To the Board of Directors of CPB:
I recently sent a message like the one below to my local public radio station, KCRW in California. I noted therein that the station and NPR receive donations from an impressive list of foundations, sponsors, and probably millions of individuals, which is as it should be. I congratulated the station for this show of public support, and for the quality programming that I do appreciate. KCRW's President contacted me and seemed genuinely interested in my viewpoint. She also indicated that she would take the issue up with the station's Board. To date, i.e. three months later, I have seen no change in what I perceive to be programming bias.
The same goes for NPR. I contacted that organization with very similar comments to those below. The station representative responded point blank that they disagreed with my viewpoint. There seemed to be no further avenue to pursue the issue with NPR.
I am now taking up this issue with CPB, which supplies our tax dollars to these two broadcasting outlets among many others. I object to the distribution of our money to what I consider to be biased entities. Therefore, I would like you to consider:
- CPB's mission says content and services should be "reflective of America's common values...." I disagree that the content CPB finances at KCRW and NPR are so reflective, inasmuch as my own values are given very short change. (See my communication below.)
- CPB's mission states it finances "content that is for, by and about the diverse communities we seek to serve...." This content does NOT serve my community, i.e. the community of people such as myself who do not agree with what I will label the Progressive platform.
I have already filed a complaint with your Ombudsman Mr. Coleman, who couldn't be more polite and understanding, but he describes his incapacity to address my issues. He referred me to Helen Mollick at the Office of the Inspector General, but she declined to participate in a phone conversation among the three of us, referring me rather to this contact format to inform CPB's Board. Hence this message, which is addressed to the Board of CPB.
Here is the content of my messages to KCRW, NPR, and also now to CPB, in previous communications:
I have been a listener of KCRW/NPR (and also PBS/CPB on television) for about 20 years. I used to donate, but I no longer do because I am increasingly disappointed in the content. The station and NPR's (and PBS/CPB's) managers probably believe the content is balanced, or unbiased, but in my opinion, this is not accurate.
20 years ago, I got my news from the radio station/NPR every morning (and often on TV in the evening through PBS/CPB). I was never insulted or irritated. Today, I listen for only two reasons: because I want to get the liberal (Progressive) point of view, and because it’s the only station my radio picks up in my bathroom. (I no longer spend much time on my PBS news TV stations either.) I never used to have negative reactions to the reporters’ words. Today, I do almost daily.
The content is not balanced. I disagree with where KCRW/NPR (also PBS/CPB) are placing the fulcrum point. In this increasingly polarized political environment, it is crucial that publicly supported media refrain from picking sides. From what I can glean from the 990s, public stations receive a significant percentage from government in various forms, and some contributions in kind from publicly funded institutions (e.g. at KCRW, space from Santa Monica College, and perhaps other universities).
Because the public stations accept donations from government, no matter how little, I believe they have a duty to remain impartial, especially on political matters. Yet, particularly since Mr. Trump was elected, I hear only a small percentage of the reporting in support of the Republican/conservative or even libertarian point of view. A majority of the states voted for a Republican, but even if Republicans were in the minority, I find this kind of partiality unconscionable. I would say the same were the situation reversed.
Now I realize that some states such as California and the larger urban markets are left-leaning, and that from that perspective the interests may lie on the left side of the spectrum. I also realize that most of the programming officers very likely believe, deep in their heart, that the reporting is balanced. For example many probably believe, judging from what I hear and see, that Global Warming is decided science; that Mr. Trump is an imbecile and a danger to society–worse, that he is a traitor and probably colluded with the Russians; that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong and has unblemished integrity; that women deserved to have a female President in 2017; that minority issues and diversity merit disproportionate emphasis compared to other topics of interest; that sanctuary cities are helpful to this nation; that the new tax plan shouldn't be explained over the air waves more than a token few minutes out of hours of negative debate; that guns are responsible for deaths and not people and the lack of strong security; and that anyone who disagrees with the above is intellectually inferior and should be ignored.
I understand the sincerity and the market choice, but because I am one of those inferior intellects, I will not give to KCRW, PBS or NPR for as long as they continue to be the subliminal voice of the left. Furthermore, the CPB has been given the public mandate to distribute tax dollars. In other words, CPB is distributing my money and that of millions of people like me. Either give us our dollars back, or begin giving some of that money to broadcasters with alternative viewpoints.
Respectfully, Johanna Delay