New Conservative Shows Will Throw PBS Off Balance, Liberal Group Says

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - A liberal media watchdog group is accusing PBS of "pandering" to conservatives through its introduction of several new programs that feature conservative hosts, writers and editors.

"Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered," which debuts Friday night and features conservative CNN pundit Tucker Carlson, "The Journal Editorial Report," which features writers and editors from the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and a planned program featuring conservative talk show host Michael Medved will be added to the Public Broadcasting Service's lineup.

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) complains that the shows are an attempt to balance out public television's "alleged liberal bias."

The group wrote in an action alert, "According to reports in the public broadcasting newspaper Current (1/19/04, 6/7/04) and in the New Yorker (6/7/04), conservative complaints about the alleged liberal bias of the program 'Now with Bill Moyers' contributed to the momentum to 'balance' the PBS lineup.

"The new programs seem to be the result of that pressure," FAIR added. "In fact, 'Now' will soon see its role on public television diminish, as the program is cut from one hour to 30 minutes when Moyers voluntarily leaves the program later this year."

According to FAIR, Moyers will be replaced by co-anchor David Brancaccio, from the public radio business show Marketplace, "who expresses no obvious ideology."

"If Carlson, Medved and the staff of the Wall Street Journal editorial page are all necessary to balance the liberal Moyers, by 2005 there will be no one on PBS to balance them," FAIR claimed.

The media watchdog blamed the new programming on the appointments of Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines, who FAIR describes as "big donors to the Republican Party," to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides the largest source of funds for PBS.

Halpern and Gaines "do not hide their political agenda," FAIR wrote.

The group noted that Gaines fundraised for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and chaired his political action committee GOPAC. "At the same time that Gaines was raising money for Gingrich's GOPAC, Gingrich was pushing Congress to cut all federal funds to public TV," FAIR concluded.

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