At the recent so-called “media reform” conference funded by George Soros, his friend Bill Moyers delivered a keynote address. Most of it was predictable left-wing rhetoric. But he did make a point we have been making-the American taxpayers should not be forced to spend their money on a public TV show featuring members of the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
Moyers noted that Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, put up a considerable sum of money, about $5 million, for a new weekly broadcast featuring Paul Gigot and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Moyers commented that Gigot “is a smart journalist, a sharp editor, and a fine fellow.” Moyers said that he had Gigot on his own public TV show, “Now,” several times and that Moyers even proposed that he become a regular contributor.
Moyers went on to say, “But I confess to some puzzlement that the Wall Street Journal, which in the past editorialized to cut PBS off the public tap, is now being subsidized by American taxpayers although its parent company, Dow Jones, had revenues in just the first quarter of this year of $400 million. I thought public television was supposed to be an alternative to commercial media, not a funder of it.”
Moyers called this a “weird deal,” and we agree. But it’s also weird to have used the CPB-supported Public Broadcasting Service to provide a platform for Bill Moyers for all these years. Moyers doesn’t like the show, Journal Editorial Report, calling it a case of “right-wingers talking to each other.” He asked, “Why not $5 million to put the editors of the Nation on PBS?” He advocated balancing “right-wing talk with left-wing talk.”
Unfortunately, that may be where we’re heading, and that’s where Tomlinson has gone wrong. The answer to liberal bias on public TV or radio isn’t to fund conservative bias because people like Moyers are going to be clamoring for more funding of liberal bias. And that means the taxpayers lose. End the bias, from the left and right, by terminating the funding. Save the taxpayers $400 million a year. Isn’t this a reasonable compromise?