Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
09.19 Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings [that capitalists suppressed this for continuing profit is the most unforgivable crime ever]Trump administration rolls back methane pollution rule despite harmful health impacts [continuing in the tradition of stupid capitalism at all costs]
09.18 'I was horrified that children are breathing air this dirty inside the school' [if your government isn't working, change it!]
09.13 The Guardian view on electric cars: stopped by industry inaction [Vroom Vroom is Dumb Dumb]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
09.18 'This Election Is Last Chance to Stop Them': Kudlow Confirms Trump and GOP Ready to Gut Safety Net After Midterms [Yes, there are far too many sociopaths]
09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
International & Futurism
09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [We are all mixed-race after 10,000 generations. Helping suffering people makes us feel good, so become their friends instead.]
09.15 A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come [SCARY]
Worldfocus, Brought to You by Economic Fearmongers
PBS show takes funding from anti-Social Security foundation
10 February 2009The PBS show Worldfocus recently received a $1 million dollar grant to produce "reports examining how other countries have dealt with the challenges facing the United States, like healthcare and Social Security" (New York Times, 2/3/09) from a foundation with a track record of misinformation and fearmongering on these very issues.
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation and its founder, Pete Peterson, have long played a critical role (Extra!, 3-4/97) in promoting the myths that Social Security is on the verge of bankruptcy (Extra!, 7-8/95, 1-2/05) and that universal healthcare is unaffordable.
The foundation was a major backer of IOUSA, a recent documentary urging a balanced budget and attacking Social Security and Medicare spending that was criticized for inaccuracies and for offering economic advice that would be disastrous if followed during a severe downturn. The foundation recently placed misleading full-page ads in several newspapers warning of a looming $57 trillion federal deficit (Center for Economic and Policy Research, 10/08).
According to the Worldfocus website, the show was launched by New York station WNET with the intention of responding "to the mainstream media's diminished coverage of international news." The show includes work from other news organizations, including Al Jazeera English, and seems to provide a wider than usual array of perspectives on international issues, though that's an admittedly low bar (e.g., "Are You on the NewsHour's Guestlist?" Extra!, 9-10/06).
Intentions aside, however, Worldfocus faces the same pressures and constraints as all programs in the nominally public TV system. The head of the Peterson Foundation, David Walker, earnestly claimed (New York Times, 2/3/09) that Worldfocus would maintain "total control over the content." But if the source of funding had no impact on content, there would be no point to public broadcasting; it was the very real concern that commercial sponsorship influences programming that led to the creation of public broadcasting in the first place.
If Worldfocus were going to seriously debunk the Peterson Foundation's sky-is-falling rhetoric, it seems unlikely their grant would be renewed; that would be a major consideration in any economic climate. And WNET chief executive Neil Shapiro says of his station (New York Times, 2/3/09), "There are huge financial pressures facing this place."
Over the years, FAIR has documented a conflict-of-interest double standard at PBS, where shows produced or funded by public-interest advocates or labor unions are rejected on grounds of a conflict of interest, while those involving corporate or conservative interests get a green light (FAIR press release, 4/3/02). If it hopes to be worthy of the name "public," WNET has to enforce a single standard on such conflicts.
ACTION: Please call on WNET to reject a grant to cover Social Security and other issues from a foundation with a pronounced political bias on those issues.
You can post copies of your letters to WNET on FAIR's blog.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on February 12, 2009.
Public Service Ads: