Wednesday, June 22, 2005

GOP War on PBS (Part II)

As Americans rally behind PBS in order to save it from the Republican onslaught, I continue with my coverage of the War On PBS.

As I noted in Part I, the majority of Americans not only cherish the programming produced by PBS, they also believe that it is a fair and balanced media source. But that doesn't stop the GOP from trying to subvert PBS's independence and impartiality.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Chairman of CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting - parent of PBS and NPR) and staunch conservative, has taken it upon himself to remove any hint of liberalism from PBS. Recently, Mary C. Andrews was appointed to the position of ombudsman to oversee the programming is fair and balanced. This raises several issues. First, Ms. Andrews has no experience in such a position. Second, Ms. Andrews was hired directly out of the Bush White House and was working for PBS while still working for the White House as a communications director. This is not only highly suspect after seeing how the White House likes to pay reporters for propaganda pieces, but goes against the charter of PBS as an independent and impartial organization.

Tomlinson repeatedly denied having any contact with Ms. Andrews while she was working in the White House, but e-mails prove he was lying. Tomlinson directed then president, Kathleen Cox, to send e-mails to Ms. Andrews White House address so she could work at both the White House as a communication director and at CPB as a monitor of impartiality. The conflicts are obvious. To this point, it is unclear what role the White House had in creating the new ombudsman position, but it is clear that the White House did insist Ms. Andrews job title was "senior adviser to the president."

Additional to the ombudsman link to the White House, Tomlinson has also appointed Patricia Harrison as the new president of CPB. Ms. Harrison is the Assistant Secretary of State, and the former Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee. Harrison has spent much of her past raising money for the GOP and attacking the Clintons. She speciffically targeted Hiliary in her New York Senatorial compeign. It is ludicrous to name such a obviously partisan figure to a position that requires impartiality. She has no experiance in broadcasting of any sort and con only be there to slant CBP to the right.

But the problems don't stop there. Tomlinson, without the consent or even the notification of the CPB board, decided to monitor what he felt was PBS's most liberal show. Tomlinson paid a Republican lobbyist $15,000 of taxpayer money to watch and report on the liberal bias of PBS's NOW show. Not only is this unethical, but it is possibly illegal under the CPB charter. He paid $15,000 for Republicans to watch the show when it was just as easy for him to do it in the first place.

As noted in Part I, the majority of Americans not only believe PBS is fair and balanced, but is the most trustworthy media outlet in America. But, fair and balanced is not what Republicans want. They will not be happy until PBS is FOX's conservative counter part on the airwaves.


1 -Official Had Aide Send Data to White House

2 -Tomlinson choice for CPB head is GOP partisan who oversees Bush international propaganda effort

3 -The Leaning Tower of PBS

4 -US Senate Letter to Kennith Tomlinson

5 -A Different Reception For Public Broadcasting

6 -CPB Chairman's E-Mails Cite White House Authority

7 -Inquiry Targets Possible CPB Ties to Lobbyists

8 -Leaked emails prove CPB chairman Tomlinson misrepresented prior contact with White House

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