NY Times article omits key information about conservative ties of CPB hires


Repeating a flaw in its initial report on efforts by Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to correct alleged "liberal bias" in public broadcasting, a May 15 New York Times article falsely suggested that Tomlinson recently hired both a liberal and a conservative to serve as ombudsmen for CPB grantees. In fact, both ombudsmen have conservative ties. In addition, the article failed to note that the media analyst whom Tomlinson is considering hiring to review National Public Radio's (NPR) coverage of Israel is a conservative who pioneered the myth of the "liberal media."

The Times article, written by Stephen Labaton, noted that "the corporation decided in April to appoint the two ombudsmen to monitor radio and television content" and that "Mr. Tomlinson [said] that the corporation would have a liberal ombudsman and a conservative one." In fact, one ombudsman, William Schulz, is an avowed conservative who was a longtime colleague of Tomlinson at Reader's Digest. The other, Ken Bode, is an adjunct fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute who endorsed Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels last year, as Media Matters has noted.

The Times also noted that Tomlinson "contacted S. Robert Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), a research group, about conducting a study on whether NPR's Middle East coverage was more favorable to Arabs than to Israelis." But the article failed to mention Lichter's conservative ties. Lichter's book The Media Elite: America's New Powerbrokers (Adler, 1986), was crucial in establishing the myth of the "liberal media." CMPA has received funding from the right-wing Scaife and Olin foundations, and CMPA fund-raising letters have featured endorsements from well-known conservatives, including former President Ronald Reagan and Christian Coalition founder Rev. Pat Robertson.

Media Matters has noted serious flaws in a recent study co-authored by Lichter that purported to show a "sharp shift to the left" among higher education faculty, as well as Lichter's false claims in media interviews, contradicted by the study itself, that the study offers proof of bias against conservatives in academic hiring and firing.

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