In a response to the unfortunately sparse coverage of the witch-hunt targeted at former Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Ken Tomlinson, the Wall Street Journal editorial page has struck back in his defense against CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz. Some of the accusations against Tomlinson revolve around his support for a news show developed by the Journal in an attempt to keep the network from careening off the leftmost edge of reality, so the editors know whereof they speak.

The real story is that Mr. Tomlinson was a rare political appointee who took seriously CPB's mandate to pursue balanced programming. As even Mr. Konz concedes in his report, under federal law CPB is required to review "national broadcasting programming for quality, diversity, creativity, excellence, innovation, objectivity and balance." And he also concludes that "CPB's actions were consistent with their responsibilities under the Public Telecommunications Act of 1992."

Most nominees to these broadcast boards enjoy the perquisites of the job and do nothing. An avowed conservative, Mr. Tomlinson sought to restore balance to a PBS lineup he saw as skewed left, especially the "Now" program with Mr. Moyers that had become the cornerstone of PBS's public-affairs lineup in the wake of 9/11. Moreover, he did so openly, appearing everywhere this spring to make his case. He was similarly open about his support for the Journal program. ...

Some of our friends think it was a mistake to attempt a show on PBS given our opposition to its funding over the years. And let's be clear: We haven't changed our minds. If there ever was a need for PBS, there isn't now in a world of hundreds of TV channels. But as long as PBS exists, we don't see any reason that its prime time public-affairs programming should be a satrapy of Bill Moyers and a single point of view. If Mr. Tomlinson made a mistake, it was in believing that "public broadcasting" is supposed to represent all of the public.

Most people probably don't care a whit about public broadcasting, which I suppose is yet another reason for it to be abolished, but if we've got to have it I don't think it's wrong to expect it to actually be objective rather than to spew leftist propaganda.



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