Time to Unplug CPB - and Question Common Cause

Posted by Scott - October 9, 2005 (entry 365)

While not being one to deride technological visions, realistic timetables, and broadening definitions of public media, I am still not at all satisfied with Common Cause's mostly negative response to the excellent recent Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting paper "Time to Unplug the CPB - Replace Corrupt Board with Independent Trust" by FAIR's Steve Rendall and Peter Hart.

For our more casual readers it should be pointed out that Common Cause has, along with groups like Free Press and a few others, positioned itself at the forefront of the media reform movement these days, helping to organize most all of the various media reform groups into coalition - and usually to some effect. But it appears that during the right's latest attempt to cripple and defund public broadcasting, Common Cause hamstrung the activist community's response, pushing on us the uncritical "save PBS" campaign this summer, a bandwagon upon which groups like MoveOn.org and Free Press willingly lept.

When the next broad and orchestrated right wing attack on PBS funding comes (as surely it must under the current approach), will the response of Common Cause (and others?) again be that we should simply "save PBS"? Will they again skip the opportunity to really discuss the issue until after funding is again mostly restored and the bright spotlight has moved away? Free Press seems to have learned its lesson, but my inquiries to Common Cause indicate that, apparently, the answer is yes. That approach is (still) dead wrong.


EVERY time the subject of public broadcasting comes up in ANY critical public context, we are ALL going to have to find ways to respond that include words such as: "permanent trust funding", "fully democratic restructuring", "robust", "truly diverse", "independent", "replace the current system" (i.e. CPB), and so on, in order to educate the press and public about the true nature of the problem of public broadcasting.


As an example, CMA sent this press release/action out June 14th this year because others did not.

Scott Sanders

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