FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2005
16 Senators Urge President To Call For Removal Of Public Broadcasting Chairman Tomlinson
House GOP Slashes Funding of PBS, Tomlinson Doesn’t Even Speak up to Defend CPB, Hires Lobbyists to Undermine Influence of Member Stations on CPB Board
80% of Public Believes PBS is “Fair and Balanced” in Poll Hidden by Tomlinson
Schumer: Overt Political Agenda Undermines Credibility of Public Television
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and fourteen other Senators urged President George W. Bush to call for the removal of the Chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson. In a letter today, sixteen Senators stated that Mr. Tomlinson has spent a great deal of time and the public’s money undermining public television in his new post and making the CPB weaker than before he took over the chairmanship. Public broadcasting, in particular the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is an invaluable resource for our TV-watching public. Congress created this not-for-profit entity in 1967, and it has become one of the most relied upon sources of news and educational programs for all Americans, and especially their children.
The Senators wrote, “We strongly disagree with your Administration’s decision to appoint an individual to head a not-for-profit corporation such as public broadcasting who is actively undermining, under-funding, and ultimately undoing its mission.
Mr. Tomlinson has made a series of decisions that call into question his commitment to public television: - He hid polls from the public that show that public support for PBS is around 80 percent of Americans believe that public television is “fair and balanced;” - He has spent unnecessary funds to investigate individual news programs for bias; - He adjusted programming to cut news programs because of perceived bias; - He didn’t speak out publicly against cuts to massive cuts to public television by the House Appropriations Committee; - He hired expensive lobbyists to strategize about how to encourage senators to oppose a bill that would have allowed individual public television stations to have more representations on the board of the CPB; and - He has recommended Patricia Harrison, a former Republican Party co-chair, to be the new CPB President.
The Republican leadership in the House has cut nearly $200 million for CPB’s budget – and has slashed the “Ready to Learn” shows such as Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street by $23 million in the House Appropriations Committee.
“We urge you to immediately replace Mr. Tomlinson with an executive who takes his or her responsibility to the public television system seriously, not one who so seriously undermines the credibility and mission of public television,” their letter concluded.
Senators who signed the letter are: Schumer, Lautenberg, Feinstein, Leahy, Stabenow, Nelson (FL), Durbin, Kennedy, Harkin, Corzine, Cantwell, Biden, Boxer, Mikulski, Wyden, and Lieberman.
Click here to view letter.
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