state news agency

Frank Rich hits the nail on the head in today’s New York Times. The real threat to Public Broadcasting isn’t that it might have it’s funding cut, but that the Republican party might be forcing them into the role of state-run propaganda machine. Here’s a clip:

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.

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  1. chris
    Posted June 27, 2005 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    At the very least this might mean a sharp decrease in member/fund drives, or at least the absence of guilt when I neglect to pledge. Of course, I am sure that this will also mean that I pretty much stop listening too.

    I can just think of the new programming now: “Why Johnny does not have to share his toys. Because their his!” or “Bopal: environmental conspiracy?”

  2. Doug Skinner
    Posted June 28, 2005 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Or maybe they can start showing those “Bibleman” videos, where the costumed scripture-spouter battles the evil Wacky Protestor. Too bad Bibleman wasn’t around to teach Martin Luther King the importance of respecting authority, huh? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see

  3. chris
    Posted June 28, 2005 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    oops, “they’re” his. Well, I guess w/ the new changes their” his is completely plausible.

  4. [steph]
    Posted June 28, 2005 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    My boyfriend is the proud owner of a bibleman video, thanks to a tag sale. What a spectacle.

  5. Doug Skinner
    Posted June 28, 2005 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the Bibleman folks know what “Protestant” means.

    Anyway, I’m sure the new GOPBS will change the face of American journalism. I eagerly await the “Williams-Gannon News Hour.”

  6. juancho
    Posted June 28, 2005 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    GOPBS Transcript, 3/19/2017

    Williams: Turning to Iraq, Jeff, I completely agree with you and the administration that these are the last throes of those damned insurgents.

    Gannon: Thanks, Armstrong. But please, call me Bulldog.

    Williams: And now a word from our sponsor, Globochem’s US Government.

    Gannon: Wait, who’s the whore again?

    Both: Ahahahahahahaha!

  7. Andy
    Posted June 30, 2005 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    GOP-BS, that’s got a nice ring to it, actually.

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