June 26, 2005


The Armstrong Williams NewsHour (FRANK RICH, June 26, 2005, NY Times)

The intent is not to kill off PBS and NPR but to castrate them by quietly annexing their news and public affairs operations to the larger state propaganda machine that the Bush White House has been steadily constructing at taxpayers' expense.

Mr. Rich comes surprisingly close to a genuine insight here. The reality is that NPR and PBS are cogs in the statist propaganda machine. Republicans would be happy to either destroy or co-opt them, but would settle for just neutralizing them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 26, 2005 9:17 AM

Such comment also suggests that Mr. Rich is less offended by propaganda in general than by whom it services.

With the onset of cable channels, satellite radio, and the multifarious arms of the Internet, one can no longer honestly claim (and it's arguable you EVER could) that the public channels provide a voice that would otherwise not be heard. PBS' most useful function, its children's programming, has at least half-a-dozen rivals on commercial cable - and if you think Sesame Street or Arthur couldn't find a commercial outlet willing to carry it, you'd be very mistaken. If its goals aren't being realized, the only function public broadcasting can perform IS propaganda; certainly the stations that sold their pledge lists to Democratic candidates in 2000 were aware of this.

If this plays out the way it could, we could end up either with a more responsive public broadcasting, or with none at all. I can't say I'd be adverse to either possibility.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at June 26, 2005 10:10 AM

Meanwhile this is the sort of inflamatory nonsense we are getting served up:


Posted by: Brandon at June 26, 2005 10:14 AM

I'd be considerably less agitated by this line of thinking if only liberals would admit that NPR and PBS are hugely biased against conservatives (Bill Moyers, Juan Williams, hello?), that they like it that way, and that their principles incline them to support some form of news that is not responsive to market pressures.

But no, when a Clinton appointee upholds his clear Congressional directive and works to lessen the blindingly-obvious slant of socialized news, we get philippics against the right-wing march through the institutions.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 26, 2005 12:58 PM