Jul 13, 2010

Was George Schultz doc funding too closely linked to former Secretary of State?

The funding of a documentary on former Secretary of State George Schultz is coming under scrutiny by The New York Times as well as FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). It's a three-part series titled "Turmoil and Triumph" that began on PBS Monday (July 12) and runs the next two Mondays, produced by Free to Choose Media.

Sources for financial backing for what the Times dubs "this tribute" include the Stephen Bechtel Fund (where Schultz was president for seven years, as well as a board member), and Charles Schwab (Schultz was a board member on the Charles Schwab Corp.). FAIR points out that this means the doc was "partially sponsored by corporations linked to Shultz's corporate career." And it cites several reviewers who commented that they thought the doc was overwhelmingly positive.

John Wilson, PBS programming chief, told the Times that PBS evaluates programs on their merits. "PBS has a vivid track record of covering this administration’s key players. It goes without saying this is not our first look at the Reagan White House and not the last."

FAIR, meanwhile, posted PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler's contact info and urged readers to call or e-mail him with their concerns.

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