May
17
2005

CPB Turns to NPR as Latest 'Bias' Target

Right-wing group may study "pro-Arab" slant

According to a May 16 New York Times report, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is considering "a study on whether NPR's Middle East coverage was more favorable to Arabs than to Israelis"—further evidence that the agency intends to police public media for content it deems too "liberal." The Times reported that two of the CPB board members had expressed concern over the alleged bias of the public radio network's reporting. Gay Hart Gaines, formerly a Republican fundraiser, "talked about the need to change programming in light of a conversation she had had with a taxi driver about his listening […]

Sep
17
2004

PBS Panders to Right With New Programming

A new public television program called the Journal Editorial Report, featuring writers and editors from the arch-conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page, will debut tonight on public television stations around the country. The show joins Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered, hosted by conservative CNN pundit Tucker Carlson, and a planned program featuring conservative commentator Michael Medved as part of what many see as politically motivated decisions to bring more right-wing voices to public television. According to reports in the public broadcasting newspaper Current (1/19/04, 6/7/04) and in the New Yorker (6/7/04), conservative complaints about the alleged liberal bias of the program Now […]

Apr
16
2004

NewsHour Should Correct Lehrer's Falsehood

On the April 7 edition of the PBS NewsHour, anchor Jim Lehrer offered a rationale for the U.S. closure of the Al Hawza newspaper, affiliated with Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. But so far the program has been unable to supply evidence to back up Lehrer's charge, and is refusing to correct the host's error. Lehrer explained on the program, "The reason we shut down his press is because it was calling for violence." One of Lehrer's guests interrupted to agree with him, but Lehrer finished by saying, "I just want to get that on the record." Syndicated columnist (and FAIR […]

Mar
18
2004

Fear and Favor at the PBS NewsHour

(NOTE: Please read the update to this alert.) Journalist Christian Parenti was invited to talk about Iraq on the March 2 broadcast of PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. But Parenti's criticism of the reconstruction contracts granted to corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel apparently crossed a line for the program's host. According to a report by Cynthia Cotts in the Village Voice newspaper (3/17/04), Lehrer objected to comments Parenti made in response to a question about whether bombings in Iraq would "make the American job harder on the ground in Iraq": PARENTI: I would think so. I would think that we […]

Jul
01
2000

PBS's National Desk

Public Broadcasting Gone Wrong?

Last year, FAIR's Women's Desk organized the Feminist Coalition on Public Broadcasting, an ad-hoc coalition of public interest groups whose representatives met with PBS executives in November 1999. The topic on the agenda: the journalistic inaccuracies and conflicts of interest in PBS's National Desk, a public affairs series whose three-part documentary on the so-called "gender wars" argued that advances for women and girls are leading to a "gender Armageddon" for boys and men. Produced by the conservative Whidbey Island Films and funded by the right-wing Lynde and Harry Bradley, John M. Olin, and Sarah Scaife foundations (along with PBS and […]

Jul
01
1997

Ellen's Coming Out Was No Rerun

By the time you read this, the sober cynicism of summer will probably have settled in, but now, it's spring. I'm as excited about "Ellen" coming out as I am about the budding leaves. By summer, I'll remember that the obstacles to lesbian equality remain intact long after Ellen DeGeneres and her TV character said "I'm gay." Then again, anticipating autumn, I may even be ready to see the downside of the leaves. Obviously there were problems with the way the media covered Ellen DeGeneres and her TV character coming out. If you read Time or Newsweek (4/14/97) or tuned […]

Apr
01
1995

Sen. Pressler's PBS Inquest

Action Alert

The lawmakers who launched the public television system in 1967 were concerned that government-funded TV would become government-controlled TV. To protect against this, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created, a non-governmental, non-profit entity set up to disburse federal funds to public broadcasters. The idea was that CPB would be a "heat-shield," protecting public TV and radio from the control of elected officials and government bureaucrats. In the language of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, CPB is legally obligated to "assure the maximum freedom of the public telecommunications entities and systems from interference with, or control of, program content […]

Nov
01
1994

A PBS Quiz

Both are nationally recognized. Both have written best sellers. Both are articulate and at the top of their fields. Which woman did PBS choose to host a show? Charlayne Hunter-Gault or Peggy Noonan One has 16 years of PBS experience. The other has no PBS experience. One is an award-winning journalist. The other is a partisan political flak. One has been identified with universal human rights. The other has been identified with narrow Republican politics. One came to national attention as a civil rights hero. The other came to national attention as a Reagan-Bush speech writer. One has a show, […]