Ever since the recent controversy broke about NPR, we've been noting how, despite the constant outcries about liberal bias in public broadcasting, conservative critics have done a very poor job documenting its supposedly offensive behavior. Apparently it's much easier to attack public broadcasting than it is to prove its journalism is unfair.
Writing at Commentary, Michael Rubin claims he has the goods (evidence of “dirty tricks” ) and wants the United States Congress to investigate what he presents as definitive proof of PBS's bias, as well as its unfair use of taxpayer money. The evidence? A PBS show, Frontline, hosts a website and on that website there's a “commentary” section and in that commentary section there are links to another site that Rubin does not approve of.
Did I mention he wants Congress to investigate this shocking behavior?
It seems that the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has a similar problem. Someone at its Frontline website has been substituting fake biographies of conservatives written by an organization called Right Web for legitimate institutional biographies.
That they have turned PBS into a tool for policy advocacy and dirty tricks is unfortunate. If that's what Frontline wants to do, so be it. But they should not do it with taxpayer money.
Here's a sample of a supposedly “fake” bio, from the Right Web's James Woolsey entry, which comes complete with 39 footnotes:
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton (1993-1995), R. James Woolsey is a neoconservative writer, activist, and government and corporate adviser who argues that the United States is fighting a “Long War” against terror. Woolsey is a self-described “Scoop Jackson/Joe Lieberman Democrat" who, despite his party affiliation, has advised a number of Republican Party figures, including President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain.
Here's the Frontline response to Rubin's claim [emphasis added]:
The Commentary blog post contended that Right Web publishes “fake biographies of conservatives.” After reviewing the matter, we find that the biographies on the Right Web site are not at all fake or fabricated, and seem to be well-sourced. However, we do think it's helpful for our readers to understand this site's particular point of view--and their stated focus on those who “promote militarist U.S. foreign and defense policies” --if they choose to click on this outside link for further information.
If conservatives are going to dedicate themselves to defunding, and demonizing, public broadcasting, they're going to have to do a better job documenting its supposed sins. Pointing to links you don't like doesn't really count.