If you think public television exists to offer challenging, independent news and public affairs shows that bring us stories the stories the commercial media too often ignore, free of the influence of big sponsors and corporate owners… well, this hasn't been a good week.
Today New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (12/21/11) gives readers a sense of what the Iraq War was all about: Iraq was always a war of choice. As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track? Huh. A collaborative effort with the people of Iraq? [...]
With the bad news we've been talking about on the public broadcasting front, it's worth pointing out a bright spot: On Monday (10/24/11), Charlie Rose featured a discussion of Occupy Wall Street with Chris Hedges and Amy Goodman. Goodman made an important point about media coverage of the protests: CHARLIE ROSE: Does it have anything in common with the Tea Party? AMY GOODMAN: Well, it's interesting you ask that. When the people gathered on September 16 and 17–what, 2000 people–hardly any coverage they got. If it was 2000 Tea Party activists who gathered on Wall Street, I would dare said [...]
On the Daily Show on June 1, Bill Moyers talked about the types of outsider guests he preferred to interview on his TV show. As he put it at one point: "The worst hour that I ever put on, was many years ago, with Henry Kissinger…. I vowed after that never to do an hour with any official. None." Interviewing guests who challenge or question the conventional wisdom or the status quo is exactly what we should be seeing on public television. Two nights before the Moyers interview (5/30/11), Charlie Rose offered a reminder that we've got a long way [...]
The Charlie Rose show–which airs mostly on public television stations–has mostly skipped the protests in Wisconsin, one of the biggest labor stories of the past decade. This is not a total surprise–Rose seems to identify with The Bosses more than with the workers–so it was interesting to see how he finally approached the subject on his March 2 show. The first guest was Time's Joe Klein.He seems toidentify with public sector workers, he knows they're not getting rich, but he doesn't like their unions: "Public employees' unions are a pretty questionable proposition," as he put it. The solution in Wisconsinis [...]
There have been some interesting, informative TV coverage of Egypt. And then there was last night's Charlie Rose (2/3/11), with special guests Tom Friedman and Henry Kissinger.
From the post-State of the Union discussion on the Charlie Rose Show (1/25/11): CHARLIE ROSE: With respect to his base, where are they tonight? They listened to him move to the center– JOHN SUNUNU: On the Upper West Side. JOHN HEILEMANN: Drinking heavily on the Upper West Side. (LAUGHTER) The discussion went on to explain how the progressive base either really likes Obama, or won't have anyone else to vote for so it won't matter what they think. Such discussions are a lot easier to have when you don't invite any actual progressives who might disagree with the Upper West [...]
With Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Washington, you got some of what you might expect inright wing media outlets–Rush Limbaugh doing a fake Chinese accent, and Bill O'Reilly opening his Fox show last night with crack about a Chinese dinner that wasn't take out. Meanwhile, on public television's Charlie Rose Show, the hour was spent with… Henry Kissinger. I had to go back to the Extra! archives to remember the Kissinger/China connection, which includes most notably his defense of the Chinese crackdown on Tienanmen Square. From Extra!, 10-11/89: In recent months, Kissinger has used his high media profile in a [...]
Last night's broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (11/29/10) offered a discussion of the WikiLeaks documents. Who were the guests? As Judy Woodruff announced: "We turn to two former national security advisers with extensive experience in making and carrying out U.S. foreign policy. " That would be Carter's Zbigniew Brzezinski and George W. Bush's Stephen Hadley. The discussion was about as illuminating as one might expect. Hours later on the Charlie Rose show, guest host Jon Meacham featured a typical Charlie Rose discussion: two reporters from the New York Times and former Clinton State Department aide Jamie Rubin. The Times reporters [...]
Counting tonight's episode, Charlie Rose has had five guests discussing the Simpson/Bowles deficit reduction plan, and all five have been right-leaning proponents of the plan's austerity measures. To call for a broader discussion, see FAIR's latest Action Alert. Please leave copies of your messages–or comments on the alert–in the comments thread here.