Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Making fun of people always involves that rubber and glue thing...

I catch a lot of ribbing from my friends because I like the PBS Newshour...

Wait! Before you bail on me, please hear me out. If I can open myself up by exposing personal information from which you can mock me, pay me the courtesy of allowing me to explain my position. I did say please.

From my days way back in college, I was a MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour fan. When Robert MacNeil retired in 1995 from the program, I realized an important part of television history went with him. He had anchored or co-anchored PBS news for over 20 years during a time when the vast majority of the country didn't have cable/satellite television, much less 24-hour news stations.

So Jim Lehrer picked up the slack and carried on the PBS news tradition. Liberals put down PBS news for being too corporate and establishment friendly. Conservatives mock the program for being on lowly public television which is so anti-capitalist (psst...aka communist) and bourgeois.

Sidebar: If bourgeois is synonymous with both commonplace and conservative, and conservative is synonymous with traditional and cautious, shouldn't conservatives (like myself) be content with commonplace and classicist? That's always puzzled me. Back to the show...

Most of my peers are die-hard Fox News people. Personally, I'm a philosophical conservative and don't need to be told how to think like a conservative or made to feel guilty for not necessarily agreeing with the Republican Party platform. Strike that. The Republican Party platform isn't the issue with's the Republicans who don't pay attention to their own party's platform and spend and tax like that other category of political philosophy. Elitist...I mean liberals.

Geezzz. I knew this would get off course.

Back to the PBS Newshour. I just don't want my news from a source with on obvious bias...conservative or liberal. While the Newshour has been accused of leaning right, it's just not so obvious to me. The show does a great job of presenting both sides of an issue in my opinion, and while some stories are inherently conservative or liberal by nature, neither are openly demonized. That's refreshing and allows me to sneer, laugh or yell at the program when I feel like it...and not when I'm cued.

Jim Lehrer laid out the reporting guidelines he and MacNeil had used through the years for the program in an interview in 2009 as the show transformed again to its current format. They are:

Do nothing I cannot defend. Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me. Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story. Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am. Assume the same about all people on whom I report.

Assume personal lives are a private matter, until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise. Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything. Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes, except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.

And, finally, I am not in the entertainment business.

I need no other justifications for viewing.

 For the record, I do wish PBS was solely supported by local communities without tax dollars....I am a conservative after all.



David said...

I am for without tax dollars too!

MIsty said...

PBS Newshour. Who would have guessed that one?

Brad said...

I like The NewsHour too Tony C! Never really thought about it from your angle before, but I agree with you. I don't need to be told how to think like a conservative.

Great post.