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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Too Much Left Not Enough Right

PBS Responds to FAIR Studies
Ombud echoes concerns, but producers question need to broaden sources

The PBS ombud and representatives of the public television programs studied in FAIR's new report, "Taking the Public Out of Public TV," have responded (10/21/10) to the research that shows an elite, inside-the-Beltway slant to the programs' guestlists.

As he has in the past (10/6/06), PBS ombud Michael Getler largely agreed with FAIR's analysis. "If you keep calling the same known and comfortable suspects, you pretty much know what you will get," Getler wrote in his October 21 column.

After noting that some of the programs feature women and people of color as reporters and hosts, he wrote:

I do, however, think that the PBS programming focused on by FAIR does have a diversity issue--one that is also covered in the FAIR report and which I have also referred to in earlier columns. It is the rather narrow band of commentary and analysis that is presented on these programs. I have made the point in previous columns that public affairs programming seems to operate within a rather safe comfort zone that straddles the center. Certainly that has its place, but there are huge disparities of opinion in this country about everything from the war in Afghanistan to the public option in healthcare and the strongest voices are not heard very often. Source

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