Battle Over CPB Chief, Round Two
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/25/2005 8:00:00 PM
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) board will name a successor to the controversial head of the organization—with another candidate who could also draw fire.
Outgoing board Chairman Ken Tomlinson, who drew strong criticism from the public-broadcasting community and some key legislators for what they see as pushing a Republican agenda, saw his role as balancing a liberal-programming bias.
Despite indications that veteran broadcaster Claudia Puig (Univision Radio) might be picked by midweek, most expected CPB board member Cheryl Halpern, who some say would continue the Tomlinson policy, to take over the post.
Tomlinson told reporters last week he had no regrets about his attempts to add conservative programming: “If I threatened the cozy atmosphere of public broadcasting over the failure to balance the liberal-advocacy journalism of Bill Moyers, so be it.”
In her confirmation hearing in 2003, Halpern said CPB should have more muscle to counter bias. “There has to be recognition that an objective, balanced code of journalistic ethics has got to prevail across the board, and there needs to be accountability,” she said, according to CPB mag Current at the time. “When that fails, guilty parties need to be penalized.”
There are currently five Republicans and three Democrats on the CPB board, with the public-radio seat (Democratic) vacant. Word is, moderate former Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.) is the choice for the seat and the nomination has been at the White House since July.
Pryor is seen as a tough but fair moderate who could bring more Blue State backbone to the board. Clue: He is the dean of the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark.
Two weeks ago, CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz gave key Hill staffers a three-hour briefing on his investigation into “deficiencies in policies and procedures” at CPB and said he would get them a preliminary report by Sept. 26. But last week, his office said no report to either Congress or the board would be coming out until late October.
Following a request last May by Reps. David Obey (D-Wis.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.), Konz is investigating whether Tomlinson violated the Public Broadcasting Act by commissioning an outside content analysis of the politics in Now With Bill Moyers—and other PBS shows—and by enlisting a White House staffer to help write rules for two new ombudsmen, one a former Reader's Digest colleague of Tomlinson's.
No related content found.
No Top Articles