BS News — Look Ma, no ‘P’!

May 11, 2016 | 4 comments

newshourPBS became our household’s media news of choice several years ago – probably because we believed their “mission statement” which goes like this:  PBS is a membership organization that, with its member stations, serves the American public with programming and services of the highest quality, using media to educate, inspire, entertain and express the diversity of perspectives. PBS empowers individuals to achieve their potential and strengthens the social, democratic and cultural health of the U.S.  It was the “diversity of perspectives” that we hoped was true.  And it helped that there weren’t commercials.

We had not watched any television news at all for a number of years, preferring to live in ignorance to being hammered day in and day out by the murder and mayhem report of ‘local’ stations.  We tried to keep up on things by reading the papers and news magazines but that was almost as bad.  And, we found, keeping abreast of every dire event didn’t help the quality of our day-to-day existence.  Besides, if we really needed to know something, someone was bound to tell us – in a phone call or on FaceBook or even in person.


PBS Newshour “Monday Nigh Politics”

But about the time of the Snowden controversy, we began to look at PBS, feeling that perhaps it might be a better alternative to the not-much-news-at-all offered by the other networks and to our hit-and-miss attempts at keeping current.  That choice hasn’t really worked out and as our current presidential primary campaign has unfolded, we have realized increasingly that PBS is yet another mainstream media clone.  It’s disheartening.

Take this week, for instance.  On Monday, Bernie Sanders held a rally in Sacramento.  21,000 people attended with another 10,000 continuing to wait outside the Bonney Stadium where it was held.  PBS breathed not a word about it.  Not Monday, which was perhaps too early.  But not even Tuesday.  In fact, in their “Monday Night Politics” report, Judy Woodruff, Amy Walters and Tamara Keith didn’t mention Senator Sanders at all!  They, like the “front-runners” themselves, are already into the post-convention presidential election.


Bernie Sanders Rally, Monday, May 9, 2016 –  Sacramento

While Bernie Sanders continues to break all records – attendance at his rallies, money-raising without any PAC backing, reaching across ‘party lines’ etc. etc. – the news media is increasingly silent. As CBS President Leslie Moonves said recently about the Republican race, “It may not be good for America, but its damn good for CBS,” He called the campaign for president a “circus” full of “bomb throwing,” and he hopes it continues.  Apparently, even PBS feels that Senator Sanders’ reasoned campaign focusing on issues, plus the fact that he’s gained his support from a grass roots level, is the polar opposite of ‘good’ for the media.   But wait!  What happened to diversity and that ‘P’ for public part?  And, of course, PBS calls its sponsors underwriters, not advertisers.  That probably should make all the difference…

We are turning off our TV set once again.  “Bring on the write-in campaign!” I say.  Let’s see what the people of our country want – the public unfiltered and unfettered.  And, did I say, shame on PBS?


  1. Sandy

    Looks like radio is still the best way to go.

  2. Cate Gable

    As Jon Stewart said—what the media wants to give us is not clarity but conflict. So the most ridiculous most divisive voice get the air-play.

  3. Jack Russell Stone

    Though I don’t follow your blog or anyone’s, I always enjoy it when I do. Our solutions for your dilemma are as follows: We watch only two regular news shows during the week, besides Sixty Minutes on Sunday.
    The most reliable is Democracy Now! (Amy Goodman) that is broadcast on LinkTV, a “listener-sponsored” show available by satellite or by any public network that wants to pick it up (NPR here locally, and others.) It is also a radio broadcast (originally, and continuing) on listener-sponsored radio that began in Berkeley. Check on for listings and for live streaming as well as previous shows and printable transcriptions of the programs. The format is mostly interviews with the actual people involved in the moment, not flat reporting.
    We also watch MSNBC (commercial) in the evening with Rachel Maddow, followed by Lawrence O’Donnell. That’s all ! No network crap. Enjoy, Jack
    P.S. Also listen to Thom Hartmann on radio out of Portland.

    • sydney

      Yes, we love Amy Goodman, too, In fact, I ‘shared’ her commentary of “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting” on FaceBook last week. We also listen to her on KMUN, our locally sponsored public radio stattion.


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