"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, February 10, 2006

Another Conservative Forced out of CPB

Another political conservative has left the federal-government-supported Corporation for Public Broadcasting as the corporation's leaders continue a purge of right-of-center voices that had joined the organization in the past few years, the New York Times reports:

The top television executive at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced on Thursday that he would be stepping down. This is the latest in a string of departures of officials and consultants who played central roles in an effort by conservatives to bring what they viewed as more balance to public television and radio.

The executive, Michael Pack, controlled a $70 million production budget and was described by the official who hired him as a conservative Republican. He chose to resign after Patricia S. Harrison, the corporation's new president, forced him to decide between renewing his employment contract and exercising a soon-to-expire option that gives him $500,000 to produce a documentary.

Ms. Harrison said the departures of Mr. Pack and a senior consultant, James Denton, were business decisions and were not part of any purge of ideologically driven officials. "You are connecting dots when there is no connection," she said in an interview. "I have not fired a single person since I came on board here."

But other officials in public broadcasting saw political overtones to the moves. Since being named president of the corporation last June, Ms. Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, has attempted to tamp down a debate
[complaints from the right about leftward bias at the corporation] over balance in programming that has threatened to undermine financial support for public broadcasting from both Congress and private sources. Public broadcasting officials who had been at odds with the corporation said the personnel changes could shore up support among Republican moderates and Democrats, important traditional allies in budget fights.

My answer is the classical liberal one:

End government funding of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting.

I guess that makes me not a "traditional ally" in budget fights. Who would have thought it?

25 comments:

Tlaloc said...

the problem of course is that you have it backwards. There was no purge of conservatives. Rather conservatives brought in Tomlinson as an attempt to make CPB conservative.

Tomlinson conducted a survey to attempt to prove the bias of the station and when the results came back that the station was extremely balanced he ignored it and went ahead with his plan anyway.
see here:
http://www.cjrdaily.org/behind_the_news/cpb_looks_under_bed_finds_no_d.php

He brought in conservatives with terrible ethical dilemmas (the most obvious being hiring a woman who was at the time still working in the whitehouse press office to be an ombudsman).

Fortunately he has since gotten booted from the position. Not because of a purge of conservatives but because he was determined to pervert CPB. Good riddance to him.

Karnick said...

Come on Tlaloc. Have you EVER listened to NPR. Try and tell me there's no liberal bias. Nevermind, you probably will try to convince me that there isn't and you would be dead wrong. I don't necessarily think we should cut of government funding for it, however. Despite the bias I still enjoy listening and watching "Nova".

James Elliott said...

...the corporation's leaders continue a purge of right-of-center voices...

This is the first I've heard of it. Please elaborate.

Hunter Baker said...

" . . . determined to pervert CPB"

That's right dammit. The left has a right to public funding of their own television no matter what you may think. It's an outrage that there can even be a privately owned network that doesn't tilt left.

Why, there oughtta be a law. Grumble. Grumble.

Tlaloc said...

"Come on Tlaloc. Have you EVER listened to NPR. Try and tell me there's no liberal bias."

Yes I have and no there isn't. Individual shows may be biased but taken as a whole it is very balanced. Again look at the study that Tomkinson commissioned and then ignored.

Remember that this is a pretty typical way that human memopry works. You remember the one show you find objectionable and forget the three that were neutral and the one that leaned your way. That's part of how people remember things.

Just as if an elevator is broken 20% of the time and you ask people about it they will inevitably claim it is broken more like 50%. They remember when it is an inconvenince and forget when it isn't.



"Nevermind, you probably will try to convince me that there isn't and you would be dead wrong."

Again you don't have to trust me, look at the study.

Tlaloc said...

"The left has a right to public funding of their own television no matter what you may think. It's an outrage that there can even be a privately owned network that doesn't tilt left."

Okay hunter, what evidence do you have that CPB tilts left? Remember the whole "plural of anecdote is not data" rule.

Tom Van Dyke said...

"...tamp down a debate [complaints from the right about leftward bias at the corporation] over balance in programming that has threatened to undermine financial support for public broadcasting from both Congress and private sources."

Italics mine---follow the money. I believe you'll find that most of the contributing foundations (and "members," come to think of it) lean left. Put "Rush Limbaugh's Week in Review" on CPB and the whole thing'll come crashing down.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

I really like the way it is funded. Lets take tax money from the poor and fund a station (TV/radio) that only wealthy white liberals pay attention to ... and spare me the crap about "its for the children!"

James Elliott said...

..."its for the children!"

Aw, you're just jealous that someone else is using the "Please, God, won't someone think of the children?!" meme. =]

What do you have against Big Bird, Republicans? Huh? Why do you want to kill the Cookie Monster?

And now we return you to the serious portion of the discussion...

Robert Champ said...

Our local (Washington) NPR station recently went to a mostly all talk format, abandoning the classical music programming that I listened to for many years until the commentators came gradually to overwhelm it. (I note that the left-leaning Saturday night folk music program--called, with total inappropriateness "Traditions"--survived the transition, however.) It has become, in consequence, utterly dull. Not even a liberal, for instance, would have taken much pleasure in hearing the droning attacks on Justice Alito from members of the Judiciary Committee, and yet WETA played them with scarce a word left out. Maybe the station has a record in sight--least listened to NPR station in America.

I don't much watch public television these days. There are so many other stations on TV that offer much the same kind of material, and I suspect that, like me, people are going to the History channel for history, the Biography channel for biography, TMC for good films, the BBC station for English comedy, the National Geographic and Discovery channels for science. And on those channels there aren't any of those annoying kid shows, either; shows that many older viewers would never have watched as kids themselves (too interested in The Cisco Kid, Popeye, and Bugs Bunny--real kid shows) With such competition, PBS should be shaking things up. .

Hunter Baker said...

When it comes to NPR and objectivity, I have five words that say it all:

Nina

Totenberg

Supreme

Court

"Reporter"

Kathy Hutchins said...

Our local (Washington) NPR station recently went to a mostly all talk format, abandoning the classical music programming that I listened to for many years until the commentators came gradually to overwhelm it.

How fortunate we are that the DC market can support a commercial classical station with no problem. Kind of makes you wonder what that "If we don't do it, who will?" fundraising campaign was about. I did have a bit of a scare on January 1 when I turned to 103.5 and discovered WTOP parked there, until I figured out that Bonneville had just switched their frequencies around and moved WGMS up to 104.1.

Robert Champ said...

I did have a bit of a scare on January 1 when I turned to 103.5 and discovered WTOP parked there, until I figured out that Bonneville had just switched their frequencies around and moved WGMS up to 104.1.

Yes, the same thing happened to me! For a moment there all the color went out of the world until I figured out that the station had not disappeared by just changed frequencies.

I have no idea how WGMS's Vive la Voce (all voice-based classical music) is doing on the Internet, but it is the worthiest effort in broadcast classical music that I've seen in ages.

I, too, am glad to see that classical music can survive at a commercial station. And I suspect that strong competition with WETA was one of the reasons that the latter dropped its programming.

Karnick said...

"Again you don't have to trust me, look at the study."

I don't need a study when I listen to it my self. I will just reiterate the fact that I listen to NPR and I find it biased and I still believe it's "O.K."

Tom Van Dyke said...

That was a poll. This is a study.

Hunter Baker said...

I second the young Karnick. I'm a longtime listener of NPR and the tendencies/sympathies are quite clear. I still enjoy it and find that it is far easier to listen to when a Dem is president because the staff is not working so hard in its "opposition" role.

Matt Huisman said...

I agree with those sentiments completely Hunter. I think we can enjoy each others company more - and they can appreciate ours - when we're comfortable with our own skin.

tbmbuzz said...

What do you have against Big Bird, Republicans? Huh? Why do you want to kill the Cookie Monster?


Nice strawman, James. It is well known that Sesame Street would thrive in the free market without my (and your) tax dollars.

James Elliott said...


And now we return you to the serious portion of the discussion...


Did you miss this part of the post in your eager attempt to shoot me down, buzz? I was joking.

Tlaloc said...

"I don't need a study when I listen to it my self. I will just reiterate the fact that I listen to NPR and I find it biased and I still believe it's "O.K.""

You are presuming that you can accurately judge the bias by yourself of an organization that puts out a huge amount of material. There is no way you are seeing/hearing more than a small fraction of it.

Tlaloc said...

"That was a poll. This is a study. "

Considering the issue is bias a poll is a form of study of the topic. As for the study you link to I have already explained at length how shoddy their methodology is.

Tlaloc said...

"I second the young Karnick. I'm a longtime listener of NPR and the tendencies/sympathies are quite clear."

The plural of anecdote is not data.

tbmbuzz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tbmbuzz said...

Did you miss this part of the post in your eager attempt to shoot me down, buzz? I was joking.


Yes, I missed it. For two reasons. 1) It's always an unexpected shock when a Leftie actually shows a sense of humor. 2) Your statement (paraphrased) has been argued literally, in deadly seriousness, over the years by Lefties bemoaning the perennial attempts to cut the NPR/CPR boondoggles.

Anyway, the correctness of my statement stands.

Lighten up, man.

James Elliott said...

Buzz, that's the dumbest statement I've ever heard someone make. You're defending a direct attack on me by trying to generalize it after the fact. You were wrong, man. Just suck it up and move on.