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01.22 How Orkney leads the way for sustainable energy

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01.22 David Attenborough tells Davos: ‘The Garden of Eden is no more’ [2:21 video]

01.21 35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution

01.20 Doctors are frightened by climate change. Their industry is a big part of the problem.

01.18 Learning From Cuba’s ‘Medicare for All’

01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

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01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.16 Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic [charts]

01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]

01.15 Australia could hit 100% renewables sooner than most people think

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01.15 Barclays on wrong side of history with climate policy, says Greenpeace

01.15 'One fish at a time': Indonesia lands remarkable victory

01.15 Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total  per-capita costs]

01.14 Saudi Arabia Increases Solar Targets To 20 Gigawatts By 2023 & 40 Gigawatts By 2030

01.14 Solar + Storage Half The Cost Of Gas Peaker Plants — 8MinuteEnergy

01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]

01.14 Air pollution 'as bad as smoking in increasing risk of miscarriage'

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01.22 'Literally What Jesus Told People to Do': In Arizona, Possible Prison Time for Leaving Food and Water for Migrants

01.22 White students in MAGA gear crashed the Indigenous Peoples March and harassed participants [3:44 video; we must stop growing/programming more sociopaths]

01.21 Trump’s One Legislative ‘Win’ Is Actually a Failure

01.21 TRUMP 'HAS ISOLATED AMERICA AND TAKEN US BACKWARDS,' FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY SAYS

01.21 The 'exhausting' work of factcheckers who track Trump's barrage of lies

01.20 REPUBLICAN SAYS TRUMP IS 'INCAPABLE' OF ARTICULATING A PLAN TO END GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

01.20 Institute Index: The Racial Injustice of the Government Shutdown

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01.19 The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?

01.19 Donald Trump Has Never Cared About Workers, and Never Will

01.19 Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth [Sociopaths have little or no conscience, empathy or morality...]

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01.19 The Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo is moving toward a major city. That’s not good.

01.19 Ahead of Third Annual Women's March, Group Releases Far-Reaching 'Intersectional Feminist Policy Platform'

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  Print view: Don't Defund Public Broadcasting--Improve It
ACTION ALERT:

Don't Defund Public Broadcasting--Improve It

The smart way to fight back against right-wing attacks on NPR and PBS

SOURCE: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Published orginally on the F.A.I.R. website on Thursday, 28 October 2010
Public broadcasting should be pushed to live up to the high-minded ideals that established these systems in the first place, not to please "conservative" politicians.

Here we go again.

Conservative activists and Republican politicians are calling--one more time--to defund public broadcasting. The supposed offense this time around is NPR's decision to fire analyst Juan Williams over comments he made on Fox News Channel about his fear of people in "Muslim garb." The episode is proof, in the eyes of right-wing politicians, that public broadcasting is run by left-wing ideologues who use tax-supported media outlets to spread their liberal message.

The charge is nonsense--and always has been. FAIR's research of NPR and PBS programming over the past 20 years has consistently shown a tilt towards elite guests and sources--government officials, corporate representatives and journalists from the commercial media. FAIR's new study of public television (Extra!, 11/10) finds the same: a system that, by and large, fails to offer the "public" much of a hearing at all.

That narrow range of voices is bad when it's on commercial television, but it's even worse when you consider that public television's founding document calls for a system that would give voice to those "who would otherwise go unheard" and help us to "see America whole, in all its diversity."

The threats from the right to zero out public broadcasting are decades old, and there's no reason to think they will work this time around. But what they can do is remind those in power at PBS and NPR that the right expects them to act. And that part of their strategy has always been remarkably effective, particularly on public television. Conservative pundits have been granted airtime over the years--often as hosts of their own shows--in order to placate right-wing critics. That's how the Wall Street Journal editorial page got its own show on public television a few years back, along with a program for conservative pundit Tucker Carlson (FAIR Action Alert, 9/17/04).

Public broadcasting should be pushed, of course--to live up to the high-minded ideals that established these systems in the first place, not to please conservative politicians or to serve up programming that corporate underwriters want to bring to the airwaves. Last week, many public television stations were airing Food Sense, a documentary about the nation's food supply that, according to its producers's website, was underwritten by agribusiness giant Monsanto. The site describes the show: "ABC News Now contributor and Today show food trends editor Phil Lempert and a group of industry experts illuminate a one-hour public television special that asks and answers the important questions surrounding the nation's food supply." This is "public" television?

If the pressure from the right is to be effectively countered, it's not nearly enough to say, "Don't Defund NPR." 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.

If you want to join that call, add your name to FAIR's petition urging PBS to bring back the program Now, which exemplified the kind of journalism that should be available throughout public broadcasting. Sign the petition today.


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 fair@fair.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.


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This story was published on October 28, 2010.
 

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