Independent Christian Voice

Friday

Bush crony quits as chief manipulator of public television

From Broadcasting & Cable:
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board of Directors said Thursday that embattled former board chairman Ken Tomlinson has resigned. The board has been reviewing a CPB Inspector General's report--called for by a pair of congressmen--on Tomlinson's relationship with the board stemming from Tomlinson's attempts to add more conservative programming. The board said in a statement: "[F]ormer chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson has resigned from the CPB board. The board does not believe that Mr. Tomlinson acted maliciously or with any intent to harm CPB or public broadcasting, and the board recognizes that Mr. Tomlinson strongly disputes the findings in the soon-to-be-released Inspector General’s report. … "Nonetheless, both the board and Mr. Tomlinson believe it is in the best interests of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that he no longer remain on the board. "The board commends Mr. Tomlinson for his legitimate efforts to achieve balance and objectivity in public broadcasting."

Tomlinson came under heavy fire for adding conservative shows to balance what he saw as liberal bias, and for hiring an outside consultant to gauge the bias in shows, particularly Now with Bill Moyers.

The CPB board has been under fire itself from groups complaining that it has not released the report and has been meeting in closed session about it. One of those groups was happy with the Tomlinson exit, but saw the problem as systemic. …

Following a request last May by Reps. David Obey (D-Wis.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.), Konz was investigating whether Tomlinson violated the Public Broadcasting Act by commissioning an outside content analysis of the politics in Now With Bill Moyers—and other PBS shows—and by enlisting a White House staffer to help write rules for two new ombudsmen, one a former Reader's Digest colleague of Tomlinson's.

The response from Tomlinson's critics in Congress was swift:

"The public interest is hurt when there are no checks and balances,"said Obey "This Administration believes that since they control all branches of government, they can abuse the public trust and get away with it and Mr. Tomlinson is part of this pattern. Mr. Tomlinson's resignation should be used to bring people together, not divide them as he and the administration have done. Public Broadcasting is too important to be anybody's partisan or ideological play thing."

…but it's not all good news. Reuters reports:
Center for Digital Democracy Executive Director Jeff Chester, a critic of Tomlinson, said his departure was unlikely to stop what he described as behind-the-scenes programming pressure on PBS and NPR.

"Board chair Halpern and vice chair Gaines will continue Tomlinson's legacy to reshape public broadcasting more to the liking of conservatives," Chester said in a statement.

Veteran Republican Party fund-raisers Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines were elected in September as CPB board chairman and vice chair, respectively.

Bush's cronies are working on leaving a lasting legacy... of manipulated, censored and "balanced" public television. Goodbye Bill Moyers and independent journalism and television... hello Fox public television.

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