The Left Turns: FAIR Endorses Unplugging Public Broadcasting

by on October 5, 2005

The other day, a report came out from an inflential media advocacy group advocating “unplugging” the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and making it independent of the federal government. Such calls, of course hardly cause a ripple when they are made by conservatives or liberations (even here at TLF). But this particular report was from FAIR – Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting–a certifiably Leftie group that campaigns against conservative bias in the media. (With–until recently–stunning success, it seems. Of course, they don’t see it that way.)

Anyway, FAIR is fed up with CPB, now that it is led by conservatives, such as Ken Tomlinson, its chairman. Tomlinson has been pushing to balance public broadcasting’s output–which has been famously left-leaning for years. (They see Tomlinson, of course, as pushing for conservative bias in public broadcasting.)

FAIR’s solution: to cut CPB off from the federal government, making it an independent foundation. Enough of trying to “save” CPB, they say. The only way to protect public broadcasting is to cut it free of meddling (conservative) officials. They write:

Media activists, independent producers and public broadcasting advocates need to ask themselves whether CPB funding is needed to keep public broadcasting afloat–or whether that government support compromises the very independence of PBS and NPR, and prevents them from ever fulfilling their promise.


Bravo. That’s exactly what conservatives–who for decades have struggled to have their views fairly represented in the government’s broadcasting outlets–have argued for years. Now that the shoe is on the other channel, FAIR is joining us. Nice to have them on board.

Strangely, FAIR suggests funding tthe newly independent CPB with a dedicated 5 percent tax on other broadcasters. To my untrained eye, that looks a lot like continued federal funding. But I won’t quibble. FAIR is new at this privatization thing, and I’m just happy they’ve gone as far as they have.

And, just in case you think the entire Great Left-Wing Conspiracy has turned around, take a look at The Nation magazine, and its idea for public broadcasting. The way The Nation sees it, public broadcasting provides an unfair advantage to conservative outlets like the Wall Street Journal by featuring its staffers on shows. Therefore, The Nation is urging that a new “The Nation” show be started. Many of the magazine’s staffers are “seasoned television performers,” it hopefully points out, and promises that its show would be “interesting, enlightening, and entertaining.”

Well, I’ll grant entertaining at least. All in all, just one more reason to unplug CPB entirely.

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