All you have to do is listen to right-wing talk radio (well you don’t have to and probably should not) and you will know that the right wing, especially the hard right, hate PBS. To them is it socialist or communist broadcasting. Or at the least they say it has a left-wing slant to everything.
It’s instructing that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose Big Bird, well actually PBS itself, as his first example of budget cutting he would do. He told presidential debate moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS that he would pull the plug on federal funding for PBS, even though allowing as how he actually likes Big Bird and even Lehrer.
But I am now wondering whether Romney was actually trying to intimidate Lehrer before what was a most important performance for Romney, who went into the match up as the underdog (but came out the winner in this round).
And was he trying to intimidate PBS itself into giving him better or more favorable coverage between now and election day?
Seriously. I don’t know what Romney really thinks of PBS (he may have been just waving red meat for the far right), but it might be that he thought his declaration (a threat if you will) might cause Lehrer to go easy on him. Lehrer not only went easy on him, he did on Obama too (of course it is difficult to tell the President of the United States his time is up — in the debate that is).
Lehrer has been faulted for losing control of the debate. I’ve seen a lot worse (come of think of it, hasn’t he moderated before and lost control?).
I think poor Lehrer would have been damned if he did and was damned that he did not on this one, retain control that is. For sure if he had cut Mr. Romney off he would have been accused of having that liberal media bias. And it’s difficult, as I already mentioned, to tell the elected president he must stop talking. I think Obama went over the time limit a little more than Romney.
But this thing the right-wing nuts (not necessarily all on the right) have against PBS I think can be explained because PBS cannot be bought and has a bad habit of going into too much detail and analysis on issues.
It is a fact that the best broadcast source of news and information and background in the United States is PBS (and NPR radio), which does receive federal and private funding and individual listener and viewer donations. PBS and NPR are the best sources of balanced and complete detailed coverage of the news and public policy (along with entertainment and educational programming).
Curiously, the BBC in Britain is probably the best source of complete world news (and it is government funded in Britain), and it is carried on many NPR stations.
Our traditional commercial broadcast networks in the USA do not do as good a job as they used to and let bottom-line money concerns run their programming, which does not work in news. They used to run news at a loss for the prestige of the thing, that is until they discovered it could be a profit center if jazzed up a bit.
Yes, even a good newspaper has to separate its business concerns (ad revenue) from its news and/or editorial policy.
And then there is the right-wing favorite, Fox News. It is the answer to what for years has been perceived as the left wing bias in the mainstream media.
Fox News is not terribly credible to say the least, and does a poor job of hiding its right-wing bias, to say the least.
Of course so much of the or most of the so-called news reporting today from all media sources (to exclude newspapers for the most part) is simply opinion blended with news reporting that it almost seems acceptable what Fox does.
(I actually remember taking journalism classes and working for editors where it was insisted that opinion and straight news reporting must be kept separate and that opinion pieces had to be clearly marked. One weird hybrid was called a news analysis, but even it had to be marked. I am not sure that is the case today, even in traditional print journalism, what there is left of that).
That word “media” that right-wing people and everyday citizens use to stand for journalism always grates on my ears. People seem to really believe there is some monolithic organization called “the media”, maybe in Orwellian fashion, whose mission it is to brain wash the public in order to create one-world authoritarian government under the banner of socialism.
Maybe in a sense there is some collusion, because so many of these people go to the same schools and the same social gatherings and so on. In fact, there is always a danger that they hang out so much with those they cover they become captured by the system.
Okay, I don’t think I am making a good argument or a good point here. It is going down hill.
But I myself was once a part of the “media”, albeit is a small way. But when I worked as a reporter I had no agenda other than covering the news in the most unbiased fashion I could. But I was out to get the lying politicians and bureaucrats, I admit, no matter which side they were on.
I agree that you have to take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt and just try to get as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision. The internet in many ways, despite the amount of garbage on it (please don’t include this blog), has made that job a lot easier and more possible.
But it is still difficult. I mean I listened to that debate between Romney and Obama and got lost in all the back and forth on taxes and Medicare and Obamacare. And then I read the fact check articles and realized that it was a lot of mixing apples and oranges and context and sales puffery and maybe some good old-fashioned lying (and the fact checkers found some fault with both men, but I think more with Romney).
Running for office is a lot like a guy trying to snag a girl. Just say what they want to hear.
This liberal bias thing:
It would seem that anyone who went to college and was exposed to a wide range of ideas and information about the world might tend to be more open-minded than the current brand of American conservatism might allow. But not everyone interprets things in the same way and some people prefer to stick with the status quo.