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January 20, 2012

CAMERA Gets Candid on CPB Web Site

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CAMERA refutes the contention by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's ombudsman, seconded by a former National Public Radio staffer now reviewing the network's Arab-Israeli coverage, that the committee is not really interested in upholding journalistic standards. CAMERA's reply to Ombudsman Joel Kaplan's Web posting, headlined "Candid CAMERA," can be found here on the CPB Web site, www.cpb.org.

Last October, CAMERA wrote to CPB Chair Bruce Ramer and his colleagues on the corporation board. It pointed out that their decisions to consolidate the ombudsman's office and hire Kaplan, associate dean of the graduate program at Newhouse School of Communications Syracuse University, did not satisfy the CPB Inspector-General's 2005 recommendation to conduct regular reviews of national programming. The reviews are necessary to ensure that CPB-funded shows on NPR and television's Public Broadcasting Service meet the statutory requirement of "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature."

Ramer referred CAMERA's letter, which had been copied to interested members of Congress, to Kaplan. The ombudsman courteously posted CAMERA's reply.

It must be noted that CPB, which receives approximately $450 million annually from Congress, much of which eventually ends up supporting NPR and PBS, has a) never found a single program segment or program to have violated the objectivity and balance standards in nearly 45 years of public broadcasting -- a statistical, not to mention journalistic impossibility and b) despite the ombudsman's function as an address for complaints and as an independent advisor, still has no mechanism to conduct regular objectivity and balance reviews of national programming.

Posted by ER at January 20, 2012 04:29 PM

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