Public television becomes more public


Wait, don't touch that dial!  Those well—bred squeals oozing from a television set near you are just liberals stunned to learn  that the new chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, thinks present programming on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) lacks the charter's demand of "objectivity and balance." 
"My goal here is to see programming that satisfies a broad constituency," he said, adding, "I'm not after removing shows or tampering internally with shows."

But he has repeatedly criticized public television programs as too liberal overall, and said in the interview,

"I frankly feel at PBS headquarters there is a tone deafness to issues of tone and balance."

Thus the delicate——and surely in the future some not so delicate——squeals as the cozy liberal world of public television adjusts to new people, new ideas, new programming.  Look for squealing criticism containing words and phrases like politicize (as if PBS never indulged in that now), freedom of speech and its Siamese twin, censorship (how many alternative views are offered presently?).

All well and good——fresh voices and multiple visions are necessary for public broadcasting. 

But in the long run the question remains unanswered——Why is there a need for taxpayer funding for any television or radio station?  In a world of cable and satellite television, with subscription radio beginning to gain acceptance, programing available on the internet and who knows what other media formats will be available in a few years,  why "public" television? 

Still no answers.

Ethel C. Fenig   5 02 05