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They risked everything to ride
April 21, 2011
Original Freedom Riders Stop By WGBH
Callie Crossley talks with three of the original Freedom Riders, in advance of Freedom Riders, an American Experience film about a courageous band of civil rights activists who in 1961 challenged segregation in the South. The film premieres May 16 at 9pm on WGBH 2. The Callie Crossley Show airs weekdays at 1pm on 89.7 WGBH.
Learn more about Freedom Riders at wgbh.org.
© Copyright 2011 WGBH Educational Foundation
Is it in the public interest for public broadcasting to move further right, or to be truly independent of politics?
Publicly funded media is something worth fighting for at a local and national level. But the politics of the current fight are clear: The right calls for budget cuts because it says NPR and PBS are too left-wing. Liberal defenders weigh in to defend the CPB budget, making few or no demands on public broadcasters. This all but guarantees that public broadcasting will continue to be pushed to the right, and further away from its intended mission. As FAIR described the dynamic (Extra!, 9-10/05):
With each successive attack from the right, public broadcasting becomes weakened, as programmers become more skittish and public TV’s habit of survival through capitulation becomes more ingrained.
Even if full CPB funding were restored and political cronies like Ken Tomlinson removed from their posts, the same potential for using the CPB appropriation process as a tool to force public broadcasting further to the right would still exist. If recent history is any guide, it would only be a matter of time until PBS would need to be saved once again—most likely at the cost of yet more concessions to the right.
What’s needed is a truly independent funding mechanism—as FAIR and others have called for over the years (6/8/06). A 1.5 percent dedicated tax on TV advertising, for example, would provide $1 billion a year for a public broadcasting system that would be truly free from both commercial pressures and political interference. Such a system would have a good chance of living up to the Carnegie Commission’s ideals.
Certainly, public broadcasting supporters should demand a whole lot more than the status quo. If the energy behind the campaigns to “save” the CPB were dedicated to building support for an independent public trust, we could build the kind of public media system the country deserves.
That definition of newsworthiness—what powerful people say and do—guarantees the marginalization of important views that would contribute to national discussions about those “decisions that affect people’s lives.” A program that sought to convey a more expansive view of news and politics, whether on public broadcasting or anywhere else, would work to bring different perspectives to the air. That does not seem to be a priority at the NewsHour.
A yoga buddy of mine insists that the rewards/gaming model, used in FourSquare, is the next frontier of social media. I know little about it at the moment, but it seems like it’s worth understanding.
By Chris Cameron / September 17, 2010 12:00 PM
Earlier this summer, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) partnered with social check-in app GetGlue to offer rewards for a few of its shows. GetGlue has seen strong engagement numbers from its sticker promotions, and not long ago announced many extended promotionsfrom networks like HBO and Showtime. PBS, having seen tremendous social media growth from its campaign has announced a brand new set of reward promotions with GetGlue for its upcoming fall lineup of shows.
“Social media is critical to PBS.”
- Kevin Dando, Director of Digital Marketing and Communications, PBSWhile many networks feature a handful of stickers and shows on GetGlue, PBS is rolling out a impressive 18-sticker set for fans of many of the network’s most popular and most anticipated shows. Longtime favorites NOVA, NewsHour, Charlie Rose and Frontline are featured, as well as upcoming specials likeMasterpiece Mystery: Sherlock and Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning, an epilogue to his well known documentary, Baseball.
George Shultz equals the Ab Rocket, because now the “P” in PBS stands for Paid Broadcasting System, like those TV listings you see on Sunday morning, “Paid Programming.”
07/12/2010 by Jim Naureckas
FAIR has a new Action Alert (7/12/10) out about PBS airing a completely uncritical three-hour documentary about Reagan-era Secretary of State George Shultz—paid for by corporations with close ties to Shultz. You can leave copies of your messages to PBS, or comments on the alert, in the comment thread of this post.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
04/30/2010 by Peter Hart
When FAIR released a study of the PBS’s NewsHour (then known as the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour) in 1989, one finding stood out:
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was the major environmental story of the period. MacNeil/Lehrer had seven segments on the spill; not one included an environmental representative. Several discussions were limited to Exxon officials and friendly officials: The March 30, 1989 program, for example, featured Exxon’s chairman and Alaska’s governor (“The chairman of the board of Exxon, I think, has been to heavy on his own company”).
And the summary of a segment from last night’s broadcast of the NewsHour (4/29/10):
Costs Climb as BP Struggles to Contain Oil Spill
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening sensitive coastline and commercial fisheries, following last week’s explosion at an offshore oil rig. Jeffrey Brown talks to a BP spokeswoman about the implications of the spill for the company and for offshore drilling.
Let’s hope the company wasn’t too hard on itself.