All Smart People Are Centrists–and Other News From PBS

Broadcasting & Cable (3/17/10) spoke with the head of PBS‘s flagship New York station about the recent hire of Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and former MTV and NPR host Alison Stewart for PBS‘s forthcoming program Need to Know, which is replacing Now and the Bill Moyers Journal: president Neal Shapiro did not rule out the possibility of future synergies between Newsweek and Need to Know.

“We haven’t talked about anything specific,” he said. “But I think all kinds of natural synergies may happen.”

Shapiro said he is not concerned that Stewart and Meacham, who has been a frequent guest on Charlie Rose as well as MSNBC‘s Morning Joe, will bring ideological baggage to the program.

“They are both are incredibly smart. And I think, given their intellect, neither are people you can pigeonhole left or right. I think they have a history of asking probing questions on all sides.”

“Given their intellect” they can’t be placed on the left or the right? Yeah, smart people are all centrists, I guess. And by “probing,” Shapiro must mean something like treating sources with “charity and dignity and respect.”

I’m also looking forward to public television giving us Newsweek synergies. It’s hard to think of a better use of PBS resources than providing another platform for commercial journalism. Maybe if we’re really lucky we’ll get some Mac Margolis on Need to Know.

About Julie Hollar

Managing Editor of Extra! Magazine
Julie Hollar is the managing editor of FAIR's magazine, Extra!. Her work received an award from Project Censored in 2005, and she has been interviewed by such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, Agence France-Presse and the San Francisco Chronicle. A graduate of Rice University, she has written for the Texas Observer and coordinated communications and activism at the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. Hollar also co-directed the 2006 documentary Boy I Am and was previously active in the Paper Tiger Television collective.