Magazine article Insight on the News

Are PBS and NPR Partisan to the DNC?

Magazine article Insight on the News

Are PBS and NPR Partisan to the DNC?

Article excerpt

Are Republicans masochists or simply suckers when. it comes to funding public broadcasting and its anti-Republican bias? Year after year, Republican legislators appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to public radio and television broadcasters, who return the favor by promoting the agendas of their political opponents.

During the 1992 presidential elections, for example, public television ran two hour-long shows charging that former presidents Bush and Reagan "stole" the 1980 election by cutting a deal with the Ayatollah Khomeini to delay the release of American hostages in Iran. There was no opportunity given the Republicans for rebuttal. (Nor were any corrections offered by PBS when the "October Surprise" was dismissed by a Democratic-controlled congressional committee. A year earlier, PBS ran a one-and-a-half-hour documentary on Iran-Contra by Bill Moyers that accused President Reagan of "high crimes and middemeanors." There was no opportunity for a Republican version of this history or a rebuttal of Moyers's partisan message.

Also during the 1992 campaign, PBS ran six hours of programs by Moyers, a former Johnson speechwriter, and his fellow Democrat William Greider on how badly the country had fared under 12 years of Republican administrators. There was no opportunity given to Republicans for rebuttal. There were no shows about the unprecedented expansion of opportunities for Americans during the prosperity generated by the policies of the Reagan years.

This is just a sampling of the taxpayer-funded programs on public radio and television that helped put the Democrats back in the White House. Given this bias, it is hardly surprising that staffers at public station WGBH-TV in Boston, who were reporting the election results for PBS, cheered on camera when they learned Clinton went over the top.

This political partisanship is a direct violation of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which requires that taxpayer-funded public affairs shows be strictly balanced and fair. To rectify this, Congress took action in June 1992 to remind public broadcasters of their responsibilities under the law. Led by Republican Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, Congress enacted amendments to the reauthorization bill that required the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to review its programming and take steps to balance its product.

In the two years that have elapsed since this mandate, the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has refused to examine programming and carry out this mandate. …

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