Inspection- Of Public Broadcasting and Br’er Rabbit

Do what’nsoever you want to do with me, Brer Fox, but please, please, please! Don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

“Do what’nsoever you want to do with me, Mr. Right Wing Congressman, but please, please, please! Don’t throw Public Broadcasting into that commercial broadcasting pit!”

So let me get this straight. If James O’Keefe does it, it’s a “sting,” or “investigative journalism.” Even if his edits turn it all into a rather convenient lie. If the Buffalo Beast does it, even if the target hung themselves, it’s a prank call and such things must be outlawed.


So much for there being a “liberal media.”

Speaking of Public Broadcasting’s most recent made to walk the plank-er for doing what’s politically incorrect these days: Ron Schiller. Made to walk the plank for bashing teabaggers at a fake fundraiser meeting. Ron has every right to those opinions. Should he have been voicing them at a meeting like that? Not wise, for sure. Does that mean the majority of those who are involved in public broadcasting feel that way? No, no more than all Republican governors support Walker, or are Koch shills, although the last might be quite likely considering how the Right is funded these days.

I know what I am about to suggest will turn off some readers, some whom I suspect are big fans of NPR, and PBS. Please remember: this is one example of one possibility. The message here is more about tactics.

Sooner or later, they will gut whatever is left of government funding to public broadcasting. It’s going to happen.

I was listening to one of the two NPR streams on Sirius. I honestly don’t remember the program. It was a discussion of the drive to defund public broadcasting. John Fund was given plenty of time to state his opinions. He was never interrupted. Not buffered by two or three rabid Lefties. John Fund said that he is all in favor of funding public broadcasting. But with a caveat: “they must straighten out their act” and “appeal” more to mainstream; “middle America” Then he said, “Be more ‘balanced.'”


That’s a “caught attempting drown my supposedly ‘non-partisan,’ ‘merely analytical point’ like a bag of kittens in a septic tank” moment.

A moment later, with a significant pause between “more” and the previous use of “balanced,” he substituted another word, “(be more) ‘inclusive.'” I could tell he realized using “balanced” probably let his true intent out of the bag; the kind of “bag” one might use to drown those who don’t follow the Right’s idea of what’s politically correct. It was pointed at what’s left of less than Right focused public broadcasting. The mainstream media has been joining the Right Wing FOX march to the river for quite a while now. Fund wants to legally insist public broadcasting join the parade.

Apparently he has less than “no problem” if public broadcasting becomes nothing more than yet another, redundant, source of Right Wing talking points. Then, and only then, is it OK if it sucks off a governmental teat, once it lost every ounce of independence from a FOX-like group think.

The irony was let out of the “bag” before he chose the word “balanced,” if you simply paid attention. Here, on NPR, he was allowed all the time he needed and not buffered by two or more rabid lefties. He wasn’t shouted over. He wasn’t interrupted. He wasn’t called names. His mike wasn’t potted down. Pure irony: NPR can be quite “balanced.” However the only network claiming “balance” has all the interruptions, shot overs and more.

Indeed it reflects the extreme mental imbalance of the Right and their fake “news” media.

More honest are those who simply wish to cut all funding. And I am at the point now where I think they may be right: only because this is a battle that will eventually lead to defunding, no matter what we do. And with so much on the table these days, this is a fight, an argument. we don’t need. And more important: there’s also an opportunity here that I think many are missing.

Democrats really need to learn to be a little more clever, like Br’er Rabbit. Start making plans like in Stratego, Chess, guerrilla warfare and especially like judo, or like Br’er Rabbit. Use their momentum against them. Take their greatest wishes and help them be real in the worst ways.

There’s an opportunity here and we’re missing it. The Right wants to defund public broadcasting. We need a platform on which to build something to counter their type of broadcasting; a platform that already exists and will need more support when that funding disappears.


Once NPR and PBS lose all public funding, and there isn’t a hell of a lot of it anyway, they would be free to be what the Right always accuses them of being: more of an actual oracle for the Left.

I would never suggest dropping All Things or Morning Edition. These are actual “news” programs, unlike what jokingly passes for “news” in the mainstream media. I wouldn’t suggest dropping any specific program. I am suggesting taking what has been built so far and adding more of a platform for the Thom Hartmanns and even stories on our Mike Malloys. Cover what the corporate media refuses to cover, refuses to cover, because it might make their masters look bad.

This would take a lot of planning, a lot of funding, and certainly a Soros or so.

I know: one hell of a long shot, if even slightly possible. But unlike IE America or Air America there will be a network already set of for broadcasting that won’t rely on mostly low wattage stations in the likes of Podunk Station, Alabama, or the pre-existing non-supportive likes of Clear Channel who bought the programming and then did all they could do to kill it.

For too long our fund raising efforts, or feet on the ground efforts, have been little more than thumbs stuck in an ever cracking dike. In an act of mere competitive convenience, if nothing else, the likes of the mainstream media have been doing all they can to assist with the cracking led by FOX… even MSNBC with Mr. Dead Intern in My Office, Right Wing Morning Joe, for example.

Right Wing uber morality is an oxymoron, isn’t it?

Maybe this is possible. Maybe not. But the point to this edition of Inspection is really not any specific suggestion, but the tactic, the planning: being more clever. We are too reactive and not proactive enough. We need to start doing what the Right does: take what they want to do and use it against them; not just piss and kvetch.

From 2000 to 2006 we were thrown into a big patch and the result: the 2006 and 2008 elections. We never planned for 2008: and I include Mr. Dump On His Base, Barack Obama.

We need a network, our own news.

So maybe we need to be thrown into yet another “briar patch?”


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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