June 22, 2005


Democrats Call for Firing of Broadcast Chairman (STEPHEN LABATON, 6/22/05, NY Times)

Sixteen Democratic senators called on President Bush to remove Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting because of their concerns that he is injecting partisan politics into public radio and television.

"We urge you to immediately replace Mr. Tomlinson with an executive who takes his or her responsibility to the public television system seriously, not one who so seriously undermines the credibility and mission of public television," wrote the senators.

They included Charles E. Schumer of New York, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Jon Corzine and Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California.

Also on Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers joined other supporters of public broadcasting, including children and characters from PBS children's programs, to protest House Republicans' proposed cuts in financing for the corporation.

As Brother Turley points out, the picture makes the story. The characters shown are an indicator of just how bad the programming has gotten.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 22, 2005 8:52 PM

It gets better. He's a Clinton appointee.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 22, 2005 9:17 PM

Fire Tomlinson, then disolve the Corporation.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 22, 2005 10:03 PM

At this point, our local PBS affiliate plays kids stuff in the morning (Sesame Street, etc.) that is also available on a cable station called "Noggin" and in the evenings they either run some sort of pop music show (everything from Nat Cole to Dean Martin to Bobby Darin to some bad 70's band) or Ken Burns' latest snooze-umentary. I'm not sure what public good PBS is serving in a world of 400 niche cable stations, including History Channel, A&E, Discovery, etc...all of which are run as for-profit businesses, but seem to show more intelligent programming than PBS.

Posted by: Foos at June 22, 2005 10:54 PM

Those pop music reunions are omnipresent and they just blow.

Posted by: oj at June 22, 2005 11:01 PM

It's really tough slogging through the politics when you have to compete with C-SPAN and the Gilligan's Island Channel.

I am amazed that they didn't get McCain or Hagel to gum up the works and make it a smarmy shade of bipartisan. Who would ever think a bunch of Democrats would (acting like stooges in a Karl Rove plot) sign a petition to defend PBS from becoming less Democratic (note the large D) ? But then again, we all have our standards.

Posted by: Neo at June 23, 2005 12:40 AM

So they claim that they don't need the gov't subsidy, because its only a few percent of their total budget, but if it gets taken away, they'll be forced to fold the shows that are their biggest moneymakers. This is economics as understood and practiced by adults who still live in Mom's basement.

And I like the way the PBS stations will play the same show multiple times every [expletives deleted] week for months on end. Around here its "Alone in the Wilderness", which is on right now. Or how about their playing ancient commercial channel reruns like "The Lawrence Welk Show"?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 23, 2005 1:43 AM

This is economics as understood and practiced by adults who still live in Mom's basement.

Actually, it's public relations as understood and practiced by experienced bureaucrats. When faced with budget cuts, always put your most essential or popular offering on the block first. With any sort of luck the outcry will be such that you end up with an increase of funds.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 23, 2005 2:03 AM

At least Alone in the Wilderness is a fantastic program. I've watched it 3 times in the last month. I think I've watched The American Experience> once during that time. That summerizes my entire PBS experience over the last several weeks.

Posted by: Patrick H at June 23, 2005 5:17 AM

If it's not Mystery!, I'm not watching PBS.

Posted by: Bartman at June 23, 2005 11:46 AM