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Activists Push CPB Transparency

The leaders of the major media activist groups want the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board to publicly disclose its meeting records and activities.

In a letter to Chairman Ken Tomlinson and the board Wednesday, the groups, which include Common Cause, Center for Digital Democracy, and Media Access Project, have asked the board to support a number of resolutions at its Sept. 19-20 board meeting.

They include:

  • Not letting the chairman approve any outside contract without the board's knowledge and approval (directed at Tomlinson's now-controversial hiring of a consultant to gauge bias in noncom shows)
  • Not hiring somebody to gauge the bias in noncom shows on public broadcasting  without first informing public broadcasting you're doing it
  • Streaming, televising or otherwise making its board meetings available in real time to the public, and then archived for later perusal
  • Making time for public comment at open meetings and providing sufficient notice
  • Making any board member conflict of interest statements available online

The letter, the groups said, was prompted by "a number of troubling activities by CPB or its directors," though they did not specify.

CPB and Tomlinson have come under fire from inside and outside the noncom ranks for, among other things, his hiring of the bias consultant and his appointment to president of CPB of former Republican National Commitee Co-Chair Patricia de Stacy Harrison.

The letter's signatories included Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Josh Silver (Free Press), Mark Cooper (Consumer Federation of America), Jonathan Rintels (Center for Creative Voices in Media), and Alex Nogales (National Hispanic Media Coalition).