Republicans and other conservatives have long criticized public broadcasting for their liberal prejudices.
To be sure, the National Public Radio news program has off-center features, as you might expect. However, real news stories are generally as simple as news stories from our sister organization, West Virginia Public Radio.
It can be difficult to provide radio viewers across the state with all the key aspects of a particular news article. When I was a Metro News Capitol correspondent, it took over 40 seconds to cover the gist of a news article.
I asked others to talk about the issue, but if I couldn’t fit it in the first news package, I followed up on the second story and gave these other players a deadline.
The point: Except for occasional discretion as to which news article to cover, broadcast news reporters have much less room to include personal and ideological prejudices.
This is good news for West Virginia public broadcasters and viewers, as well as Republicans who may be concerned about prejudice.
Eliminating the state’s modest annual contributions to public broadcasting suggests the need to shut down certain anxieties, perceived opponents.
However, by continuing standard-level annual support, more positive signals are being sent to the general public, with thousands of people enjoying a variety of radio and television programs through public broadcasting.
Continued funding for public broadcasting shows that the Republican legislature is safe enough to fund news programs that offer more aspects of news broadcasting than they do.
Moreover, apart from news programs, such ongoing funding confirms an overwhelmingly positive educational program in which public broadcasting provides the entire mountain state, especially to young West Virginia citizens. Children improve their language and math skills through television shows such as Sesame Street. Older students and adults enjoy radio and television dramas, as well as musical and theatrical performances offered directly by public broadcasters free of charge.
If Republicans want to get better results in news articles published on West Virginia public radio and television, they need to do what all wise legislators have done over the years.
If, after a while, a consistent bias in coverage is detected, a detailed presentation should be given for the general public to consider. The public wants fair coverage and will express its support if public broadcast coverage is clearly shown to have regular prejudice. But, as mentioned earlier, I don’t think we’ll find much bias, at least for difficult news articles.
Again, news articles are too short to introduce too many biases. Broadcast reporters have enough challenges to simply adapt to the most prominent facts contained in state news articles.
Republicans currently make up the majority of the legislature. They have sufficient political strength to allow public broadcasting to continue its educational and entertainment programs. What’s more, West Virginia citizens have recently been getting news from a variety of sources. West Virginia’s public broadcasters are just one of those various sources.
In short, West Virginia public broadcasting is not a threat to the legislative majority. Let journalists, educators and entertainers continue to enrich families in all 55 counties.
Stephen N. Reed is a former Deputy Secretary of State.
Steven Reid: Republicans Rarely Fear West Virginia Public Broadcasting (Opinions) | Columnist
Source link Steven Reid: Republicans Rarely Fear West Virginia Public Broadcasting (Opinions) | Columnist