Philly Public TV = GOP TV?

Philadelphia Inquirer TV critic Jonathan Storm (7/1/10) noted that tonight, July 2, the city’s public TV station WHYY is airing a documentary called The Surge: The Untold Story. As he puts it, what’s most interesting about the documentary is who’s behind it:

The film was produced by communications companies that work predominantly for the GOP and was financed by an ambassador who served in the Bush administration.

The station had originally planned a panel event following the broadcast that would have featured far-right punditLiz Cheney, but those plans were apparently derailed by a lack of public interest in the event or the protests ofone stationdonor.

The documentary was also financed by the neo-con Institute for the Study of War. WHYY vice president Christine Dempsey told the Inquirer that the documentary was a “well-produced film with a nontraditional point of view that we don’t really put on frequently.” And it’s also apparently a matter of balance:

To the criticism that PBS‘s overall schedule contains several left-leaning series, she said, “I think it’s important for PBS member stations to show many different views.”

It’s hard to know exactly which “left-leaning” shows this is intended to balance–or how to square the idea that neo-con foreign policy views are going unheard on PBS. Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War, for example, was just on the NewsHour on June 24, praising the move to replace Stanley McChrystal with David Petraeus.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.