Editor's Note: In light of the recent controversy over the firing of Juan Williams from NPR, we present this timely, archived column from Tibor Machan.
We finally have the right idea about public broadcasting in the air. The New York Times reports that there is now a serious call in Washington for the total abolition or privatization of this wholly inappropriate government supported, partially tax funded medium of Left wing propaganda.
Actually, I don't care how Let wing any national medium happens to be, so long as I am not forced to pay even a penny for its upkeep. There are dozens of very prominent magazines with a Left wing editorial policy – The Nation, Progressive, Mother Jones, Utne Report, The New York Review of Books, to name only the more prominent ones. In the fields of both popular and scholarly publications, the Left still holds prominent sway, despite all the talk about the "collapse of Socialism." But no one is forcing me to subscribe – I do so, when I do so, because I am interested in just how wrong intelligent people can be.
PBS and NPR – National Public Radio – in contrast, are massive broadcast ventures, supported and partly funded by the federal government, from taxes going to, e.g., the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Contrary to what many conservatives complain about, it is not so much the lack of balance in the programming that is so insidious. It is that there exists a first amendment medium that people in this country are forced to pay for.
Of course, it is undeniably true that both PBS and NPR are run for the sake of spreading socialist ideology. These people, contrary to what The New York Times keeps doggedly repeating, are not liberals. A Liberal believes in, for example, civil liberties and equality of opportunity, a free press and fairness, among other things. Liberals lean toward socialism mostly in economic matters. The editorial tone of nearly all PBS and NPR programming is radically socialist and, more recently, fascist – especially when it comes to environmental and feminist matters.
PBS runs innumerable opinion programs, beginning and ending, of course, with all the opportunities Bill Moyers gets for airing his pious laments about the universe. Moyers is no liberal but an agitator for the position that everything that is wrong with the world is due to the United States of America. His repeated intoning about what "we, in this country, are doing to …" is so tiresome that I simply cannot watch him, even when he interviews people I regard interesting. PBS's several interesting round table programs on various facets of our legal system is also very biased toward the left liberal agenda.
The leaders of these discussions, whose panels do manage to be balanced – if you believe that there are only two viewpoints in America worth telling the viewers about – are nearly all Harvard law professors and their orientation tends always toward leftist moralizing. There are no communists, libertarians, Muslims, Moonies or any other theorists who don't fit the mainstream balance, outside of some militant feminists and multiculturalists on these programs. And, more importantly, no one outside the Eastern educational establishment ever appears on them – which, frankly, annoys me, who teaches at a southern university no one at PBS ever thinks of inviting to appear on their programs.
There are fine things, too, on PBS. And who knows, maybe it does full justice to the intellectual market place, so balance need by no means be the standard by which to judge it. It is only because PBS is a government created and (partially) funded monopoly that I fully support those who are calling for its abolition. I would be even more enthusiastic if NPR got the axe – it has the most whiny, openly Left wing editorial tone among all mainstream media efforts. Its staff have just one voice, that of the smooth, velvety Eastern intellectual. (Just listen and try to find someone with a southern, Bronx or foreign accent, outside a few guest essayists. But then the same phenomenon would not bother me much if found on ABC, CNN or A&E, since I am not made to spend a dime of my life on those.)