NY Sun Shines Light On CPB: Scandal Is That The Government Is Funding Journalism at All

November 16th, 2005 11:19 AM
A New York Sun editorial (subscription may be required) notes the New York Times and a couple of (surprise) Democratic liberal senators are "in a lather over Kenneth Tomlinson's just-ended chairmanship at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They're particularly incensed over a report released yesterday by CPB's inspector general, for which [Democratic Senators] Dingell and Obey pressed, that suggests Mr. Tomlinson 'broke the law' in the course of pursuing his attempt to restore some balance to public broadcasting."

Indeed, the Times' report today is written by Stephen Labaton, who has previously filed many pro-PBS stories on Tomlinson's quest to bring political balance to public broadcasting, some of them relaying bad information, and none admitting the obvious liberal slant of PBS programming (Labaton wouldn't even call PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers a liberal, though he readily labeled the Wall Street Journal editorial page "conservative.")

The Sun goes on to make a broader point -- why, in this golden age of media diversity, is the government still in the journalism biz?

"The scandal is not that Mr. Tomlinson has sought to restore some balance to the political bias in public television and radio, which, to most Americans must seem tilted beyond recognition. The big scandal is that the government is funding journalism at all in an age when plenty of diverse programming is available in the free market. When did this become one of the delegated powers, the business of government? Why is this not an abridgement of the press? Where are the First Amendment purists?"

The Sun adds:

"The inspector general's report focuses on Mr. Tomlinson's allegedly improper attempts to use his position on CPB's board to influence programming decisions, including the decision to fund the Wall Street Journal program. It may be that in some technical sense Mr. Tomlinson committed a managerial misdemeanor in his zeal to give the public fair public broadcasting, although in a letter attached to the report, Mr. Tomlinson denies any wrongdoing and calls the report's conclusions 'malicious and irresponsible.' But if it's a misdemeanor to ensure that conservative views get a hearing in this government-funded public square, it only underscores that the real felony here is that the taxpayers are funding these channels and programs at all."

For more examples of bias from the New York Times, visit TimesWatch.