2005/06/20

Sesame Street Needs More Balance (Updated)

This is precious:

Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) (a Republican appointed by former President Clinton) has been quoted as saying that his job is to de-politicize funding for National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). When, in fact, he has been the most politicizing influence CPB has ever encountered.

Check this out:

Since taking over as CPB chairman, Tomlinson has suppressed results of a poll showing that 80% of Americans view PBS as "fair and balanced". Do you hear that FOX? You probably couldn't get poll numbers like that if you called a thousand Republicans!

In addition to appointing a "watcher for the watchers" (i.e. an overseer for the NPR's existing ombudsmen), this partisan shill is trying to ram the appointment of Patricia Harrison as president and chief executive of CPB down the throats of the CPB board. Patricia Harrison, currently an official at the State Department, is...get this... a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee!

Now, the fact that Tomlinson has been lying about his close ties to the White House and takes his queues on CPB executive appointments from Dina Powell, White House director of personnel, is starting to emerge in emails that he sent to Kathleen Cox, the former CPB chief executive.

I say: Let's cut this administration flack off at the knees. It's time to let the conservatives have their way and cut funding for CPB. Sure...it'll hurt in the short term but in the long term Republicans will bawl like babies with an owwee! Consider that the three best funded public broadcasting systems in the nation are KQED (Bay Area), Minnesota Public Broadcasting, and WGBH (Boston). KQED, for example, already gets 60% of its funding from its members, and in the absence of CPB funding, I don't have any doubt that its members will step up to the plate. Then...free from political cronies like Tomlinson, public broadcasting can really serve the public, wherever they may be. Unfortunately for Republicans like Ralph Regula, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that suggests the cuts, the public usually won't be conservatives.

[2005/06/21 12:29p PDT]

Looks like Tomlinson's in trouble. Salon is reporting:
...Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer are unveiling a letter they've written to George W. Bush demanding the dismissal of the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In their letter, which is apparently signed by 15 senators, Feinstein and Schumer accuse Tomlinson of "actively undermining, under-funding and ultimately undoing" the mission of public broadcasting.

Though, I doubt that Bush will pay any more attention to this than he has to objections to John Bolton's nomination. Hey! Maybe John Bolton can become the chief executive of CPB, then he could pontificate about puppets.

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