CPB and Tomlinson again

Rolling Stone article that resonates with me enough to rattle my (many) fillings out of my head: Muzzling The Muppets

My favorite quote:

And the cartoon at the top is pure visual poetry…

The whole thing just makes me want to spit nails. The whole thing makes my liberal-feminazi-lesbian-environmentalist-PBS-watching self want to resurrect that fist-thrusting, bicept-slapping expression to accompany a hearty yell of “BUSH: HAVE YOU FISTED YOUR GIRLFRIEND’S LATELY?”

Not that my girlfriend will ever be comfortable with claiming him as “her’s”…

Wasn’t Tomlinson appointed to the CPB by President Clinton?

Originally, yes.

He was appointed to the board in September 2000. He became chair three years later, under Bush. The CPB’s website says he was “elected”; this means he was elected to the position by the other members of the board.

Four of the current eight members are Bush appointees; I’m guessing no more than four were appointees when he was voted into the chair position.

Still, that seems irrelevant:

In other words, he may have been appointed by Clinton and voted into the chair position by Clinton appointees, but it wasn’t the Clinton administration with whom he collaborated to politicize public broadcasting.


That’s true, but from his point of view (at least, as he told it on a PBS show) what he is trying to do is de-politicize it.

…by coordinating with Karl Rove?

Pardon my skepticism.

It says that he and Rove are friends. Even people of opposing ideologies be friends, can’t they? I mean, that’s like attaching to some statement about Al Gore that he once visited Fred Phelps at his home in Kansas.

It also says:

I almost posted a partial retraction of my previous post, to make exactly the point that you’re making; but then I went over the article again, and saw that they explicitly collaborated.

I’m extremely skeptical that anyone collaborates with Karl Rove in order to make any organization less political.


Every time this comes up, it’s always about Sesame Street (as in the title of the cited article). Sesame Street is of course an enormous cash cow, which would go on just as it is now, if PBS disappeared.

How PBS has managed to stay funded by taxpayer money so long is truly a mystery to me. Crush it now, for god’s sake.

Here’s the solution (don’t peek if you want to solve it yourself!):

PBS is amazingly popular across a broad spectrum of American citizens; you’ll have a hard time finding ten more popular government programs

I’d prefer you not try to crush it, unless you’re part of the current Administration; then by all means, please make a highly-public effort to crush this program!


Well, here’s the thing:

In the late 1960s, Mr. Johnson felt as part of his Great Society there should be more than just CBS, NBC and ABC. And that was a reasonable thing to do.

Well, that was a long time ago. Since then, a little thing called cable television came along, and then another little thing called the Internet raised it’s head. The need for what PBS was put up for has long since evaporated. There are discovery and history channels galore, there are more web sites than you can shake a muppet at to fill every educational, entertainment and news need you could possibly have.

As to it’s supposed popularity as Left Hand of Dorkness claims, when was the last time you saw a PBS show even listed in the top nielsen ratings? Here’s last week. Popularity? People don’t want Lehrer or that purple dinosaur; they want Law & Order or Wrestling, or whatever other crap they throw up there. The thing is, the stuff that people want DOESN’T COST TAXPAYERS MONEY. It’s paid for by the consumers because they’re so interested in watching it that advertisers pay to be there!

PBS is akin to the helium reserves. It’s an idea who’s time has come to die.

Nitpick: Only human beings have homes. I think the word you are looking for is more along the lines of den, or lair, or perhaps set.

Apples and oranges. I’ve not seen any school cafeteria listed in Michelin’s guide, but that doesn’t mean the free/reduced lunch program for schoolchildren is unpopular.

When folks are polled on whether they support having publicly-funded broadcasting, it’s about 80% positive in the responses. So what if folks don’t watch it in the same numbers as watch Friends? People support it; and politicians who try to slash funding for public media learn quickly, VERY quickly, that it’s a bad move for their career.

(Incidentally, while I suspect that Nielsen tracks public television, I can’t find any cite to that effect in ten minute of searching; can anyone confirm that they do? I wonder whether, since they’re funded by subscribers who tend to be advertisers, they might not include public programs at all in their tracking).

But by all means, if you support the current Administration, I urge you to, under their flag, campaign against it, try to convince people that Republicans want to stop this waste of tax dollars.


That would be sett. And I think “Underside of a rock” would be most apt in this case.

Just another righty nutbag putting the meat to the people who pay his salary. I have never hated anyone, but these awful abusers have incited just that in me. Please wake me up when this bizarre nightmare is over.

I, for one, appreciate PBS for its lack of commercialism. I don’t mind “funded by the XXX corp” but I really dislike the relentless ads on the networks and cable.

I don’t watch much TV, but I do like TV with a brain. Catch the networks doing series on Evil vs Good (no, Buffy doesn’t count-not in the way I mean) or documentaries. I don’t get the History Channel with my cable package–so, PBS helps me there.

Apples and onions. You must realize that this is a ridiculous analogy. Please say you do.

So, are you trying to say that because it is the politically wise thing to do that it is the right thing to do? Is that your criterion?

It must drive you nuts that Bill H. is right. If PBS were defunded tomorrow–from ALL sources, Sesame Street would go right on. Why, because as you accidently pointed out, PEOPLE SUPPORT IT. When people support things they survive in a free market due to their own merits. In a world of three networks plus a hundred other stations, what would possibly change if PBS’s funding went to zero tomorrow? A few bad shows with very tiny audiences would go off the air, the rest would find new life elsewhere.

Or is your argument that in addition to the shows that enjoy broad support, taxpayers are also obliged to fund shows with virtually no support (viewership)?

All together now: Bush bad, Bush evil, Bush bad, Bush evil, Bush bad, Bush evil…

Left Hand of Dorkness wrote



The cite was in the OP, Bill. To save you the trouble of reading the article we’re discussing here, I’ll quote it for you:

As for the cite that politicians quickly find that slashing public funding is bad for their careers: you’re right, I’m wrong. Please, with all due haste, encourage your Republican representatives and president to take on this issue. With how few people use public broadcast media, surely it’ll be a winning issue for them!


I don’t think that can be said. Sesame Street may well go on–but in what guise and bowing to what pressures?

I could easily see Elmo et al being forced to be more “hip” and the kids on the show (very natural and genuine) being more scripted and edgy. How about some product placement?

The fact is that marketers have no consciences when they market to kids, period. They never have. Why not have a place where they are not allowed to relentlessly push their sugar cereal, crap toys and latest bratty behavior? The kids get plenty of all of that. How about keeping things simple and real? PBS does that with SS and Arthur and even the hated Barney (blech). I do not want to see SS warp into Ed, Ed and Eddie for pre-schoolers.

I don’t see that PBS is some dinosaur that needs to be euthanised. I don’t. I think it should be left alone and not made a political football.