Friday, July 27, 2007

PBS Ombudsman Admits to Bias on Moyers Show

Via Newsbusters, an admission from the official Ombudsman at PBS about a program from Bill Moyers that essentially promoted the impeachment of George Bush.
This is a subject that gets almost no national media attention, especially from commercial broadcast television. Many will argue, of course, that it doesn’t get attention because it isn’t going to happen; that it has virtually no political traction, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made clear. That is the conventional wisdom and it is probably true.

But I would argue that it is still a newsworthy topic. So, as a viewer, I’m grateful that it is being addressed. Impeachment is a process spelled out in the Constitution for citizens to use and, although rarely used, the program reminds us that it was used against President Clinton by the House of Representatives just a decade ago for essentially lying to a federal grand jury about his sex life.

On the other hand, there was almost a complete absence of balance, as I watched it, in the way this program presented the case for impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

The program featured two well-informed and articulate guests — Bruce Fein, a Constitutional scholar who wrote one of the articles of impeachment against Clinton, and John Nichols, the Washington correspondent for “The Nation,” a liberal magazine, and the author of a recent book on impeachment. The problem is that both guests favored moving ahead with impeachment proceedings.
We have posted before on the pervasive bias at PBS.

It’s nice that Getler will admit to a bias here.

But what of his point that it was “a newsworthy topic” and that it was good that it was “being addressed?”

In an academic setting, it’s dandy to consider proposals that could not possibly pass the U.S. Congress. It’s dandy to consider proposals that a vast majority of Americans oppose.

So why not on PBS?

The problem comes when far-out proposals that tickle the fancy of the left are considered, but far out right-wing proposals are not.

If Moyers is going to push a policy so extreme that even Nancy Pelosi won’t touch it, why not the hoary right-wing idea that we should get out of the United Nations?

Considering only pet leftist policies, and not pet rightist policies, is simply an attempt to move the discussion to the left.

So when is Moyers going to take up the notion that the U.S. should leave the U.N.?

And have a “liberal” and a conservative, both of whom favor the idea, discuss it?

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