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Pols urge probe of CPB

Demos request investigation into Tomlinson's agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two congressmen have called for an investigation into reports of political pressure inside the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

House Democrats John D. Dingell (Mich.) and David Obey (Wis.) sent a letter on Wednesday to CPB inspector general Kenneth A. Konz, requesting that he look into recent media reports that CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson has been pushing a conservative agenda onto PBS and NPR.

Specifically, the congressman asked Konz to determine whether Tomlinson is violating the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which prohibits federal officials from exerting any influence over content and distribution of public programming. It also bars use of any political “litmus tests” in hiring.

Tomlinson monitored at least one PBS show for liberal bias and insisted it be balanced by adding a public affairs show with a predominantly conservative viewpoint. He has also consulted at least one White House official for guidance in defining the new CPB post of ombudsman, and then hired the official.

According to a joint statement issued by the congressmen, their letter to Konz said, “CPB’s own research has shown that the American public believes public television and radio programming is objective and balanced. If CPB is moving in the direction of censorship of public affairs content based on partisanship and political views, this will severely erode the public trust that public broadcasting heretofore has enjoyed.”