Thursday, October 21, 2010


FAIR Action Alert: Tell PBS to bring back NOW

by Larry Geller

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has posted an Action Alert and a report—they would like readers to sign a petition asking PBS to bring back NOW.

From their Action Alert:

It's official: Need to Know has failed to pursue the kind of hard-hitting reporting, full of diverse perspectives, that was regularly supplied by the shows it replaced, Now and the Bill Moyers Journal. Now Friday night on PBS looks a lot like the rest of public television's prominent news and public affairs shows--which, as FAIR's new studies have documented, means a pronounced tilt towards white male sources and a miniscule number of activists or public interest advocates.

That's a far cry from the intended mission of public broadcasting--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." The things that Moyers and Now did.

A couple of bullet points from their news release:

-- The NewsHour's guestlist was 80 percent male and 82 percent white, with a pronounced tilt toward elites who rarely "go unheard," like current and former government and military officials, corporate representatives and journalists (74 percent). Since 2006, appearances by women of color actually decreased by a third, to only 4 percent of U.S. sources.

-- On segments about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the most frequent story of the study period, viewers were four times as likely to see representatives hailing from the oil industry (13 percent of guests) as representatives of environmental concerns (3 percent).

-- On segments focusing on the Afghan War, though polls show consistent majorities of Americans have opposed the war for more than a year, not a single NewsHour guest represented an antiwar group or expressed antiwar views. Similarly, no representative of a human rights or humanitarian organization appeared on the NewsHour during the study period.

If you’d like to write your own letter, FAIR provides guidance here. The guidelines are general, and you may already know most of it, but the suggestions are good.

Well, since we can’t have Moyers, why not work on getting NOW back.

Public broadcasting (whether PBS or NPR) will only serve us well if we get involved, it seems.

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