February 17, 2014 |
A few days ago the Public Broadcasting Service announced it was returning a $3.5-million grant it had received from a Texas billionaire to fund a series of documentaries about the "pension peril" -- the costs to cities and states of their public employee retirement obligations. PBS took the action after a report in the tech news website PandoDaily exposed the conflict of interest underlying the original donation. That was the good news. The bad news was that PBS had accepted the funding from a self-interested billionaire in the first place.
February 13, 2014 |
Pledge-break messages tend to be something that public television and radio audiences tolerate rather than welcome, but Steve Martin is riding to the rescue with a witty clip he shot for PBS stations to air during fundraising campaigns starting next month. “Hi, Steve Martin again,” he says at the top of the clip. “You know I'm not just asking you to make a pledge to PBS. I'm also asking my celebrity friends. Right now I'm going to text Tom Hanks, my big celebrity friend.” The response Martin reads when his cellphone dings isn't quite what stations look for, but the bit refreshingly avoids the stiff testimonials that typify these campaigns.
February 19, 2000
Re "Executive at CNN Taking Helm at PBS" (by Elizabeth Jensen, Feb. 7): I've watched KCET programming move progressively to the left, and with the naming of Pat Mitchell as president of PBS, that liberal bias appears likely to accelerate. The recent interview of President Clinton on the "NewsHour" exemplifies the liberal bias on PBS programs: a softball interview designed to provide a forum for Clinton to do what he does best--spin and lie. Obvious, tough follow-up questions were never asked.
July 24, 2005
Thanks to Robert Lloyd for a fun but well-written commentary about PBS ["PBS and Its Grand Ambitions," July 17]. I agree with his comments, especially regarding the "NewsHour." The only palpable left-leaning bias that existed on PBS was with Bill Moyers. Occasionally a leftward imbalance shows up on "Washington Week," but it isn't nearly as overbearing as it was until Mr. Moyers departed. However the issue I have with PBS isn't editorial as much as funding. I still don't understand why my tax dollars, which are taken by force of law, are needed to support entertainment television of any kind, especially when there is such a plethora of choices on the dial.
July 31, 2005
Reading Robert Lloyd's story about how public television ["PBS and Its Grand Ambitions," July 16] was created in 1967 as "a rebuke to free-market television" because the latter was depriving families of "a concert hall, a museum, a university, a forum," I was reminded of some of the schlock shows we peons of a certain age had to suffer through in front of our 19-inch screens when only three or four crassly commercial networks ruled. To name a few: Leonard Bernstein's "Young People's Concerts," Alistair Cooke's "Omnibus," "Playhouse 90," Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone," David Susskind's "Open End."
October 9, 2012 |
Mitt Romney has vowed to cut government funding for Big Bird and his PBS friends, but the results of a new poll indicate the Republican candidate is out of step with most Americans on this issue. A survey of 800 likely voters, commissioned by the Washington Times and conducted by the polling firm Zogby from Friday through Sunday, found that 55% of voters oppose cuts in spending to public television and consider it a “worthwhile” use of federal funds. In contrast, only 35% of voters believe “the government cannot afford to subsidize public television.” Although defunding PBS has been a conservative legislative priority since at least the mid-'90s , the poll's results suggest that public television enjoys more bipartisan support than, well, just about anything does these days.