June 15, 2005
Congressman Jim Ryun
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Ryun:
The e-mail below was forwarded to our office by one of your constituents.
I take issue with your contention that Mr. Tomlinson appointed a “liberal” ombudsman to monitor the content of public broadcasting. I assume you are referring to Ken Bode, who is, as Media Matters for America has documented, a former journalist and a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute. Last year, Mr. Bode endorsed Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels.
Given that Mr. Bode is a fellow at a conservative think tank and endorsed a Republican candidate for governor last year, I would be interested in your reasons for describing him as a liberal.
President and CEO
Media Matters for America
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E-mail from the office of Congressman Jim Ryun to private citizen:
From: “Congressman Jim Ryun”
Subject: Message from Rep. Jim Ryun
June 7, 2005
Dear (name redacted),
Thank you for contacting me with your views. I appreciate hearing from you.
Some have expressed concern over Kenneth Tomlinson, the current President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). President Clinton appointed Mr. Tomlinson to the CPB board in 2000, and he was elected chairman of the board in 2003. Since his election to the chair, Mr. Tomlinson has expressed concern that programming on the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) is not balanced. This is a problem since by law PBS is required to balance its programming. Mr. Tomlinson hired two ombudsmen - a conservative and a liberal - to investigate the content of PBS programming to ensure its compliance with the law. Some are concerned that this was an attempt by Mr. Tomlinson to ensure PBS programming reflects only the conservative ideology because he is a Republican.
PBS should not be held hostage to a single ideology. It receives public money, which cannot be used to endorse political positions. Therefore Mr. Tomlinson's actions were appropriate. There are plenty of private outlets for liberalism and conservatism, but the American taxpayer should not be forced to endorse a particular point of view in public broadcasting. If the chairman of CBP feels that tax money is being used in an inappropriate way on PBS, he has a duty to investigate it.
Be assured that I will continue to work towards balance in public broadcasting. Please feel free to contact me again with comments or concerns on matters that are important to you.
God Bless You,