Sunday, May 15, 2005

Static at CPB 

CJR Daily and Paul McLeary in particular have covered the recent coup at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with insightful detail. Kenneth Tomlinson, the former Readers Digest executive and longtime Republican Party propaganda expert at VOA, is now the Chairman of CPB. His censoring habits as the head of another board are now coming in for scrutiny.

In his latest piece on Tomlinson and CPB, McLeary writes:

“…it's curious that little of the coverage has mentioned that he is also the chairman of the influential Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all non-military U.S. international broadcasting. The BBG, which shares $1 billion in federal funding with the State Department, controls the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio and TV Marti, and the Middle East Television Network (MTN). While reporters who work for VOA and the other government-funded networks have long asserted that they are producing journalism, as opposed to government propaganda, given Tomlinson's performance at CPB, one wonders about the wisdom of putting him in a position to oversee both pro-government foreign broadcasting and non-partisan domestic broadcasting. While the two are certainly separate, this smells of a conflict of interest that might warrant some more press coverage…”

Let’s hope it does.

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