Our system of government is based on a concept of checks & balances between branches of government. Executive, legislative, and judicial. A fourth “branch” or “fourth estate” has historically been the informal final arbiter of truth within this system.
Journalism had enjoyed a reputation of objectivity for some years. Think Murrow, Cronkite, and the unsung heroes of truth that trudged the wires for AP and UPI. Broadcast journalism was the first to fall (the “Eyewitness News” model) and the line between truth and “message” became blurred.
NPR and PBS were my last hopes. NPR has increasingly come under fire for some administrative personnel decisions (Juan Williams) but for my money, continues to provide generally objective, thoughtful content.
Then PBS. Another stalwart of objective journalism. The PBS Newshour and Frontline are, in my opinion, unmatched for in-depth editorial content. Other news organizations such as Al Jazeera and BBC also continue to produce top quality content.
I read this article from David Sirota and another piece of me died. To summarize, PBS is launching a two-year series called “The Pension Peril”. The series promotes cuts to public employee pensions (disclaimer: I am a former county employee who is not receiving a public pension and is adamantly opposed to exorbitant public pensions).
Here’s the poison pill: the series financed by, as the article states “former Enron trader John Arnold, a billionaire political powerbroker who is actively trying to shape the very pension policy that the series claims to be dispassionately covering.”
Et tu PBS? Your argument that you retain editorial control over content is a shameful expression of crap clearly designed to save face in light of the disclosure of your masters.
That the PBS Newshour promotes the series sickens me. When I think PBS, I think objectivity, truth, integrity.
Whether it is an economic reality forcing this funding or not matters little. They’ve entered the partisan arena inhabited by subjective “news” organizations such as Fox and the Wall Street Journal.
I have no argument with balance. The MSNBC counter to Fox and their ilk. What I have issue with is the demise of the Fourth Estate…
Of the myth of democracy…