While Kenneth Tomlinson’s war against PBS’ “liberal bias” is getting lots of mileage, traction, and other euphemistic momentum, the Columbia Journalism Review points out that most media outlets are ignoring Tomlinson’s primary conflict of interest.
Kenneth Tomlinson is the not only the chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he’s the chair of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors. Never heard of it? The BBG is the government agency responsible for “all government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting.”
That is, propaganda.
Like Alhurra, an Arabic-language satellite radio station broadcast in the Middle East. ("Dedicated to presenting accurate, balanced and comprehensive news!")
Or Radio Sawa, another satellite station aired in the Middle East. (” Radio Sawa seeks to effectively communicate with the youthful population of Arabic-speakers in the Middle East by providing up-to-date news, information and entertainment on FM and medium wave radio stations throughout the region. Radio Sawa is dedicated to broadcasting accurate, timely and relevant news about the Middle East, the world and the United States.")
Or how about Radio/TV Martí — the US government’s official mouthpiece in Cuba? A [translated] message from President Bush on the front page of that site reads:
“I’m pleased to send a greeting to all the Cubans as they celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the independence of Cuba. We honor the bonds, the faith, the religion and the heritage that unite us all.”
Smart money says that these stations have a conservative bias, no?
The Columbia Journalism Review points out that as the chair of the organization that oversees these government broadcasters, Tomlinson has an explicit conflict of interest. And no one seems to talk about that.
As almost all of the media coverage of the CPB case has failed to mention, in his role at the BBG, Tomlinson himself is a “federal employee” – yet he is explicitly trying to direct, shape, mold and supervise public telecommunications in his role at the CPB.
Tomlinson is a political figure in what should be the apolitical role of chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We deserve better. He should go.