FAIR's exposé of PBS's prominent news and public affairs shows demonstrated that public television is failing to fulfill its mission–to "provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard," to serve as "a forum for controversy and debate," and broadcast programs that "help us see America whole, in all its diversity." Now, which PBS canceled without explanation and replaced with Need to Know (co-hosted by corporate media fixture Jon Meacham), lived up to that mission admirably. Need to Know does not. Join FAIR in telling PBS to bring back Now: Sign the petition today.
Trying to explain why Need to Know, the PBS public affairs show that appeared in the Friday night timeslot vacated by Bill Moyers Journal and Now, has gotten such a cool reception from viewers, co-host Allison Stewart seems to blame nostalgia. "Obviously you can't replace Bill Moyers," says Stewart (Show Tracker, 8/5/10). "That's just a ridiculous notion." The funny thing is, Bill Moyers was replaced: When he left Now to resume doing Bill Moyers Journal, David Brancaccio took over as host, later joined by Maria Hinojosa. Under their tenure, Now retained its loyal following, because Brancaccio and Hinojosa were pursuing [...]
The Afghanistan documents posted by WikiLeaks were obviously the big story of the week. So how did the network Sunday shows react to these disclosures, which have the potential to open up a real debate about the Afghan War? NBC's Meet the Press interviewedchairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffMike Mullen. ABC's This Week featured an interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. On CBS, Face The Nation had Mike Mullen. What would state broadcasting look like again? CBS also had an interview withRichard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations (formerly of the Bush administration), who urged the U.S. to [...]
Washington Post critic Tom Shales (5/11/10) didn't think much of the debut of the PBS show Need to Know. Given the reactions from viewers at the Need to Know website, and those published by PBS ombud Michael Getler, he's not the only one who found the show a disappointment–or, as Shales put it,a "monstrosity"and "a specious wheeze." But he seemed to save a special kind of scorn for co-host Alison Stewart. Responding to the show's fawning interview with Bill Clinton, Shales wrote that "she looked as though she would have been much more comfortable in Clinton's lap." Uh huh. When [...]