Public Broadcasting: Your
Taxes Fund Liberal Bias
When President Lyndon Johnson signed
the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the bill included language insisting
that fairness and objectivity should be observed in “all programming of a
controversial nature.” These words were routinely ignored on PBS
television broadcasts and NPR news programming. In 1992, Congress
toughened that language, and public broadcasters still ignored it. How
have PBS and NPR displayed a liberal tilt over the years? How have they
dealt with challenges to their taxpayer funding? Take a look at MRC’s
archive of articles for examples:
posted June 23, 2005
June 9, 2005 Media Reality Check: PBS on Tom DeLay: Favors "Virtual
Exhibit A of a liberal bias at PBS is still the program
Now, first hosted
by Bill Moyers, and now by David Brancaccio. On Friday night, the
blatantly partisan ghost of Moyers was still hanging over the broadcast in
an attack on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
May 4, 2005 Brent Bozell Column: Alleged Tilt at PBS
From the sound of the New York Times
front page on May 2, they must have been waving smelling salts in the face
of liberal reporters. CPB’s chairman was getting serious about assessing
accuracy and fairness on PBS.
February 22, 2005 Brent Bozell Column: PBS Is "Slightly" Liberal?
Liberal lobbyists inside and outside
PBS, including the New York Times editorial page, are once again trying to
convince the Congress to allow them to create a massive $5 billion
endowment so they may achieve "financial independence."
December 28, 2004 Brent Bozell Column: Bill Moyers, Hypocrite
Bill Moyers ended his tenure at the
show Now by raging against harsh attacks on conservative talk radio. But
no one has heaped more invective, waved more bloody shirts, and uncorked
more pure propaganda than Moyers in the last three years on his weekly PBS
14, 2004 Media Reality Check: Moyers Ends With A Silly Whimper
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers told the AP that he would end his show by
uncovering the major story of our time, the media's conservative bias: “We
have an ideological press that's interested in the election of
Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line.”
4, 2004 Media Reality Check: Gwen Ifill, No Moderate Moderator
Selected to moderate the
vice-presidential candidate debate, PBS Washington Week host Gwen Ifill
has boldly declared that Republicans conduct “procedural assassinations,”
that campaign “reform” opponents are like terrorists, and the Starr Report
is like a “truck bomb.”
September 29, 2004 Media Reality Check: Lehrer Favored Liberal Questions
PBS anchorman Jim Lehrer did not
have a promising record as a moderator. In the 2000 debates, Lehrer asked
about the need to end racial profiling and for greater control of gun
sales, but he found no time to challenge the two candidates from a
conservative direction on the divisive effects of racial quotas or the
failures of gun control, for example.
Best of Notable Quotables: Bill Moyers Sanctimony Award
In the most biased winning quote,
Moyers compares people who wear American flag pins on their lapels to the
Chinese communists who hallowed Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book.
November 11, 2003 Brent Bozell Column NPR’s Kroc-Pot Bubbles Over
NPR received a $200 million
contribution from the estate of liberal McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc. She
must have felt that putting her money on All Things Considered and Morning
Edition and Talk of the Nation was in line with the rest of her political
October 21, 2003 Brent Bozell Column: NPR Admits a Liberal Bias
NPR’s own official ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, admitted a liberal bias in
the daily program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Gross hosted a friendly,
giggly interview with "satirist" Al Franken, and a month later, provided
an accusatory, hostile interview to Bill O’Reilly.
2003 Media Reality Check: Can Moyers Be An Anchor And a Funder?
Stephen F. Hayes reported that
Moyers is doing something no commercial network would allow. He’s both the
taxpayer-supported network’s most prominent prime-time journalist, and he
moonlights as the President of the Florence and John Schumann Foundation.
Best of Notable Quotables: Bill Moyers (Subsidized) Sanctimony Award
In the winning, most biased quote, Moyers attacked the Heritage Foundation
for being soft on terrorism.
June 21, 2001 Brent Bozell Column: Another Pro-Gay PBS Summer
The documentary Scouts' Honor didn't need to have words beeped out, and it
didn't get graphic about gay sex. But it was a remarkable salute to Steven Cozza, a 16-year-old kid whose idea of fun is demeaning the Boy Scouts of
America at gay pride rallies.
2001 Media Reality Check: The One-Sided “Badge of Honor”
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers
produced a documentary slamming the chemical industry entitled Trade
Secrets. They said his complete omission of industry supporters from the
documentary was "journalistic malpractice." Moyers said their complaints
were “a badge of honor."
October 19, 2000 Brent Bozell Column: The Debates Tilted Left
If the 15 questions that Lehrer chose are in any way indicative of
mainstream political opinion, the "uncommitted" voters are stuck between
voting for Gore...or Ralph Nader. Eight of them may as well have been Gore
campaign press releases.
May 25, 2000 Brent Bozell Column: Incivility Reigns at PBS
On the PBS female-pundit show To The Contrary, host Bonnie Erbe insulted
conservative Linda Chavez on her need for a gun to defend herself: "you
have a greater chance of being struck by lightning, Linda, than living
where you live, and at your age, being raped. Sorry.
Media Reality Check: Lehrer Picks Pile of Liberal Questioners
PBS anchor and moderator Jim Lehrer
reported the questioners were "voters who were identified as being
uncommitted by the Gallup organization." Lehrer chose which of the more
than 100 people would ask questions. Only one asked a conservative
Media Reality Check: Lehrer Repeated Shaw’s Liberal Questions
Presidential debate moderator and
PBS anchor Jim Lehrer asked more liberal questions, mostly by repeating
the most liberal questions CNN’s Bernard Shaw asked at the vice
Media Reality Check: Stop the Church of St. James Lehrer
The media touted the fairness of PBS
anchor Jim Lehrer. He does have a "quiet, self-effacing style," as NBC
reported. He is not Bryant Gumbel. But his journalism has historically
followed the liberal pack.
October 14 Brent Bozell Column: Bill Moyers, Scaife of the Left
Reporter Frank Greve discovered that PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers is the
Scaife counterpart of the vast left-wing "campaign finance reform"
conspiracy, earning $200,000 a year as president of the Florence and John
Schumann Foundation, a major funder of campaign “reform” groups.
September 10 Media Reality Check: PBS Misleads Congress
A magazine reported "the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting acknowledged late Wednesday that CPB and PBS
executives provided inaccurate testimony to a congressional panel,”
claiming that they swapped direct-mail lists with Republicans. But the
swaps were only with Democrats.
July 20, 1999 Press Release: Partial Transcript of Testimony of MRC’s Tim
MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham testified before the House
Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade,
and Consumer Protection on the direct-mail list swaps between PBS stations
and the Democratic National Committee.
July 15 Brent Bozell Column: The PBS-Democrat Complex Is Exposed
For five years, PBS stations were
direct-mail list-swapping with the Democratic National Committee. Not only
do Republicans surrender their tax dollars to get defamed by liberal
programs, stations like WGBH take their tax dollars and helps the
Democrats with their direct-mail fundraising.
October 19, 1998 MediaWatch Review: Democrats Greedy, But GOP Worse
Bill Moyers returned to PBS after a long absence for the latest liberal
installment on October 6, titled "Washington’s Other Scandal."
apparently couldn’t stand the thought of devoting an hour to a President
lying to Congress, a grand jury, and the entire public, since it was "just
about sex.” It was another sermon for campaign finance “reform.”
October 16 Media Reality Check: Public Broadcasting, Still A Partisan Tool
Once again, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, who broke Anita Hill's unproven sexual
harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas in 1991 and compared her
Hill leaks to Watergate, covered the Paula Jones case as a politically
injurious "Clinton-bashing" enterprise.
February 26 Brent Bozell Column: PBS Remembers Reagan – For A Reason
PBS’s The American Experience remembered Ronald Reagan for winning the
Cold War, but without noting the war PBS waged on the Reagan foreign
policy, including live coverage of the Iran-Contra hearings. Its
domestic-policy minutes contained the same old liberal slurs.
January 6 Brent Bozell Column: Garrison’s Friendly Fire at NPR
Garrison Keillor, the star of public radio’s Prairie Home Companion, was
mad that PBS failed to be leftist enough. He would just as soon pull the
plug on public TV altogether: "I don't think there's any reason for public
television to exist anymore, I honestly don't.
November 1997 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: Washington Week in
Instead of live
coverage of congressional hearings into illegal fundraising, the PBS show
Washington Week in Review devoted parts of four shows to an analysis of
campaign funding. But instead of focusing on law-breaking, host Ken Bode
promoted campaign finance "reform."
November 13, 1997 Brent Bozell Column: The Profiteering Barney Scam
The makers of the PBS show Barney & Friends sued the “San Diego Chicken”
for copyright infringement. Barney the dinosaur was the third richest
entertainer on the Forbes list in 1994. What's gone utterly forgotten in
this story is that taxpayers paid millions to start Barney off.
July 24 Brent Bozell Column: Where’s PBS’s Gavel-to-Gavel Coverage?
PBS cleared the decks for live coverage of the Watergate hearings, the
Iran-Contra hearings, and the NPR-prodded kangaroo court known as the
Hill-Thomas hearings. But in the Clinton years, only four to six percent
of PBS stations covered Whitewater or Waco hearings, and PBS passed on the
Senate hearings into illegal Democratic fundraising from foreign donors.
June 12, 1997 Brent Bozell Column: Two New Developments of PBS
A former PBS president explores
the idea of running commercials on public TV, and Frontline does its first
Clinton-scandal hour on Asian fundraising and Oklahoma power politics.
February 6, 1997 Brent Bozell Column: NPR, Voice of Hypocrisy
National Public Radio hasn't
shrunk from presenting itself as the scourge of corporate bigotry, but
this champion of the onerous anti-discrimination regimes was pecked by the
chickens coming home to roost. NPR has been sued for race discrimination
and sexual harassment.
January 1996 MediaNomics Article: Donations Rise As
In 1995, Newt Gingrich's talk of zeroing out of federal funding, which
even haughty public broadcasters took seriously, led to station donation
increases of 15 to 40 percent.
December 5, 1996 Brent Bozell Column: Before You Pledge to PBS...
Read Laurence Jarvik’s book PBS: Behind the Screen.
November 1996 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: James Fallows on
James Fallows' book Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine Democracy
led a new, liberal attack on the media: too wealthy, too distant from the
common people, too conservative. So Frontline aired a Fallows-boosting
documentary titled "Why Americans Hate the Press.”
October 10, 1996 Brent Bozell Column: PBS Puts Its Power (And Your
Dollars) Behind Clinton
Frontline’s documentary on the presidential choice showed Bob Dole
as the dark figure from the harsh plains of Kansas whose mentor
was...Richard Nixon. Clinton, by contrast, was the seductive charmer from
the gentle terrain of Arkansas, who was like a Baptist minister.
October 1996 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: PBS Argues Media Out of
PBS funded -- without any rebuttal --
Hedrick Smith's four-hour documentary on how Washington works, The
People and the Power Game, which devoted the first hour to his claim
that Bill Clinton has been abused by the media, while Newt Gingrich
employed “extremist polemics.”
1995 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: All Things Ill-Considered
CBS's 60 Minutes aired a one-sided NPR-boosting segment with
accordion-playing grandmas in Sitka, Alaska, suggesting there is no effete
liberalism on NPR.
1995 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: Clinton Fails Liberal Litmus
Three months after a dramatic conservative electoral wave, PBS's Frontline
focused on how President Clinton had failed to be liberal enough in three
areas: gays in the military, campaign finance reform, and government
"investments" in job training.
1994 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: Moyers Confirms Bias
Bill Moyers' Journal featured a unanimous panel of nine experts who
believe wealth is ruining democracy. The Clinton administration always let
corporations win. Democratic bills on campaign-finance "reform" were
always too weak.
August 1993 MediaWatch Study: Stacking the Deck at Frontline
MRC analysts reviewed every new Frontline broadcast during the last three
seasons (72 programs) and found conservative arguments and experts were
completely ignored in eight programs on race relations and seven shows on
September 1992 MediaWatch Article: Mrs. Bush Fights Back
As PBS anchor Judy Woodruff pounded Barbara Bush about uncivil comments
made about Bill Clinton just before the GOP convention, the First Lady
took Woodruff to task: "Look, you're saying nothing nice ... where were
you during the Democrat convention defending us?
1992 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: Oops on the October Surprise
Frontline attempts a documentary digging out of its collapsed reporting on
the supposed Reagan-campaign conspiracy, but digs a deeper hole. (Scroll
down for more on this and on Bill Moyers.)
1992 MediaWatch Article: Bill "I Have No Agenda" Moyers
At a PBS press tour,
Moyers claimed conservatives have offered "no substantive analysis of my
work that would confirm their desire to label me, as I think he [David
Horowitz] said yesterday, 'a left-wing Democrat.'"
1991 MediaWatch Article: October Surprise Unravels
Newsweek and The New Republic debunked the Frontline claims of a 1980
Reagan-campaign conspiracy to delay the release of American hostages in
Iran for political gain. (Scroll down for PBS/NPR coverage of the Anita
Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings.)
August 1991 MediaWatch Article: Critics Love "Tongues Untied"
The PBS series P.O.V. (Point of View) aired the Marlon Riggs film Tongues
Untied, parading his gay lifestyle. With its profanity, frontal nudity,
large caricatures of penises, and gay lovers in bed, Tongues Untied displayed graphic sexual language and images, but liberal TV critics
rained praise on courageous PBS.
1991 MediaWatch Article: Moyers Roots for Democrats
Speaking at a Democratic Issues Conference, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers
declared his heart still pounds for the Donkey Party: "Down there in Texas
I was raised on mother's milk and Roosevelt speeches and over the years I
still cherish the party's defining stands."
December 1990 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: PBS Planet Panic
The ten-part PBS series Race to Save the Planet urged viewers to support
an "environmental revolution" of drastic government measures or face
"enormous calamities in a very short time." When asked why an opposing
view was not included, a producer declared, "There are ways of confusing
the public in putting ping-pong matches onto television which we did not
particularly think was useful."
1990 MediaWatch Article: Not Exactly Seoul Brothers
The six-hour series Korea: The
Unknown War hailed North Korea's Stalinist leaders for rebuilding "the
North's powerful industries. They improved the position of education and
September 1990 MediaWatch Article: Prisoners vs. Propagandists
After two years of dismissal, PBS
aired the anti-communist documentary Nobody Listened, when it could be
balanced by Saul Landau's film The Uncompromising Revolution. Landau
lauded Castro: "Fidel touched this young machine adjuster and the man
enjoyed a mild ecstasy. I know the feeling."
December 1989 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: "America's Century"
Harper's Editor Lewis Lapham was awarded a
six-part series loaded with liberals (five times as many liberals as
conservatives), and sulfurous in its attacks on American imperialism. In
supporting the Contras, President Reagan "sold out his oath of office and
subverted the Constitution."
October 1989 MediaWatch Article: One-Party PBS
In a PBS series titled The Struggle
for Democracy, Canadian journalist Patrick Watson claimed that "compared
with some African horror stories, Zimbabwe has to be a democratic success,
despite the one-party state."
MediaWatch Article: PBS: Only Liberals Allowed
While PBS aired plenty of liberal
fare, films with a different point a view were spurned. The Other Europe
by Jacques Rupnik and Soviets at the Crossroads were apparently
insufficiently optimistic about the Soviet Union. But old Moyers specials
1988 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: Joining the Christic Cause
The PBS documentary series Frontline
laid out the lawsuit of the leftist Christic Institute charging a "Secret
Team" of CIA operatives tried to assassinate a leader of the Nicaragua
Contra freedom fighters, with special attention to the conspiracy theories
of a liberal Senator named John Kerry.
January 1988 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award Article: Moyers on "God and
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers
complained about the growing conservatism of the Southern Baptist
Convention, but praised the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua as "a
movement that is fueled with Christian passion and Christian commitment."