Rehm, Smiley Got Political Checkup


Sen. Byron Dorgan is reviewing a 50-page analysis tracking the content of several public broadcasting news shows compiled at the request of Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson.

The intent of the analysis was to gauge the political opinions expressed by guests of NPR's Diane Rehm and TV host Tavis Smiley.

The analysis makes clear that Tomlinson's controversial search for liberal bias in public broadcasting extended beyond the CPB chairman's well-publicized concerns about Now with Bill Moyers.

Tomlinson did not volunteer that information during his own appearance on Rehm's show several weeks back, when his desire for more conservative programming on noncommercial public TV and radio was the topic of conversation.

Dorgan revealed that he had received the analysis from CPB last week, but limited his comments to passages concerning Moyer's program. The examination of other public broadcasting programs was first revealed by the New York Times.

Dorgan has not released the report and a spokesman said the North Dakota Democrat has not decided whether to make the analysis public. Specific findings on the Rehm and Smiley shows by consultant Fred Mann have not been disclosed.

Reading on the Senate floor from Mann's "raw data" on the Now show , Dorgan ticked off stories that had been labeled "anti-Bush," "anti-DeLay" (embattled House Speaker Tom DeLay) and "anti-corporation."

"That is not the prism through which we evaluate whether a program makes sense," Dorgan told his colleagues.