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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Getler’

Liberal Criticism of PBS Too Quick To The Draw

111pbs.jpgTavis Smiley Ends Racism” reads a Gawker post today about the PBS host, but they’re not talking about The Covenant with Black America editor bringing people together.

Instead, the article is about Tavis Smiley‘s decision to end his 10-year-old State of the Black Union conference, which some would argue is inherently race-related (though how it may be “racist” is a different matter entirely, based mostly on Smiley’s previous criticism of Barack Obama). This news comes barely a week after PBS ombudsman Michael Getler addressed readers and explained that there’s a difference between something being on public television, and it being distributed by PBS, as viewers emailed to complain about the station being in bed with a George W. Bush institution in producing a series called “Ideas For Action.”

In fact, it is EPS (Executive Program Services, run by several ex-PBS staffers) which is distributing and co-producing the series, though the shows will be shown on public television.

Though it may seem like a splitting of hairs in both of these cases, the anti-PBS rhetoric of late seems bent towards liberal blogs (The Huffington Post, Gawker), ironically reinforcing the idea that only left-wing writers pay attention to public television in the first place.

Read More: APNewsBreak: Smiley Ends State of the Black Union –AP/The New York Times

Another Case of ‘It’s on PBS, but It’s Not PBS’ –PBS Ombudsman

George W. Bush Institute To Co-Produce Public Television Show “Ideas In Action” –Huffington Post

Tavis Smiley Ends Racism –Gawker

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Is Bill Moyers Unbalanced? No, Says Bill Moyers

moyers_072307.jpgAfter being blasted by PBS ombudsman Michael Getler for failing to provide an opposing view in his calls to oust Bush, Bill Moyers countered the attack with:

July 24, 2007

Dear Mr. Getler:

I respect your work and your role, but I disagree with you about “balance.” The journalist’s job is not to achieve some mythical state of equilibrium between two opposing opinions out of some misshapen respect — sometimes, alas, reverence — for the prevailing consensus among the powers-that-be. The journalist’s job is to seek out and offer the public the best thinking on an issue, event, or story. That’s what I did regarding the argument for impeachment.

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Is Bill Moyers Unbalanced?

moyers_072307.jpgBill Moyers has been the subject of conversation in media circles for a few weeks now. He elegantly eulogized Lady Bird Johnson last week. Before that, he savaged Rupert Murdoch on the possibility of his ownership of the Wall Street Journal. Now, Murdoch — an old hand to charges of bias — is being blasted by the PBS ombudsman online for his Impeachment program, where he failed to provide a counterbalance for calls to oust President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. “There was almost a complete absence of balance,” is how the ombudsman put it. The show featured John Nichols, author of Dick: The Man Who Is President, and Bruce Fein, also no friend of the President.

Granted, a meditation into whether or not PBS’ “lightening rod/icon” Bill Moyers of Bill Moyers Journal is biased is real navel-gazing 3AM-in-the-morning-on-C-SPAN stuff. Still, when PBS ombudsman Michael Getler takes the time to craft an online rebuke, it made us think about Moyer’s Friday the 13th Impeachment show. Might Bill Moyers, former personal assistant to LBJ, divinity student, have trouble with balance on his show? Getler writes, “My views on Moyers and his programs are mixed, and perhaps not very helpful or satisfying to viewers who are hard over one way or the other about Moyers and his programs.”

While the American conservative movement has always regarded Moyers as a bete noir, no one would accuse the PBS ombudsman of any such agendas.

— Ron Mwangaguhunga

  • The Ombudsman’s Mailbag [PBS]