In a world of screaming cable television hosts and partisan media outlets, PBS is supposed to be the last refuge for honest news. This is ostensibly why taxpayers still contribute money to the public broadcasting system. That money is appropriated to try to guarantee that there remains at least one forum for unvarnished facts, even if such facts offend those with money and power.
The problem, though, is that because our government spends so little on public media as compared to many other industrialized countries, our most prominent public media outlets are becoming instruments for special interests to launder their ideological agenda through a seemingly objective brand. Starved for public resources, these outlets are increasingly trying to get their programming funded with money from corporations and wealthy political activists — and that kind of cash comes with ideological expectations.
Case in point is the Public Broadcasting Service, as evidenced by the major report we published this week at PandoDaily. In that story, we meticulously documented how PBS’s flagship affiliate, WNET of New York, solicited funding from former Enron trader John Arnold. The $3.5 million Arnold contributed was earmarked for a “Pension Peril” series now airing in PBS NewsHour broadcasts on stations throughout the country.