Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Government-Funded TV and Radio Programming
Is Un-American
No Matter How You Slice It

From Little Green Footballs:

WASHINGTON, May 15 - Executives at National Public Radio are increasingly at odds with the Bush appointees who lead the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In one of several points of conflict in recent months, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which allocates federal funds for public radio and television, is considering a plan to monitor Middle East coverage on NPR news programs for evidence of bias, a corporation spokesman said on Friday.

The corporation’s board has told its staff that it should consider redirecting money away from national newscasts and toward music programs produced by NPR stations.

Top officials at NPR and member stations are upset as well about the corporation’s decision to appoint two ombudsmen to judge the content of programs for balance. And managers of public radio stations criticized the corporation in a resolution offered at their annual meeting two weeks ago urging it not to interfere in NPR editorial decisions.

The corporation’s chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, has also blocked NPR from broadcasting its programs on a station in Berlin owned by the United States government.

Mr. Tomlinson denied several requests last week to discuss the relationship between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR, but he issued a one-sentence statement saying that he looked forward to “working through any differences that may exist between our institutions.”

In a column last week in The Washington Times and in an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s talk show on PBS, he repeated his belief that public broadcasting’s reputation of being left-leaning was a problem.

Yes, it is a problem. And no, more "Morning Becomes Eclectic" is not the answer.

You know what I've never understood. Why did American tax dollars make Jim Henson a multi-millionaire? That's the effect of Sesame Street? And why are we now doing the same thing with the creators of Dora the Explorer, and countless other PBS programs?

These people create a show, get it on PBS, and then reap windfall profits off the sale of merchandise. If they can do that then they ought to be able to do it on their own dime.

As for NPR, it is the height of arrogance to think that the government ought to pay you to bash their decisions on a constant basis, and to hold up a European view of the world as the standard to which America should aspire.

Here's the conundrum. If the government funded the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and they towed the line on the issues, it would be called propaganda. Such propaganda would be considered an "un-American" violation of free speech.

Instead, what happens is NPR and PBS see it as their duty to offer an "alternative" to the American political vision.

In other words, either way we are going to get something that goes against what America stands for. Why should we pay for this?