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Monday, June 20, 2005

Big Bird Must be stopped

My two year old is in serious ideological danger from PBS. I can tell because the child will not lean to the right. With the help of a number of Bush appointees to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting little Russell should be able to do that by the time he's four.

If you listen to pediatrician Ken Tomlinson, Russell's exposure to PBS has caused incurable, irreparable, liberal bias. Wait a second, Tomlinson is not a kind hearted kid's doc, he's White House political uber-strategist Karl Rove's sidekick and the Bush appointed chairman for the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Tomlinson's choice for president of CPB is former Republican fundraiser and the current head of the State Department's propaganda operation, Patricia Harrison. She's testified before Congress on the value of "news segments" in manipulating public opinion

Tomlinson told fellow CPB and PBS officials that "they should make sure their programming better reflected the Republican mandate," but now dismisses the comment as a joke. Rupert Murdoch must be his comedy writer.

The CPB was created 38 years ago as a firewall from the kind of political meddling that Tomlinson and Harrison are attempting. The recently retired Bill Moyers is being served up as an example for the left leaning bias that must be wiped out. Horse feathers.

As a former public television station manager, I agree with Columnist Molly Ivins characterization:

"Big Bird is not in favor of affirmative action. Bert and Ernie are not gay. Miss Piggy is not a feminist. "The Three Tenors," "Antiques Road show," "Masterpiece Theater, “Wall Street Week in Review" and nature programs do not have a political agenda. "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" is biased in favor of boring, old, white guys who appear on painfully well-balanced panels. "Washington Week in Review" is a showcase for "Inside the Beltway," conventional wisdom, power-parroting, political-geek head, establishment journalism -- there is nothing liberal about it."
Because of the move from analog to digital technology we have the opportunity in the U.S. to invest in public service broadcasting. In a broadcast environment of 2000 digital channels some of those channels need to be set aside for genuine public service. The United Kingdom is already preparing. In the U.K there's a call for the creation a "Public Service Publisher" that would use independent producers to create and distribute content on broadband, mobile networks as well as cable [and] satellite.

In the U.S. Big Media and Madison Avenue will dominate the digital broadcast world. 30-billion-dollars worth of analogue public spectrum airwaves will return to the U.S. Government from commercial and public TV stations. Some of that money should be used to underwrite the unique public service PBS and NPR are providing.

Russell promises he won't lean too far either way if we keep Sesame Street.