Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tomlinson Busted

From the New York Times:

Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting concluded today that its former chairman repeatedly broke federal law and its own regulations in a campaign to combat what he saw as liberal bias.

The corporation received $400 million this year from Congress to finance an array of programs on public television and radio, although its future financing has come under heavy criticism, particularly from conservative lawmakers. Its board is selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The corporation’s former chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who was ousted from the board two weeks ago when it was presented in a closed session with the details of the report, has said he sought to enforce a provision of the Public Broadcasting Act meant to ensure objectivity and balance in programming. But the report said that in the process, Mr. Tomlinson repeatedly crossed statutory boundaries that set up the corporation as a “heat shield” to protect public radio and television from political interference.

For instance, the report said that Mr. Tomlinson violated federal law by being heavily involved in getting more than $4 million in money for a program featuring the conservative editorial writers of The Wall Street Journal. The board is prohibited from getting involved in programming decisions, but the investigators found that Mr. Tomlinson had pushed hard for the program, “The Journal Editorial Report,” even as some staff officials at the corporation raised concerns over its cost.


The report said investigators found evidence that “political tests” were a major criteria used by Mr. Tomlinson in recruiting the corporation’s new president, Patricia Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and former senior State Department official.

According to the report, she was given the job after being promoted for it by an unidentified official at the White House. Investigators found e-mail messages between Mr. Tomlinson and the White House that, “while ‘cryptic’ in nature, give “the appearance that the former chairman was strongly motivated by political considerations in filling the president/C.E.O. position.” The corporation’s presidency, its senior staff job, has historically been reserved for a nonpartisan expert in public broadcasting.

The report said Mr. Tomlinson defended his decision to hire a candidate with strong political ties because of the need to build relationships with Congress for future requests for money.

Once again, tell me how the Bush administration is restoring honor and dignity to our government.