Oct 21 2010

Tell PBS: Bring Back Now!

Need to Know fails to live up to PBS mission

Sign FAIR's petition now!It’s official: Need to Know has failed to pursue the kind of hard-hitting reporting, full of diverse perspectives, that was regularly supplied by the shows it replaced, Now and the Bill Moyers Journal. Now Friday night on PBS looks a lot like the rest of public television’s prominent news and public affairs shows–which, as FAIR’s new studies have documented, means a pronounced tilt towards white male sources and a miniscule number of activists or public interest advocates.

That’s a far cry from the intended mission of public broadcasting–to “provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard,” to serve as “a forum for controversy and debate,” and broadcast programs that “help us see America whole, in all its diversity.” The things that Moyers and Now did.

When PBS announced without explanation that it was cancelling Now, just as Moyers was retiring, FAIR activists encouraged PBS to “develop new programming that will be just as tough and independent” as the Journal and Now.

Since the new show falls short of that goal, PBS should bring back the program that did exactly what public television should be doing, and restore Now to its original one-hour timeslot.

As a matter of fact, Now will return on November 18 with a special one-hour broadcast devoted to local communities and economic innovation. That’s a start. But how about giving viewers this kind of journalism every week?

It would be wonderful if every program on PBS lived up to the mission of public broadcasting. Let’s start by bringing back Now.

Click here to sign FAIR’s petition today!