PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler is pleased as punch in his "Ombudsman's Mailbag" to note that PBS was the only place on broadcast TV for people to enjoy three hours of prime time devoted to the Democratic convention. But even though many PBS fans naturally loved that, some remained in a highly agitated left-wing state that too many white males were ruining the stew. It's one thing to complain about the need for more minorities, but some of these letters to Getler were simply...bigoted:
There it was, again. A herd of bulls and Gwen giving feedback relevant to the speech of Senator Hillary Clinton. Feedback??? Nope. As usual, when men take center stage subsequent to a brilliant speech by a woman, what the viewing audience observes is stark criticism. There they were, utilizing the infamous one-sided brain response of all males. There they were, trying to hold more than one thought (sometimes referred to as multi-tasking) and failing miserably. WHY???
Why must my television screen be inundated by a herd of bulls when there are so many intelligent women able to give a much more in depth report on what I observed as Senator Hillary Clinton giving her all, fighting for her country and proud to be an American? Please, at least BALANCE the feedback subsequent to so fine a speech. -- Karen Jandebeur, Arcata, CA
Okay, maybe that's low-hanging fruit, coming from a California town known for its exotic left-wing worldview. (Googling suggests that maybe the capital letters and repeated punctuation marks should raise alarms when one teaches...anger management classes?) So sample someone from the convention's home in Denver:
Inane, Inane, Inane!!! Why in the world would you rely on all white males (with the exception of one Black historian) to be your commentators/interpreters on the DNC??? They have absolutely no insight or understanding of women's views and struggles to be involved in the political process let alone the views of African-Americans, Hispanics or others who do not look like them and have the privileged experiences they have.
David Brooks and Mark Shields nightly — give me a break from this insanity, the meaningless so-called analyses. Let Gwen, Judy and Margaret do more of the analyses (that's plural) instead of the usual female reporter stuff. Come on guys — and I mean guys — my family watches you because we don't want to see the inane networks or cable guys. But you've become one and the same — almost as bad as Jim's nightly NewsHour which increasingly includes only WHITE GUYS. -- Denver, CO
And here's another White Men are Clueless letter:
I'm watching the Democratic convention on PBS and I must say I'm offended by the sight of three old, white men pontificating on what African Americans and, especially, women are thinking! How about PBS including the occasional woman and/or African American among their "experts" from time to time, especially when they are discussing such issues? I can't judge how accurately they are reading the minds of African Americans, but I assure you that when it comes to women, they don't have a clue! -- Cherie, Culver City, CA
Some variants of this response are more amusing, like the woman who found it astonishingly sexist to keep ruining Hillary Clinton's speech with cutaway shots of Bill:
It seems that sexism is alive and kicking for Hillary Clinton, even in her last speech of the campaign and even on PBS. I was delighted by the excellence of both her content and her delivery, but I found myself disgusted by the REPEATED shots of Bill Clinton that interspersed your coverage. I understand that an occasional shot of a relevant person in the audience is an accepted television tradition, but would anyone like to do an analysis of HOW MANY times the camera cut away to him during her speech, compared to any other speaker in this convention? I was disappointed by the continuing double-standard that Hillary Clinton has had to deal with throughout this campaign. And I expected better of PBS. -- Christine Brown, Salem, NH
Finally, if this letter was not written and sent, someone who satirizes liberals for a living would need to send it in. Shame on PBS for stepping into the commercialism trap:
Why say 'from the Pepsi Center'? Why not 'from the Democratic Convention?' Consumerism for the sake of consuming is bad enough in our country. Big business is ruining our country because our Congress does not stand up to it. Shame on you for contributing a commercial during your coverage. -- Carolee Bier, Eastport, ME
Perhaps the gentle lady from Eastport turned off the television before the end of coverage. The signoff at the end of PBS's prime time coverage routinely brought "enhanced underwriting" announcements (some troublemakers call them "commercials.")