If PBS Is Afraid of Moyers, Maybe It Needs a New Slogan

Elizabeth Jensen has a preview (New York Times, 1/8/12) of the new Bill Moyers program coming to public television stations later this month–a show that is not being distributed by PBS. Why not? She reports:

Mr. Moyers said he was unsure why PBS, where he has spent most of his career since 1971, declined the show for its main schedule. Some public television executives, who would not publicly comment on a sensitive issue, said they believed that PBS did not want to realign itself with Mr. Moyers, a longtime target of some conservatives, as it was fighting to keep its federal financing.

Perhaps PBS might consider a new, more accurate slogan: Not Offending Conservatives When We’re Fighting for Funding, Which Is Always.

In the piece, Moyers seems happy with the situation, saying that “we don’t have to worry about somebody at PBS losing sleep over the fact that David Stockman says the Republicans have lost their minds on taxes.”

And Jensen adds:

His return comes as public television executives are debating their path: More Downton Abbey, or local and national news? So far, public affairs programming is losing. PBS canceled Now when Bill Moyers Journal ended; the replacement show Need to Know was recently trimmed from one hour to 30 minutes.

Yet, Mr. Moyers noted, PBS announced an additional version of Antiques Roadshow just a few weeks after the Census Bureau released figures showing the number of people living in poverty had risen to more than 46 million.

“I love Antiques Roadshow,” he added. “But it is just symbolic of how we’re not connected viscerally to the state of the American people right now.”

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.