Saturday, February 23, 2008

Is PBS Still Necessary?

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked what I thought of Charles McGrath's NY Times Arts and Leisure article, with that headline. I told him, honestly, that I had never heard of it. We don't get the Sunday New York Times. So I looked it up and found what he had to say--with the exception of an unfair low-blow age-ist slam about Jim Lehrer's age (that his editor should have deleted) --seemed common-sensical, such as this observation:
In a needy bid for viewers, public television imitates just as much as it’s imitated, putting on pop knockoffs like “America’s Ballroom Challenge.” Even though a number of surveys suggest that a large segment of the viewing population still wants the best of what public television has to offer, there isn’t as much of that as there used to be, and when it is on, it often gets lost amid all the dreck.
If Charles McGrath, or this blog's readers, want to know more about the topic, there's background material in my book PBS: BEHIND THE SCREEN, available from Tim Graham doesn't like PBS's new Pete Seeger documentary airing on American Masters.