May 16, 2005

The progressive Capital Times in Madison, Wisc., recounts Bill Moyers' Sunday speech at the National Conference on Media Reform in St. Louis, his first public response to CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson's well-documented quest for "balance." "I should put my detractors on notice," Moyers, 70, said. "They might compel me out of the rocking chair and into the anchor chair." Regarding Tomlinson's claim he kept his investigation of Now secret to protect PBS' image, Moyers said, "Where I come from in Texas, we shovel that stuff every day." Democracy Now! airs much of the speech in its Monday broadcast, and has posted a partial transcript on its website. More coverage in The Nation and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson worked to initiate outside studies of public radio as well as TV, the New York Times reports. "Late last year, without notifying board members or NPR, Mr. Tomlinson contacted S. Robert Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a research group, about conducting a study on whether NPR's Middle East coverage was more favorable to Arabs than to Israelis," according to the report. Tomlinson, also head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees international broadcasting programs such as Voice of America, has continued to block NPR programming from a U.S.-owned Berlin station in favor of programming "offered by a European business executive that includes newscasts produced by the Voice of America," the Times reports. "It certainly calls into question where his allegiance lies," said NPR Chairman Tim Eby.