It’s like I can’t resist blogging…
NY Times’ reporters report on the Right Wing Conspiracy Against PBS – or at least the attempt by the Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to count how many liberal-leaning guests were on the (decidedly) liberal show of Bill Moyers. I mean, Geez Louise, if you want to get Bill Moyers on a rant, go ahead, audit the guy for who guests on his show and then accuse him of having liberal biases. At least he never denied his liberal leanings (more or less). And, oh yeah, he actually did get people like Ralph Reed and other conservative folks on his show (accusing Moyers of not being “fair and balanced”? Well, maybe he’s liberal, but he got out the stories the right leaning folks weren’t exactly covering – like the scary development of communication corporations swallowing all the mom-and-pop radio stations in the country – monopolies are supposed to be bad, as Moyers noted, but it’s not like the FCC was stopped the mess from happening; so where was FOX news on that story?).
And, if the conservative folks in D.C. are so concerned that PBS reflect “Fair and Balanced” opinions, why not also support PBS in putting people like Tavis Smiley on tv and in putting on series that reflect America’s diversity in history and society (Channel 13, local PBS, is celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May; last I checked, the networks and cable stations haven’t exactly jumped on that bandwagon). That’ll reflect the diversity of opinion and experience in America quite well too – forget just making PBS put Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot; not that I have a problem with Gigot – I actually considered his opinion when he was on Lehrer newshour; but I really have a problem with how the current administration seems to be pushing PBS around.
Ok, so I’m ranting. I just really hope the conservative extremists don’t end up hurting PBS; it’s so not right. And, besides – if the conservatives end up knocking on PBS, I have to wonder what is the matter with them – don’t they have more important things to do? I mean, really – what else on tv puts on ballets, dances, and operas and jazz, and so forth; plus silly British crap, and for free (access culture for the masses, which – admittedly – is a left-leaning idea, considering that PBS was born during the left-ish era of the 1960’s). I guess if it were up to the right wingers, we’d only listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Bill O’Reilley (in his current incarnation, not his old Inside Edition version, when he just cared about the tabloidy-trashiness of the story, not the direction of its political spin). But, then again, what do I know about what political direction is my form of media going; I’m someone who avoids extremes – I wouldn’t and I don’t bother listening or watching left or right extreme crap. I enjoyed Bill Moyers because he didn’t make me eat the bitter and just got me to think – it was about presentation of the message – not just smacking it at you. (oh, and the man cannot retire – he was hosting some documentary the other night on PBS; salute to Moyers). Politics is crazy, especially when it thinks it can interfere with the editorial or creative control of a network that’s struggling as it is.
Speaking of how pathetic politics is, I’m still thinking that Bob Kerrey is the better Kerr(e)y. See, Kerrey’s not pathetic (apologies to Kerrey, it’s just that the word “pathetic” is on my mind right now). Just when Kerrey got into the local news for his “Maybe I’ll run for mayor of NYC” musings (check out the amusing interview on NY1, wherein Kerrey says “No, I won’t run and no, I’m not a flake for considering in the first place”), I finished reading his book “When I was a Young Man” — his memoirs of growing up incredibly normal and average in Nebraska and then having that life altering experience during the Vietnam War. I think he is a flake (in the nice middle America kind of way; and yeah, backing away from mayoral musings like that kind of looks odd), but he’s not stupid – his dry sharpness makes him really interesting.
Anyway — Kerrey’s book felt like he really wrote it (there were parts that made me think that an editor/ghost writer could have done better). It felt like Kerry wasn’t entirely forthcoming about what he did in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL (not like I really expect him to disclose what really happened in Vietnam; the media kind of reamed Kerrey on that score; and his Author’s notes concedes that memory is a harsh thing and his own writing about his post-traumatic stress suggests some really bad stuff happened more than his previous paragraphs let on). His writing about losing his foot and coming home bitter from the war was poignant stuff. Generally, beyond his book – I think Kerrey’s refreshingly blunt; he’s Kerrey. I hate to make it derivative, but I feel as if he’s a Democrat’s McCain – he’s not afraid to be a bit conservative, but won’t deny being a Democrat. Nothing wrong with that.
We need more sunshine in NYC soon, or at least more consistent rain, instead of the weird on-off showers…