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Congressman Calls for CPB Investigation

The ranking Democrats on the House Commerce and Appropriations committees--John Dingell of Michigan and David Obey of Wisconsin, respectively--have called for an investigation into reports that the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is pushing a Republican agenda on the noncom service.

The two have asked Kenneth Konz, inspector general for CPB, to investigate whether Kenneth Tomlinson violated the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967,  which "prohibits interference by Federal officials over the content and distribution of public programming," and from applying political litmus tests in hiring decisions.

They also want Konz to investigate a report in the New York Times that Tomlinson hired a consultant to review the Now with Bill Moyers program for political content, as well to look into CPB decisions to "remove" Kathleen Cox as CPB president, hire a pair of programming ombudsmen, and hire Mary Catherine Andrews while still director of the White House Office of Global Communications--she moved to CPB--to draft guidelines for a review of the public TV and radio content.

Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy applauded the move.

"The alleged editorial interference by CPB into PBS programming deserves a thorough investigation.  One is struck with the irony that Members of Congress have asked the CPB watchdog--the IG--to investigate the newest CPB watchdogs--the ombudspersons."