Are ‘Is PBS Still Necessary’ articles still necessary?
Comments from readers about Charles McGrath's New York Times commentary published Feb. 17 (described at right).
The bottom line is that PBS isn't in it for the money. All the other channels which try to provide the niche aspects of PBS's larger charge, has one objective: to make money. That means that their standard isn't specifically an impartial and educational one. Their objective is to separate people from their money. That isn't in and of itself horrible. We live in a capitalist society, and that's how business works. But PBS isn't "business." It's an entity created quite specifically to do what business can't: provide information that its viewers should know, that those viewers might well not get anywhere else, and to do so for free. As the circle of companies which own all of America's electronic media continues to get smaller and smaller, the importance of PBS becomes larger and larger. Those owners' interests are to make money, not to tell viewers information they should know. Further, they have an incentive not to tell viewers information which makes the owners' business ownings look bad. In other words, they all have a built-in reason to not tell you everything you should know. For these and a dozen other reasons, PBS is necessary.
San Antonio, Texas
Monday, Feb. 25, 2008, 9:13 a.m.
I would not watch more that 10% of what I watch now on Time Warner Cable
were it not for PBS. I especially want Jim Lehrer for all my serious
news coverage. I can't stand the "personality" news screamers and
immediately shut them out. Also commercials break up everything into
sound bites. God help us if PBS ever dies. I also watch BBC and German public TV and these three are of ten the only news of Africa or Asia or the Eastern block including Russia.
Monday, Feb. 25, 12:52 a.m.
I thought Charles McGrath had a few good points, but he missed a critical one. No one "develops" programs for PBS the way they do other networks because frankly, PBS is not a network. It's a consortium of like-minded stations with the common bond that they receive money through PBS and CPB. There is no "pot of gold" to go out and produce a pilot for the next Nova or purchase Planet Earth. And even if there was, there would be no guarantee that any PBS station would run it because, well, it's not a network. But he's right that many stations rely on tired Britcoms and endlessly looped repeats of The War or Frontline and that few stations produce regular local news and public affairs, or anything for that matter. As for the money, I had hoped he would conclude that PBS could and should live without government subsidy.
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 1:48 p.m.
YES!!! I listen to and watch PBS. It has a flavor of music and news that I cannot fined in commerical radio and TV.
Jerry from Michigan
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 8:17 p.m.
Mr. McGrath has is opinions about public television programming. And he is entitled to them. But his credibility is called into question because he thinks Kenneth Y. Tomlinson was "Chairman of PBS." It takes very little fact checking to learn who Mr. Tomlinson really was, how he was a pawn of Karl Rove and whoever else was in charge at the White House, and how he ran his horse racing business out of his government office.
And in the New York Times! I thought the editors of the Grey Lady knew better.
Brandenburg Productions Inc.
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 4:03 p.m.
I have found underwriting much more intrusive recently. The fund drives, three times a year 10 years ago, are now almost monthly, and oh so tiresome. While some of the local programs are good, they are very expensive to make. New York has nine public stations, each one with several million-dollar budgets. Seems they might join forces and save us some bucks. TCM really offers noncommercial TV. Maybe PBS should call them and find out the secret (Mr. Turner?).
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 4:02 p.m.
Web page updated Feb. 25, 2008
Copyright 2008 by Current Publishing Committee