The GOP loves a good straw man, and this week they have a mind to thresh NPR in the wake of the Juan Williams firing scandal. Their usual calls for pulling the plug on PBS are sure to follow. To make their fiscal case that public media is a waste of tax money, they’ll rouse their rabble by labeling it an insidious, socialized, liberal disease that is infecting our children, not to mention whatever passes for a public discourse these days. After all, ratings tell us that we Americans turn to cable news, and the droning of its 24-hour opinion-mongering and infotainment, to stay “informed”. So who needs the pureness of public media, when Fox News and MSNBC have proven our clear market preference for “processed” news, no matter its societal health risks? Today, the ever-articulate and even-handed Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV) wished the profiteers of processed news be forever cast from the temple of TV, and made the laudable case for a more balanced national TV diet, complete with nourishing news and analysis.
While the FCC can do just about nothing to change the woeful ways of cable networks, it certainly could help level the playing field for PBS. So…how about it?