A FAIR Share?

The organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has criticized public media — as reported here — for its conservative leanings, not the “liberal bias” that the right has conjured up in its legerdemain as part of its design to control the agenda. In particular, it chided the “public media” for suspect behavior where donations make it beholden to corporate interests, saying, “What is needed is a call for public broadcasting to fulfill its mission, bringing independent, provocative programming that features voices ignored or marginalized by the commercial media.”

Jack Balkwill of LUV Media takes it ten steps further, saying NPR toadies to the multinationals that provide funding, banning the mention of single-payer health care, trumpeting the benefits of outsourcing for the unwashed masses (reported here), and beating the drums leading up to war in the Middle East. “It is now,” he says, ” just corporate darkness and propaganda at the local NPR stations” (reported here).

Now, in this posting, FAIR takes on the PBS and the show Charley Rose, where “viewers are hearing only from supporters of the center-right plan to cut spending and lower taxes for the wealthy”:

The first Charlie Rose discussion on November 11 featured Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein, who found the report “very bold,” though he thought “it didn’t go far enough.” The other guest was David Walker of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, who found it a “courageous plan” that “could have been even more aggressive with respect to some of the reforms.” Walker went on to complain, “It is amazing how much controversy there has been, especially from the left, with regard to the Social Security reform proposals, because they are not dramatic or draconian.”

That controversy is apparently not the kind of thing the Rose program wants to share with viewers.

The non-debate continued on the November 15 show, which featured an interview with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a member of the commission who cheered (among other things) the lower corporate tax rates in the Bowles/Simpson plan.

At one point host Charlie Rose asked Paul, “So the point of the commission is to start the debate?” If that was its intent, it was a complete failure when it comes to public TV’s premier interview show.

And who is scheduled to appear on tonight’s broadcast of the Charlie Rose show? Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the deficit commission. That means that five guests will have discussed the deficit commission plan on the show, and all five are enthusiastic supporters of the austerity-themed blueprint of spending cuts, Social Security cuts and tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

It’s not difficult to find progressive critics of the deficit commission’s work. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (11/10/10) called the commission a “waste of time,” since the report failed to deal seriously with the dramatic increase in healthcare costs that are largely driving the projected deficits. Other revenue streams that have been championed by progressive experts, like a tax on financial speculation, are not considered in the Bowles/Simpson plan. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (11/12/10), who labeled the whole commission a “compromise between the center-right and the hard-right,” critiqued the plan’s arbitrary cap on federal revenue and called its tax suggestions “a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class.”

Listen now for the treatment on NPR and see if you can tell a difference.


One Response

  1. […] See more here: A FAIR Share? « Keeping the Public in Public Radio […]

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