Does the USA Really Have Public Broadcasting?

pbs anchors
"Anchors," indeed!

One look at PBS or listen to NPR screams the answer.  There are corporate sponsors on which the “public” endeavors are made to rely.  These sponsors run ads in the “public” media they sponsor.  In a nation of immense class and race polarity, where illegal wars, the world’s highest incarceration rate, and mass unemployment never end, we get Antiques Road Show and Nightly Business Report and the stuffedest of stuffed shirts mimicking corporate TV news on the one and only “public” television network?

In any event, the obviousness doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to analyze the beast’s behaviors.

Toward that end, take a look at this from FAIR.

4 Replies to “Does the USA Really Have Public Broadcasting?”

  1. MD, Why ask the question?
    PBS was a joke back in my parents’ day,a and it is a corporate behemoth now – so how many FAIR intern-hours did it take to note the race/gender/military backgrounds of shows that nobody in their right mind should ever watch – McNeil/Lehrer (is one of them dead?)Pentagon Report and Washington Inertia Week in Review? Did any one of the FAIr people ask themslves why they are wasting their lives substantiating the obvious?
    JFK”s hatchet man turned liberal preacher Bill Moyers might be the progressive’s patron saint (as in he’s dead to the PBS air now also), but FAIR should give their attention to the only station with any substance, Free Speech TV, and relinquish this fantasy of “correcting” PBS. Once taken over by the corporate virus, “public” entities do not recover their integrity. PBS is dead.

  2. Martin, I’m pretty sympathetic to doing such criticism. That’s not because I think PBS is correctable from within the status quo. It’s because I think it’s important to document how things work at present, on the theory that such lessons might someday be taken up by a last-ditch mass social movement for a sustainable and livable form of modern society.

    In any event, PBS and The Nausea Hour have tried to rebut FAIR.

    Funny shit from Linda Winslow, TNH’s top overseer:

    “As in its previous studies of the PBS NewsHour (1990 and 2006), FAIR seems to be accusing us of covering the people who make decisions that affect people’s lives, many of whom work in government, the military, or corporate America.”

    This is actually pretty strong and pure evidence of the existence and importance of Herman and Chomsky’s “sourcing” filter.

    In Winslow’s well-disciplined mind, to cover the elite, you must ask the elite. That’s just about exactly what the filter dictates, isn’t it?

  3. FAIR can do as it pleases, and for an outfit that does yeoman’s work but pushes no boundaries, I’ll let them pass by.
    I, however, can not imagine sitting there going : there’s a black guy, there’s a white woman, there’s a Hispanic military, there’s 37 white men. The diversity con was sold brilliantly in the now metastasizing Obama debacle, wherein figureheads of different hue advance the corporate criminal agenda to unseen heights. The problem is fundamental, not ornamental, so why give these PBS clowns the incentive to trot out some gibbering Pentagon “black” loon to say: look how far we’ve advanced, America!

  4. Martin, I don’t think we disagree. And diversity has certainly deflected attention from class, which as MLK saw, is now the core engine of the racial chasm that still plagues this country.

    Nonetheless, I still think it’s important to catch these PBS managers admitting they presume that covering the elite requires elite news sourcing.

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