April 24, 2005

A Vast Wasteland, redoubled

Oh dear God in heaven. There goes PBS. From an interview in the NYT Magazine with the new interim president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:

As the chief executive of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, you've been said to represent the growing influence of conservative politics in public TV and radio.

Believe it or not, we don't discuss politics here. We're just trying to get money into the public broadcasting system in the most efficient and intelligent way we can.

But who can deny that politics has crept into the process? Your predecessor, Kathleen Cox, was axed just two weeks ago, supposedly because she had incurred the wrath of conservative groups. Recently, they were outraged by an episode of ''Postcards From Buster,'' which was never shown, in which the animated bunny visits a friend who lives with a lesbian couple.

All I know is that on Friday afternoon the board chairman came in and asked if I would serve as interim president. I had no idea until the 11th hour that this was happening. I don't know what led to what.

Do you worry that these sorts of incidents will alienate the old left-leaning PBS loyalists?

Well, maybe we can attract some new viewers.

You mean viewers who are more conservative?

Yeah! I would hope that in the long run we can attract new viewers, and we shouldn't limit ourselves to a particular demographic. Does public television belong to the Democrats?

Of course, many liberals also gripe about PBS. Maybe the real problem is a lack of creativity.

We're working on that right now. We have a new initiative we call ''American History and Civics.'' There's been a long decline in teenagers' knowledge of civics. So we're going to put our TV dollars into new programming that will not be TV-centric.

How can TV not be TV-centric?

It uses new media. Interactive media. Games.

There's more, including this fascinating note: the new President of the CPB doesn't watch PBS or listen to NPR.

Via Anne's comments in this Brad DeLong post.

Posted by Linkmeister at April 24, 2005 05:22 PM

I heard something about this on NPR (Fresh Aire, I think). Well, since pulling federal funds didn't kill public TV or Radio, maybe this will.

** checks to make sure she's made her contribution ... **

We just can't have nice things.

Posted by: shelley at April 24, 2005 08:01 PM

Well, at least in the interview he's conscious of his demographic:

"Duuuuuude, who has time for public broadcasting? I want my MTV. Excuse me now. I gotta get down to Daytona for 'Bike Week'... later."

Posted by: Solonor at April 25, 2005 01:32 AM

I've heard lots of carping about NPR for their pope coverage - "you only said nice things about him and never balanced it with any disagreements that he had!" which could be true depending on how much NPR you listened to. I did hear a bit of "not everyone loved him" but the marjority was all niceness. But then that seems normal, given who they were talking about. I mean, it's not like the medua nice overload that went on after Nixon died.

Meanwhile send me your email address so I can make sure you're on the mailing list!!!

Posted by: batty at April 25, 2005 11:27 AM

Did I read that right. . . A friend of Karl Rove is in charge CPB ?? Isn't he the guy who "outed" that CIA Agent married to the "former" ambassador ?? That SOB should be in PRISON !!!!! and his friends.... in line at the soup kitchen !

Posted by: Walter Meyer at May 2, 2005 05:09 PM

Why is anyone suprized? This is what they said they would do. 1984 came late. Into the memory hole goes reality

Posted by: d. brown at May 2, 2005 09:53 PM

I think it is pretty sad when people have to go to the 'blogs' to find out what is really happening not only in America but in the rest of the world.

Reporting should be unbiased...both sides of the question should be discussed and the people can make up their own minds on the 'believable' or the 'unbelievable'.

Posted by: Frances Greenfield at May 3, 2005 03:57 AM