Things just brightened a little in the dark and cloudy U.S. airwaves: Republican Kenneth Tomlinson has quit as the chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the chief funder of PBS and NPR.
Tomlinson, a Republican, quit shortly before CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz was to publish a report after investigating his activities, including paying outside researchers to check public programing for liberal bias.
Critics, including broadcasters and congressional Democrats, accused Tomlinson of trying to advance his own conservative agenda in public broadcasting, which is supposed to be non-partisan.
….”The board does not believe that Mr. Tomlinson acted maliciously or with any intent to harm CPB or public broadcasting, and the board recognizes the Mr. Tomlinson strongly disputes the findings in the soon-to-be-released inspector general’s report,” the board said in a statement.
In other words, don’t expect that report to be an exoneration. A Media Matters campaign detailed his systematic assault on the political independence of NPR and PBS.
And while this is a helpful development, it probably won’t change much on its own. From the Reuters report on Tomlinson’s resignation:
Center for Digital Democracy Executive Director Jeff Chester, a critic of Tomlinson, said his departure was unlikely to stop what he described as behind-the-scenes programing pressure on PBS and NPR.
“Board chair Halpern and vice chair Gaines will continue Tomlinson’s legacy to reshape public broadcasting more to the liking of conservatives,” Chester said in a statement.
Veteran Republican Party fund-raisers Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines were elected in September as CPB board chairman and vice chair, respectively.
The corporation’s president is former Republican National Committee co-chair Patricia Harrison; the inspector-general’s investigation also looked into her hiring.
Updated: The U.S. State Department is now investigating Tomlinson… and the evidence they’ve shared with the inspector general includes the former chair’s on-the-job e-mail with one Karl Rove.