Pbs Essay, Research Paper
PBS?s role is to ensure that there is a forum on television for subjects which otherwise may not be available on television. They entertain and educate children, represent the arts and provide music based programming. Also they are responsible for presenting controversial news stories without any biases. In theory they are free from the vices of advertising and greed. The public broadcasting network is set up to serve the public.
Unfortunately, the air of objectivity surrounding PBS has come under extreme scrutiny. Accusations of biased and inferior journalism have surfaced. In light of frontlines stories on Reagan, should PBS continue to thrive with the support of taxpayer dollars?
The first question to consider is whether or not the Reagan stories were in fact biased. Did Ronald Reagan subvert the constitution, by going against congress and working out is own deal with Iran for the release of the hostages in order to ensure a win in the election? PBS used as its chief witnesses a self-confessed drug smuggler/ money launderer along with other illegitimate sources including Gunrunners. No hard proof was provided and very little in terms of fairness. Which was similar to their piece on Hoover. That story also used second and third hand accounts, no hard proof and out and out slander. What if the allegations are correct? I certainly am not convinced that the events did not occur. There is always a possibility that the government acted in an immoral way. However even still, this is not the type of journalism one would win a Pulitzer Prize for. And it certainly does not pass any test upon the fairness doctrine. A story as controversial as this does not belong on PBS unless credible and substantial proof is offered. Clearly there are forums on television for this type of journalism. Other networks run stories of slander against people, using very little proof and objectivity all the time. However those networks ideally have a completely different setup than PBS. PBS is able to survive based on the revenue from taxpayer dollars. While networks make money from advertisers who base their spending decisions on ratings. This difference should mean all the difference in the content of shows. Networks feed us sensational eye catching programs in order to raise ratings and thusly money. PBS need not succumb to those pressures and in fact have a rare opportunity to offer quality shows that don?t get ratings and consequently need not fall to the depths of ?tabloid? television. But clearly PBS took a different term and became caught up in the vices of the television world..
IF PBS does not need ratings in order to survive, why were they so producing eye-catching shows with very little content? PBS was still run by ordinary men who wanted to produce television shows that were on a par with network shows. They also were interested in receiving more money from congress to produce more shows. The result was news stories that made up for lack of content, with lots of accusations and slander. Reagan was an easy target. Any powerful man makes a good target. Just like the news stories on network television reporting on the ills of the economy as the economy was coming out of its stagnation. The same reasoning applied. Media simply gives the people what they want to hear. Regarding Reagan there was no liberal agenda as I see it. Though the economy make have been on the rise, there was still the impression that people were being left out and social inequality was on the rise. Americans were scared that the supply side trickle down economics would leave them out in the cold.. Thus we saw reporting that reflected that. PBS simply fell into the trap of giving people what they want to hear. When in actuality PBS is meant to give us what we don?t want. Bland, in depth, double sided reporting. Along with the never controversial BIG bird and MR. Rogers.
Does PBS deserve the report of taxpayers? Certainly not in its present form. There appears to be serious flaws in the way PBS operates. Perhaps PBS could rework the system so that PBS has no incentive to attract viewers and are not rewarded for such accomplishments. Of course delving into that entire area any further would likely result in further inefficiencies. Perhaps the quality of programs will diminish greatly or any myriad of other unforeseen problems. Why not get rid of the entire thing and leave it to the far more efficient process of supply and demand, which private networks subscribe to. If there is ever a strong outcry for legitimate objective and professional journalism, someone can create a cable station. Or if Big Bird is really that important I?m sure he?ll find a spot on television. With the plethora of television channels, the problem of space on the airwaves is no longer much of an issue.