June 11, 2004

Right Wing Now Hijacking PBS by Moving to Control Content

It's the Media, Stupid.

Ed Garvey, Madison Capital Times: Auletta's article, which details the Republican takeover scheming, is a must read...Unfortunately, PBS will lose Moyers to retirement after the elections this fall, but even before he leaves, we will be treated to a Friday night magazine hosted by, you guessed it, Tucker Carlson. So President Bush and Cheney are getting their way.
But the Bush folks aren't satisfied, and the PBS brass is not finished caving in to them. In addition to adding the Carlson program, PBS may add another conservative program, hosted by the Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor, Paul Gigot. If you are keeping score, it is Bush/Cheney 3, liberals 0. Tell me again the difference between Fox and PBS?
Auletta quotes Bill Moyers: "This is the first time in my 32 years of public broadcasting that (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) has ordered up programs for ideological instead of journalistic reasons." Strong words.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0609-14.htm

Published on Wednesday, June 9, 2004 by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
Right Wing Now Hijacking PBS by Moving to Control Content
by Ed Garvey

"It's not easy being green," or so Kermit the Frog sang on public television for many years.

And today "it's not easy being liberal" on PBS, as Ken Auletta explains in the most recent issue of the New Yorker magazine.

Ah, the channel of choice in our family forever, or so it seems, is now the target of those who control or own virtually all commercial radio, television and print outlets. Yup! Not Barney or the Muppets or Kermit anymore. Now it is former Congressman Newt Gingrich, Vice President Dick Cheney and the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot.

Not satisfied to have "unfair and unbalanced" Fox News on TV; talk radio dominated by Rush Limbaugh, Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling; and newspaper chains that are more interested in packaging advertising supplements than reporting the news, the right wing is taking over PBS. They have decided that they cannot eliminate public television and radio - despite years of trying - so now they are dead set on controlling the programming.

Auletta's article, which details the Republican takeover scheming, is a must read.

But Auletta is not alone in explaining the pressures on PBS. We reported part of the story in FightingBob.com in March, namely that Republican congressional leaders tried to pressure PBS to get rid of Bill Moyers' Friday night must-see program "NOW" or force him to accept Newt Gingrich as a co-host.

I'm not making this up. As an alternative to Newt, conservatives in the Bush administration promoted the supercilious CNN commentator "on the right," Tucker Carlson, as a co-host. Predictably, Moyers refused.

Unfortunately, PBS will lose Moyers to retirement after the elections this fall, but even before he leaves, we will be treated to a Friday night magazine hosted by, you guessed it, Tucker Carlson. So President Bush and Cheney are getting their way.

But the Bush folks aren't satisfied, and the PBS brass is not finished caving in to them. In addition to adding the Carlson program, PBS may add another conservative program, hosted by the Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor, Paul Gigot. If you are keeping score, it is Bush/Cheney 3, liberals 0. Tell me again the difference between Fox and PBS?

Auletta quotes Bill Moyers: "This is the first time in my 32 years of public broadcasting that (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) has ordered up programs for ideological instead of journalistic reasons." Strong words.

It gets worse. The most recent Bush appointment to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board is a former chair of GOPAC, the Gingrich political action committee. Remember the "Contract With America"? Well, get ready for Gingrich aide Gay Hart Gaines' "contract on PBS."

So what do we do? We can protest all we want to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or PBS but that won't change the Friday night lineup. But we can start asking Wisconsin Public Television to take up the slack and to report on this disaster. Silence from Wisconsin Public Radio and Television is not helpful.

Here is an opportunity for Wisconsin Public Television to jump into the void by presenting programming that will offset Tucker Carlson and Paul Gigot. We should ask, even though it is unlikely that the powers that be at Wisconsin Public Television will respond. After all, they still show the corporate dominated "We the People" series before every election. The "partners" who control on-air talent for that series, as well as the questions and format, are conservative Channel 3 in Madison, conservative Wood Communications and the conservative Wisconsin State Journal.

Isn't it time for Wisconsin Public Television to reflect the ideological diversity of the state? Why not ask the League of Women Voters to produce "We the People" this year?

Why not present a Wisconsin Public Television that is as concerned about progressive politics as PBS is about the right wing?

Bob McChesney and John Nichols will speak at Fighting Bob Fest Sept. 18 in Baraboo. The title of the fest this year is "Rights at Risk." Naturally, we will have speakers on public education at risk, civil liberties at risk under John Ashcroft and political rights at risk. But McChesney and Nichols will speak on our First Amendment rights at risk.

This could provide an opportunity for development of a plan to offset the hijacking of PBS. I don't know about you but I haven't worried too much about Fox News because I never watch it. Why would I when we have public television, community television with Free Speech TV, and Lou Dobbs on CNN?

But now they are messing with my channel of choice. I'm going to fight back. Are you with me?

Ed Garvey, the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998, is a Madison lawyer and the editor of the fightingbob.com Web site. E-mail: comments@fightingbob.com

2004 The Capital Times


Posted by richard at June 11, 2004 01:11 PM