Fair and Balanced and … Public?

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
May 2 2005 6:02 PM

Fair and Balanced and … Public?

Bloggers are debating the moves and motives of Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger's plummeting popularity, and Laura Bush's comedy act at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

Fair and balanced and … public? In the latest example of backlash against the allegedly liberal news media, CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson is "pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias," reports the New York Times. Among several controversial moves, Tomlinson reportedly hired an outside consultant to keep track of guests appearing on Now With Bill Moyers and urged public broadcasting officials to air a program hosted by the editor of the Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial page.

Needless to say, lefties are outraged. "It's funeral time for PBS," writes the feminist Echidne of the Snakes. The left-leaning Phonograph notes how people who allege bias among news organizations "tend to have a bias themselves." Linkmeister has some choice snippets from a recent New York Times Magazine interview with Ken Ferree, the interim president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

On liberal Wills4223, the author buttresses his opinion on the state of PBS (thumbs down) with some background information on the aforementioned Corporation for Public Broadcasting: "Congress funds CPB two years in advance to 'shield it from momentary bursts of partisan anger," writes Will. "That was then. Now, the chairman of the CPB board is … a close friend of uber-strategist Karl Rove."

Conservative blogger, author, and radio host Hugh Hewitt disagrees, seeing Tomlinson's actions as simply introducing "balance back into the CBP/PBS world."

Read more about the PBS flap.

An immigrant's dilemma: It seems that California's bodybuilder governor isn't as big as he used to be. Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval rating has dropped below 50 percent for the first time since he took office, and his stance on illegal immigrants may not be helping matters.

Schwarzenegger last week praised the Minuteman Project, the 15,000 volunteers patrolling Arizona's border with Mexico—and whom even President Bush has labeled as vigilantes. The governor asked a TV station to remove a billboard saying, "Los Angeles, Mexico," because it might encourage illegal immigration. (There's a shot of the billboard—and an anti-illegal-immigrant point of view on L.A. blog Darleen's Place.)

"What could be more ironic than Governor Schwarzenegger, an Austrian-born immigrant, who at the same time, applauds the vigilante minutemen of Arizona?" points out left-leaning April Spreeman at Thought Mechanics.

Stephen Bainbridge, a blogger and law professor at UCLA, isn't on Arnold's side on this one: "Wake up and smell the coffee; California's future is Latino." On InstaPundit, Glenn Reynolds offers this insight: "I have several legal immigrants in my family, and they're pretty resentful of illegals who ignore all the rules. I suspect that Arnold feels a bit that way himself."

Read more about Arnold's woes.

Open mic night: Laura Bush's wisecracking at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday night brought down the house. She joked about going to a strip club and President Bush milking a male horse.

Satire  blog The Swift Report "reports" on the shock some religious conservatives must have felt. It concocts a letter from the "Coalition for Traditional Values" citing Biblical passages to claim that Laura Bush's jokes undermined the president, both as a husband and as leader of the free world. *

Descartes' Bar and Grill, conservative Christian Suzanne  enjoyed Laura Bush's routine  and is dismayed by a news story that quoted media members who were shocked: "I missed the memo that said James Dobson guided the First Family's decisions ... oh well, I guess I'd better get with the times." Meanwhile, law prof Ann Althouse surveyed the political implications: "Was Laura's routine a sign that we're entering a libertarian conservative phase? I hope so."

Read more about the first lady's comedy routine.

Correction, May 3: The original version of this column identified The Swift Report as a conservative blog; it also credulously referred to a letter from the "Coalition for Traditional Values," which was part of The Swift Report's spoof. Slate regrets not getting the joke.(Return to the corrected item.)



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