The New York Times' Editorial Crusade

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Once again editors at The New York Times (search) are using their front page to pursue an editorial crusade.

Their target this time is the current Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who has the radical notion that programming on NPR (search) and PBS (search) isn’t as balanced as it should be. Chairman Ken Tomlinson (search) is quoted in the front-page article saying, "I frankly feel at PBS headquarters there is a tone deafness to issues of tone and balance." Does the New York Times even bother to look for evidence that Mr. Tomlinson may be right? No.

Instead, the lead paragraph — the one that tips off the reader to the “real” story — warns that, “some public broadcasting leaders… object that his actions pose a threat to editorial independence.”

Now, arguing that PBS and NPR tilt to the left isn’t very radical. Last summer I was on a panel of media types, including a woman from national public radio, who accused FOX of being unbalanced. So I asked her: “Can you think of one person on staff at NPR who would vote for President Bush?” Instead of answering, she asked me how many folks at FOX would vote against President Bush, to which I answered it was about 50/50, pretty much like the American electorate.

So I asked her again how many people she knew on staff at NPR who would vote for Bush. She couldn’t think of one. Not one. How can a broadcasting organization claim to represent the "public" when it's so one-sided? That's why Mr. Tomlinson says PBS should have "a program schedule that's not skewed in one direction or another."

To The New York Times, that position is pegged as posing a "threat to editorial independence." But to the general public, it just might be seen as being fair.

And that’s the Observer.

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