want to achieve balance by taking programs that are the favorites of good liberals off the air," said CPB chairman Ken Tomlinson on the latest On the Media. "I want to make sure that when you have programs that tilt left, we also have some programs that tilt right so the viewer can make up his or her own mind."
Posted by Mike at 11:18 AM
May 10, 2005
The Sundance Documentary Fund, One World US, Line TV and New California Media are grantees in the Ford Foundation's $50 million public-media initiative, along with pubcasting groups such as PRX, PRI, Public Radio Capital, the minority consortia and ITVS, the foundation disclosed today.
Posted by Steve at 7:00 PM
Aaron Barnhart of TV Barn outlines why the ruckus over public broadcasting is overblown.
Posted by Karen at 10:28 AM
The Ford Foundation is spending $50 million over five years on public media grants, including $10M to PBS and $7.5M to NPR, the New York Times reported. The PBS grant will back new programming ideas and help start the PBS Foundation. It was not clear whether the $50M sum includes $2 million to ITVS for international viewpoints, $1.8M given this year to Link TV, $1M to American University's Center for Social Media, $600,000 to Consumers Union for media policy work or $300,000 to Prometheus Radio Project for work in grassroots radio. The foundation spent millions to start public TV stations and develop national programming for them in the 1950s and 1960s.
Posted by Steve at 6:08 AM
May 9, 2005
On the Media responds to the Wall Street Journal's critique of the show with a brief note and links to reports referenced in the op-ed.
Posted by Mike at 10:09 AM
May 6, 2005
A large article in The Nation assesses NPR and finds it guilty of excessively safe and stodgy journalism. Garrison Keillor discusses his wide-ranging tastes in radio programs: "Once, on the Merritt Parkway heading for New York, I came upon The American Atheist Hour, the sheer tedium of which was wildly entertaining — there's nobody so humorless as a devout atheist."
Posted by Mike at 3:19 PM
If Newt Gingrich had succeeded in privatizing public broadcasting, PBS wouldn't be in the situation it's in today, writes Jonathan Chait in today's Los Angeles Times. "The only reason PBS has to have GOP partisans scrubbing it of any faint signs of residual liberalism is that it has to answer to the federal government."
Posted by Karen at 10:39 AM
May 5, 2005
Readers of the New York Times weigh in on the CPB fracas: "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," writes one. "Where is the outrage?" asks another.
Posted by Mike at 9:20 AM
May 4, 2005
"The best remedy for this week's public broadcasting crisis isn't the dismantling of the 'objectivity and balance' firewall but the abolishment of the CPB itself," argues Slate's Jack Shafer, who says public broadcasters should fund their independence from goverment dollars with a massive spectrum sell-off.
Posted by Mike at 1:30 PM
Just when you thought public broadcasting was already plenty politically-charged, here comes Tom Magliozzi to add his own two cents. The Car Talk loose cannon took time out of a trip to D.C. this week to tell the Washington Post that "George Bush is a [unprintable vulgarity]."
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 10:23 AM
May 3, 2005
Big score for social conservatives: Of the nearly 200,000 responses that the Department of Education received after the controversy over lesbian parents in the PBS children's show Postcards from Buster, the overwhelming majority came from supporters of the American Family Association, according to USA Today.
Posted by Karen at 11:02 AM
May 2, 2005
CPB Board President Ken Tomlinson conducted his own outside review of Now with Bill Moyers, worked to kill a legislative proposal last year that would have required more radio and TV vets on the CPB Board and has made clear that a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Asst. Secretary of State Patricia Harrison, is his preferred choice for the vacant CPB president post, the New York Times reports.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 11:16 AM