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May 23, 2005

PBS chief says he sees bias in public broadcasting

Does the phrase, "...and, by Viewers Like You" ring a bell?

Well, you can kiss that phrase goodbye.


Link: New chief says he sees bias in public broadcasting.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson remembers exactly when it was and what he was watching when the thought struck him: Public television has a problem. A liberal problem. It was November 2003, and he was watching Bill Moyers, host of the Public Broadcasting Service show "Now," talk about how free-trade policies had harmed small-town America. Tomlinson knows small-town America -- he grew up outside tiny Galax, Va., in the Blue Ridge Mountains -- and Moyers' presentation of the issues struck him as superficial and one-sided. Indeed, it struck him as "liberal advocacy journalism." Right then, Tomlinson said, he decided that it was time to bring some "balance" to the public TV and radio airwaves. And so began an effort that in recent weeks has begun to tear like a knife through the insular world of public broadcasting. Tomlinson, 60, isn't just any conservative with a complaint about liberal media bias. As chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he heads a private but congressionally chartered agency that hands out federal funds -- $387 million this year -- to PBS, National Public Radio and hundreds of public radio and TV stations around the country. Tomlinson's contention -- that liberalism is too prominent on public TV, radio news and talk programs while conservative ideas are marginalized -- has been met with aggressive denials, concern and suspicion within the public broadcasting establishment. Some suggest that Tomlinson isn't really interested in fairness so much as promoting conservative ideas.

Posted at 10:55 AM


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