On its Twitter account today, PBS explicitly thanked MoveOn.org for their campaigning to "save public broadcasting" from the conservatives who would cut the budget of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
This certainly clashes with a story on Wednesday by Katy Bachman of AdWeek, in which executives expressed a slight embarrassment to be so fervently associated with the radical-left promoters of Bush-is-Hitler ads:
Public broadcasting executives appreciate the support—to a point. But several who spoke with Adweek wish MoveOn would have stayed quiet. They’re concerned that the group’s support will help opponents paint public broadcasting as a tool of the left wing, rather than a thoughtful, educational and often high-brow approach to news and culture.
“We’re embarrassed,” one exec said.
The MoveOn petition language sounds exactly like the PBS and NPR lobbyists: "Congress must protect NPR and PBS and guarantee them permanent funding, free from political meddling." What that means is that supposedly "public" broadcasting is supposed to be hermetically sealed by liberals from any attempt to question the fairness and accuracy of what PBS and NPR put on the air. It's considering "meddling" to try and enforce the spirit of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which called for "fairness and objectivity in all programming of a controversial nature." It's considered "meddling" for members of Congress to question whether public-broadcasting subsidies are being well-spent -- hence the call for "permanent" funding, as in some form of endowment that cannot be touched by politicians.
Bachman balanced her article with the impression all this PBS-MoveOn canoodling has created:
As if on cue, Brent Bozell, the founder and president of the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog, seemed to confirm public broadcasters’ worst fears. Bozell entered the debate by tweeting: “Earth to media reporters: If PBS and NPR subsidies are being promoted by MoveOn.org, doesn’t that hint at WHOSE media these are?”
Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, disagrees with that sentiment.
"When you look at the breadth of people talking about us right now, they aren't all left- or right-wing crazy people,” Kerger told Adweek. “MoveOn is out there, but so are others. It's a stretch to point to them and say, 'See, they're all one.’ It's a polarizing time, and there are some people who look for these opportunities."
It's rich for Kerger to talk about "polarizing" people at PBS, considering it's PBS that makes Frontline documentaries like its 2006 Dick Cheney documentary "The Dark Side." Their Twitter tag is precious: "PBS is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of people young and old. Join us here for conversation and sharing." Or join us here for left-wing lecturing and conservative-bashing.
In a new PBS video they promoted on their Twitter account, Kerger trots out the old talking points, with no regard for their veracity: PBS is “America’s largest classroom, the nation’s largest stage for the arts, and a trusted window to the world, all at the cost of about one dollar per person per year.”
She laments how PBS won't be able to help "underserved rural populations" and children who can't attend preschool. The presumption at the heart of all this talk is that somehow, without federal programming money, the entire PBS and NPR networks and bureaucracies would wither and blow away. Kerger doesn't feel the need to explain whether perhaps in today's digital age, you can still argue that "rural populations" are tragically "underserved" with TV or educational services.
Many Americans do not find PBS to be a "trusted window." It's a broken window, with PBS shoving broken glass at conservatives.