C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb recently interviewed Ken Tomlinson, the Chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors. Tomlinson has been using his position to find and root out supposed “liberal bias” at the PBS and NPR—good pieces on his crusade and its fallout can be found here and here.
Lamb played a video clip of Bill Moyers, whose newsmagazine Now is receiving the brunt of conservative hostility, questioning the CPB’s decision to fund the Journal Editorial Report–a show featuring round table style discussions between members of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. (A public broadcasting insider recently told me that most people in PBS find the show “uninteresting,” describing it as a bunch of people who “all think the same, and are all in the same organization.” In some markets, the show only airs way out of primetime—like at 4:30 A.M.) So how did Tomlinson, who likes to portray himself as a misunderstood man merely in search of moderation respond?
Well, in the first place, you have to recognize for close to two years, the Moyers program stood almost alone as liberal advocacy journalism on Friday night. Public television, in my opinion, suffered mightily not having a center-right equivalent of the Moyers show.
And we undertook, just as it costs a lot of money to produce the old “Bill Moyers Now,” that was an hour-long show, we undertook to fund a conservative counterbalance to that show to fulfill the war — to fulfill the law.
Emphasis: mine. Freudian slip: his.