Friday, June 17, 2005

Destroying PBS

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
Destroying PBS
Bush political operative says he'll erase bias at PBS... by inserting bias
AUSTIN -- I was watching the PBS science program "Nova" the other night and spotted the liberal bias right away. I knew it would be there because Ken Tomlinson, the Bush-appointed chairman of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), says the network is riddled with leftist leanings. Sure enough, in a program on tsunamis and what causes them, the show blamed it on shifting tectonic plates in the earth's surface. Then the graphic shows these two tectonic plates grinding against each other -- suddenly, the one on the left sort of falls down, and the big, aggressive plate on the right jumps on top of it, causing a killer tsunami. See? Wouldn't have happened on Fox.

I have listened patiently to years of right-wing bull about liberal bias in the media, but let us be perfectly clear about what is happening at PBS. Big Bird is not in favor of affirmative action. Bert and Ernie are not gay. Miss Piggy is not a feminist. "The Three Tenors," "Antiques Roadshow," "Masterpiece Theater," "Wall Street Week" and nature programs do not have a political agenda. "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" is biased in favor of boring, old, white guys who appear on painfully well-balanced panels. "Washington Week in Review" is a showcase for "Inside the Beltway," conventional wisdom, power-parroting, political-geekhead, Establishment journalism -- there is nothing liberal about it.

But there is a plot to politicize public broadcasting. It is plain as a pikestaff, and it is coming from the Right. It is obvious, undeniable and happening right now. The Bush administration is introducing a political agenda to public broadcasting....