On the CD player: “Classic Yo-Yo” 0 compilation of Yo-Yo Ma’s best.
Glad to see that the NY Times still has the link up – its special Brooklyn section from last week. Tons of great stuff, plus an article about my neighborhood (I was reading it, thinking: “Good grief, that’s my subway station they’re talking about!”). Check this stuff out before the free links expire.
Plus, for this week’s City section, NY Times has an article about this one man’s quest to collect cofee cups (the stuff we get from the local delis, you know “It’s our pleasure to serve you” with the Greek blue design).
Hmm. I don’t always like the tone of NY Times’ columnist Frank Rich, but his take on the mess with PBS is interesting:
HERE’S the difference between this year’s battle over public broadcasting and the one that blew up in Newt Gingrich’s face a decade ago: this one isn’t really about the survival of public broadcasting. So don’t be distracted by any premature obituaries for Big Bird. Far from being an endangered species, he’s the ornithological equivalent of a red herring.
Let’s not forget that Laura Bush has made a fetish of glomming onto popular “Sesame Street” characters in photo-ops. Polls consistently attest to the popular support for public broadcasting, while Congress is in a race to the bottom with Michael Jackson. Big Bird will once again smite the politicians – as long as he isn’t caught consorting with lesbians.
That doesn’t mean the right’s new assault on public broadcasting is toothless, far from it. But this time the game is far more insidious and ingenious. The intent is not to kill off PBS and NPR but to castrate them by quietly annexing their news and public affairs operations to the larger state propaganda machine that the Bush White House has been steadily constructing at taxpayers’ expense. If you liked the fake government news videos that ended up on local stations – or thrilled to the “journalism” of Armstrong Williams and other columnists who were covertly paid to promote administration policies – you’ll love the brave new world this crowd envisions for public TV and radio.
There’s only one obstacle standing in the way of the coup. Like Richard Nixon, another president who tried to subvert public broadcasting in his war to silence critical news media, our current president may be letting hubris get the best of him. His minions are giving any investigative reporters left in Washington a fresh incentive to follow the money.
As the public broadcasting debate plays out, there will be the usual talk about how to wean it from federal subsidy and the usual complaints (which I share) about the redundancy, commerciality and declining quality of some PBS programming in a cable universe. But once Big Bird, like that White House Thanksgiving turkey, is again ritualistically saved from the chopping block and the Senate restores more of the House’s budget cuts, the most crucial test of the damage will be what survives of public broadcasting’s irreplaceable journalistic offerings.
Will monitors start harassing Jim Lehrer’s “NewsHour,” which Mr. Tomlinson trashed at a March 2004 State Department conference as a “tired and slowed down” also-ran to Shepard Smith’s rat-a-tat-tat newscast at Fox News? Will “Frontline” still be taking on the tough investigations that network news no longer touches? Will the reportage on NPR be fearless or the victim of a subtle or not-so-subtle chilling effect instilled by Mr. Tomlinson and his powerful allies in high places?
Forget the pledge drive. What’s most likely to save the independent voice of public broadcasting from these thugs is a rising chorus of Deep Throats.
Hmm. So maybe I am wrong – maybe PBS could become a tool of propoganda. Uh. That doesn’t sound right at all.
Enjoy the rest of the hot sultry weekend.