On Monday, when I read Jules Crittenden’s reviewÂ of the PBS Frontline documentary, Bush’s War, I was not as much surprised by the biased as I was upset that my tax dollars paid for this. It seemed that more often than not, PBS has become a federally subsidized outfit for anti-Republican propaganda.
To be sure, PBS has done produced some remarkable documentaries (I blogged about their docudrama on John Adams here). Their history documentaries are often quite good, but it seems that on current events, they tend to obscure, if not misrepresent, conservative ideas.
About a year ago, the network refused to air a documentary, Islam vs. Islamists about “moderate Muslims who have challenged the “Islamists” who espouse a more radical view of their religion.” There were reports that PBS executives were not happy that Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and former Reagan administration official, was “associated with the film in a senior role.” In the end, the privately-owned FoxNews aired the program (probably guaranteeing it a larger audience than it would have had on PBS).
I wonder if PBS executive raised objections when high profile liberals played senior roles in the production of other documentaries.
As Crittenden finds in his review, producers of Bush’s War preferred critics of Vice President Cheney and former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to those who actually helped those Republican officials shape the decision to go to war:
Of the actual participants in events, there is a heavy reliance on well-known Rumsfeld-Cheney adversaries such Richard Clarke, Richard Armitage, with no mention of the fact that they, and virtually everyone in this depiction of recent history, have axes to grind and their own sullied legacies to patch up. Few people actually close or aligned with Rumsfeld or Cheney appear to have been interviewed. Possibly because they knew how this was going to end up
And they relied on another media favorite not known for his honesty:
The â€œ16 wordsâ€ controversy is presented by none other than Joe Wilson, with no mention of the view that â€” yellowcake deal or no yellowcake deal â€” Saddam Hussein in fact had been in the market for uranium in Africa. You can also remain innocent of the fact that Joe Wilson is himself a controversial figure whose qualifications for his task are highly questionable and were in fact a bizarre case of nepotism.
I wonder if they asked Joe how he squared his public statements with the report of the Senate Intelligence Committee which found them at odds with the record.
Why is this taxpayer-supported network producing programs which make little effort to offer both sides of the story, which criticize conservative policy makers without giving them a chance to defend their actions?
This would be one thing on a show like Keith Olbermann on a privately-owned network, but on public television? It’s a sad commentary that this is what we have come to expect from a network that you and I subsidize.