The assumption that public television provides a more balanced view of current news, an alternative to commercial television, is false according to a recent report of the media organization, FAIR, Fairness & Accuracy in Media. The guests appearing on public television are predominantly white, male and elitist, far more likely to represent corporate interests than any others.
Last fall when PBS canceled “Now,” and retired the Bill Moyers “Journal,” these programs were replaced with “Need to Know,” and “The News Hour.” Guest lists
from both shows were at least 78% male and 80% white and viewers were five times as likely to see guests from corporations rather than labor, consumer and environmental organizations.
Though polls show consistent majorities of
Americans have opposed the Afghan war for more than a year, not a single “News Hour” guest represented an antiwar group or expressed antiwar views.
“The NewsHour,” public TV’s nightly newscast, is actually privately owned. For-profit conglomerate “Liberty Media” which holds a controlling stake in the company is run by industrialist John Malone, who has declared that “nobody wants to go out and invent something and inves hundreds of millions of dollars of risk capital for the public interest.”
The most common guests on “The Çharlie Rose Show” were reporters from major media outlets followed up by corporate guests, well-known academics and government officials . 85% of guests were male and U.S. guests were 92% white. In four weeks of “Washington Week,” the
longest-running public affairs show on public television, 29 reporters appeared, only one of which did not represent a corporate-owned outlet.
We may think public television presents a pro and con look at the news but it is, in reality, slanted heavily in favor of corporate interests.