Monitor archives:
Copyrighted material

Foxing Up PBS

by Steve Young

to Steve Young columns

What a week for the Lords of Loud. First they had to defend the President'a drop- off- the- cliff popularity because of Social Security, then it was on to defend Bill Frist's fight against the "never done before, except when it was" filibuster against judges. Sean Hannity was forced to pitch an opening diatribe praising the Republican agenda and describing how great the war(s) were going -- even as he lamented his listener's tendency to mope over recent events. Now comes this: They have to defend PBS...from the Left. Holy Bill O'Reilly.

As Jon Stewart might squeal: "Whaaaa...?" PBS? Got to be a misprint. What's next? Defending the ACLU?

Seems that Kenneth Tomlinson, the Republican-appointed head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which controls National Public Radio and PBS, has decided to turn the Public Broadcasting world into another right wing talk show tundra.

In a New York Times article, Tomlinson said, "I frankly feel at PBS headquarters there is a tone-deafness to issues of tone and balance." This from the guy who told a meeting of the Association of Public Television Stations to make sure their programming better reflected the Republican mandate.

Part of his balancing the network Tomlinson has brought us "The Journal Editorial Report," a balanced pontification from The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot and the rest of his balanced editorial staff.

But, wait. How did Tomlinson discover the need for "balance?" Well, he did what every Republican does when they want to instill balance upon the masses. He enlisted presidential adviser Karl Rove to help kill a legislative proposal that would have required the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's to fill half their board with experienced local radio and television people. The proposal was dropped after Rove and the White House noted their concerns.

Then he went to work putting together a balanced staff.

He created a new office of the ombudsman and filled it with the balanced pair of William Schulz and Ken Bode; a profound conservative and a less profound conservative.

Tomlinson then hired Mary Catherine Andrews, the director of the Bush White House Office of Global Communications, as a senior staff member -- while she was still on the White House staff.

Finally, without the knowledge of his board or Bill Moyers, Tomlinson paid an outside consultant to gauge the "political leanings" of guests on "Now With Bill Moyers."

Y'gotta hand it to the Right. They keep the Left hopping. They paint anything left of talk radio as liberal-biased and that becomes fact. Peter Jennings lifts an eyebrow in the midst of a half-hour broadcast and it necessitates the need for a 24/7 Fox News. Now PBS offers us the Wall Street Journal editorial staff as a counterpoint to "Now." No matter what you think of Bill Moyers, "Now" actually offered facts and let you hear both sides of an issue. "The Journal Editorial Report" offers you both sides of the WS opinion page; the Right and other Right.

I tellya, folks. They're creeping ever close, consuming everything in their path. Don't be surprised if one day the White House neo-conservatives take possession of the Democratic Party. Then again... Joe Lieberman.

Steve Young can be heard 1-4PM every Saturday on L.A.'s Home of Progressive Talk, AM 1150, KTLK. Maybe even this Friday on Al Franken. This Saturday, May 14, Steve visits Tom Delay's big Tribute Dinner, including an interview with special guest, Nick Lampson, the Hammer's Democratic opponent in next year's election

Comments? Send a letter to the editor.

Albion Monitor May 6, 2005 (

All Rights Reserved.

Contact for permission to use in any format.