Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey has collected 52 of his Democratic House colleague's signatures on a letter calling on Corporation for Public Broadcasting President Kenneth Tomlinson to resign.
Sixteen Democratic Senators, led by Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, both New York, wrote the President last week asking him to remove Tomlinson. Markey was waiting to collect as many signatures on his companion letter as possible before firing his espistle at Tomlinson.
"Mr. Tomlinson has politicized the nation's premier children's television network," said Markey and company in announcing that the letter had been sent, "[He has] jeopardized the future of public broadcasting with his partisan crusade to 'Republicanize' the programs that have brought America Clifford the Big Red Dog, Big Bird, the American Experience, and National Public Radio."
To Tomlinson, they said: "[W]e urge you to step aside in order to allow a person committed to the mission of CPB to rebuild what you have torn down."
Tomlinson has been criticized--including Congressional calls for Inspector General investigations--for, among other things, hiring an outside consultant to rate the bias of noncommercial programming and picking a former Republican National Committee chairman, Patricia Harrison, to head CPB.Tomlinson was not available for comment, but in response to the calls by Schumer et. al. last week, he said "There is no reason for me to step down from the Chairmanship of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I am confident that the Inspector General’s report will conclude that all of my actions were taken in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations and the traditions of CPB.”
Markey, Schumer, Clinton and others held a rally on Capitol Hill June 21 criticizing CPB budget cuts and Tomlinson's efforts to "balance" noncommercial broadcasting by adding conservative programming to the service.