A few years ago, the left pulled several muscles exerting itself with the strange theory that the Public Broadcasting Service was lurching dangerously to the right. When Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson had the audacity not only to speak internal profanities ("fairness" and "balance"), but to try to build on them, it became clear to them that he was out of control and needed to be stopped.
Tomlinson made several small but significant steps toward balance on our taxpayer-subsidized airwaves, nudging the creation of two right-leaning talk programs -- "Tucker Carlson Unfiltered" and "The Journal Editorial Report" -- and both suffered from the TV equivalent of crib death.
Liberals really erupted when they learned Tomlinson secretly hired someone to assess the political balance of some PBS and NPR programs. This initiative was doomed, not only because the internal bureaucracy would never tolerate it, but because proving liberal bias at PBS is beyond easy. It's like proving Rosie O'Donnell has a liberal bias -- is it really necessary to conduct a study?
The left maintains an iron grip on PBS with all the maturity and sophistication that a 4-year-old hangs on to a Happy Meal toy. The motto of its public and private campaign against Tomlinson's alleged transgressions should have been: "Mine! Mine! All Mine!"
Tomlinson is long gone, and Democrats now control Congress. But another step was necessary for the re-emergence of classic PBS propaganda: the return of Bill Moyers. He was back to full-time fulminating duties on April 25, with a special titled "Buying the War." The entire thesis of this 90-minute taxpayer-funded lecture? The national media were willing cogs in the neoconservative machine that took America to war.
How is this for PBS balance: Moyers didn't allow a single conservative, neo- or otherwise, to challenge this ludicrous idea. Oh, there were assorted clips of conservatives (yours truly included) speaking in the months after 9/11, but only to "prove" his case for a noxious "patriotism police" that would not allow dissent.
He did invite far-left media critics like Eric Boehlert and Norman Solomon to echo his conspiracy theory that the major media were stuffed with sticky pro-Bush saps. But then, Moyers also added major media players, from disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather to former CNN boss Walter Isaacson, to agree with him that they were all woefully lacking in antiwar fervor.