Wednesday, June 15, 2005

PBS Back in the News

Phones started ringing again, after some 9 years, from people who want to know what I think about Republican threats to cut PBS funding. PBS, meanwhile, is engaged in a PR campaign that has led to stories like this on: PBS Updates Editorial Standards, Adds Ombudsman in the Washington Post today:

Amid conflict over the political content of its programming, the Public Broadcasting Service yesterday unveiled editorial standards intended to ensure balance and fairness in its news, science and documentary shows.

Separately, Alexandria-based PBS also said it would hire an ombudsman for the first time to review controversial programs after they air.

Actually, Jim Lehrer began his national PBS career as an ombudsman almost 30 years ago. He was hired to oversee balance and fairness when the network was under attack from Richard Nixon. It worked out OK for him--but not so well for President Nixon, when Lehrer hosted PBS's coverage of Congressional impeachment hearings.

IMHO the Republicans have been "all hat and no cattle" (Texas talk that Jim Lehrer and George Bush might understand) when it comes to zeroing out PBS and NPR. Useful for scare stories in the mainstream media to motivate the liberal donor base of the Democratic Party, but not much else. I'll believe they are serious the day I'm offered Jim Lerher's old job as PBS Vice-President for Balance and Objectivity.