Saturday, April 23, 2005

Who is this guy?

The new Chief Executive of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting quoted in the NY Times Magazine:

I'm not much of a TV consumer. Yes, Lehrer is good, but I don't watch a lot of broadcast news. The problem for me is that I do the Internet news stuff all day long, so by the time I get to the Lehrer's slow...Sometimes I really just want a People magazine.

So maybe he should be the editor of People magazine.

Ken Ferree is replacing Kathleen Cox, who was fired two weeks ago following conservative objections to a "Postcards from Bunny" episode (never aired except on WGBH) in which Buster visits a lesbian couple.

Ferree admits that he doesn't watch much PBS or listen to NPR, but he has big plans for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. One of those plans is a video game to teach teenagers civics. Wow, that opens up a lot of interesting possibilities.

How about a segment on what Republicans do when their Majority Leader takes dirty money from a "lobbyist" who bilks over $80 million from Native Americans while referring to them as morons and troglodytes.

Civics episode #1: When you break Senate ethics rules, change the rules.

Civics episode #2: When the going gets tough, cop a holier-than-thou attitude, and blame the nation's troubles on "activist" judges.

Oh no...that won't do. I forgot. One of Ferree's other big plans is to create more programs that appeal to conservatives - and by "conservatives," Ferree means Republicans.

Ferree's appointment to the top spot at the CPB is another grave assault on public broadcasting. PBS' Chief Executive, Pat Mitchell, has taken a lot of heat from Republicans and announced recently that she would resign next year.

The attitude that public broadcasting should consciously, deliberately try to appeal to a partisan audience is totally contrary to its mission. CPB and PBS executives need to get religion on this issue, and challenge their detractors. PBS and NPR, notwithstanding highly exaggerated criticisms, are not partisan organizations. They exist to provide a depth of coverage, stories and views that can't be found anywhere else. I've written more about the attack on PBS is an earlier post.

A WGBH station representative presented a letter to the Washington Post written by a Marine in Iraq who defended the station, writing:
I don't fight for white, conservative, middle class, heterosexual Americans...I fight so that all can enjoy our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Buster critics pay no attention to the fact that, in other episodes, Buster visited Mormons in Utah, Hmong in Wisconsin, people from the Gullah culture in South Carolina, an Orthodox Jewish family and a Pentecostal Christian family.


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